In 1932 and 1964, Democrats won overwhelming electoral victories, giving the party not only a president with a strong tenure, but huge majorities in both houses of Congress. Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson used these mandates to establish welfare programs for the poor and the elderly.
FDR’s New Deal adopted social security, support for families with dependent children and other programs for the lowest. Johnson’s Great Society, meanwhile, has significantly widened that net with programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare. As with the New Deal programs, these were meant to help the poor, not the middle class.
My God, how times have changed.
In 2020, Joe Biden narrowly won the presidency. The Democratic Party has seen its majority in the House shrink to just four votes, while it only has a majority in the Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris, as Speaker of the Senate, can break the tie voices.
Yet despite this very slim mandate, Democrats are proposing a sweeping expansion of rights that would target not the poor, but the middle class. It would change this country forever – and not for the better.
According to an analysis, if this program were adopted, 57% of two-parent families would receive benefits, while at least 80% of single-parent households would receive government assistance.
Some programs would not even be limited in terms of income. The bill proposes that community colleges be free for everyone. And anyone could take three months off work, at government expense, to take care of a newborn baby or family illness.
Others would reach far into the middle class. Two-parent households with two children and up to $ 130,000 in income would be eligible for federal assistance to pay for child care costs. Some families with incomes as high as $ 200,000 would be eligible for grants to pay for health insurance.
If there is one thing that we know about the estimated costs of aid programs, it is that they are always underestimated. This is partly due to the difficulties in making such estimates; in part, it’s because politicians are always weighing the future costs of pushing their bills through.
In 1965, for example, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare costs in 1990 would be only $ 9 billion. They actually hit $ 67 billion. (In 2019, Medicare cost $ 644 billion, 14% of total federal spending that year.)
The projections presented for the American Families Plan don’t just reduce future costs, they all lie about them. For example, the editors note that the child tax credit portion of the program will end in 2025 and therefore only cost $ 449 billion over the 10-year budget projection. According to Senate rules, this means that the program can be passed under “reconciliation” and would only require 51 votes.
But that’s just a cynical ploy to avoid having to get over a filibuster. Everyone knows that once in effect, it will be impossible to resist political pressure to make the child tax credit permanent. Its real cost will be over $ 1,000 billion over the 10-year budget window.
Perhaps the biggest lie is how this huge new benefit program would be paid for. The late Senator Russell Long said that the art of taxation is, “Don’t tax yourself and don’t tax me.” Tax that man behind the tree. The man behind the tree in Washington is still “the rich.”
Biden said no one earning less than $ 400,000 will no longer pay taxes to fund the expansion of the welfare state. But the government could confiscate the incomes of the richest 1% in the country and not come close to paying for America’s family plan. The money is in the vast American middle class.
The real purpose of the American Families Plan is not to help those in need. It is to trap the middle class so that it becomes dependent on the government and therefore on the voters of the Democratic Party.
Sixty years ago President John Kennedy said, âDon’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. President Biden says, âHey, see what your country can do for you! It is a depressing measure of the demise of the Democratic Party.
John Steele Gordon writes for Commentary.