By Antonio Graceffo
As the end of the year approaches, Joe Biden’s budget for 2023 has to be approved. After reading the president’s proposal, the Congressional Budget Office reported “that level of spending, debt, and taxes will be the highest sustained levels in U.S. history,” worsening an economy that is already trending downward.
This year, inflation hit a 40-year high. The price of basic food was up. Eggs cost 33.1 percent more than last year and meat increased by 8.2 percent. Gas, which affects everyone, was up 59.9 percent. Used car prices increased by 7.1 percent and air travel by 34.1 percent.
However, Biden claimed victory, saying, “We have the fastest growing economy in the world.” This prompted Stephen Moore, a distinguished fellow in economics at the Heritage Foundation, to say that the economic claims of the Biden administration reflect a complete disconnect with the reality on the streets of America.
In the face of record-high gasoline prices, Biden shut down the Keystone pipeline, and his 2023 budget proposal includes $45 billion in new taxes on domestic energy production.
“It’s kind of insane that we have trucks and trains carrying oil all over this country rather than constructing pipelines, which would permit accessing more resources and cheaper, safer transmission,” said former Obama administration economist Larry Summers on Sept. 15, referring to Biden’s energy policies.
Pipelines also produce a lot less pollution than trucks and trains. And while Biden is forcing oil producers to use pollution-heavy means of transport, his 2023 budget calls for tens of billions in climate spending.
The Biden administration’s approach to the environment and energy is similar to its approach to a number of other economic issues—contrary to logic and reflecting a lack of basic knowledge. When Biden went on TV and commanded gas stations to lower prices or ordered businesses to fight inflation by cutting costs, it was clear that he had no idea how the economy works, why prices are high, or how to make them come back down.
Biden does not even entertain for a moment the idea that his administration’s various multi-trillion dollar spending plans—such as the American Rescue Plan, Build Back Better, the American Jobs Plan, and the American Families Plan—are driving up inflation and distorting markets. All of these plans will increase government spending, increase the deficit, drive up the debt, and will need to be paid for through future taxes.
A good example of government market distortion is the labor market. The Biden administration is claiming that the unemployment rate is low. At the same time, companies are complaining that they cannot find workers. One explanation for this phenomenon is that the unemployment rate does not count people who have already dropped out of the job market or stopped looking for jobs. Ironically, the American Jobs Plan is meant to create jobs, but it will be funded through increased taxes on businesses, which will reduce jobs.
At the same time, all of the other social programs the administration is spending money on have enticed people to drop out of the job market. An increased percentage of the population now qualifies for food stamps, federally subsidized housing, free health care, rental assistance, child benefits of $300 per week per child, as well as unemployment benefits. Combined, this aid represents more money than some salaries.
Consequently, people have exited the job market. To get them to return to the job market, there are two options. The economically-informed option would be to cut government programs. The other option, preferred by the administration, is to force companies to pay more by raising the minimum wage. An increased minimum wage will have two effects on the economy: reduce jobs and cause prices to go up.
Further proof that the Biden White House has no idea what real people want is reflected in what’s missing from its budget. There have been roughly 3.2 million illegal border crossings this year, yet the 2023 budget proposes $150 million in cuts to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Biden has asked for $37 billion in Ukraine aid, while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only has a budget of $8 billion.
The budget also does not include prohibitions against the funding of viral research in China. Additionally, there is no language stating that the government would remove funding from school districts continuing to enforce school closures and requiring COVID vaccinations or masks on children. This goes to show how out of touch the administration’s priorities are.