What Abe Lincoln Would Say About the Biden Budget Bill

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

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My congratulations to young Kyle Rittenhouse for his across-the-board acquittal and complete exoneration of all charges. In this country, thankfully, the right of self-defense is protected by our Constitution as an integral part of the rule of law. In this difficult trial, justice was done.

My hat is off to the jury that performed its civic duty seriously and valorously in the face of threats to their well-being. I also want to tip my hat to the judge, who was also facing threats to his well-being and who ran a tough courtroom.

Now, about the legislation that is sometimes called the Triple B. Forget about “Build Back Better.” The more apt phrase would be “bankrupt, benefit, and bureaucracy.” The bill is a disaster for the economy, and should’ve been killed. Right? That’s my mantra. Save America. Kill the bill.

As for the CBO scorecard, it did what their Democratic House “masters” ordered. The scoring, though, is a complete gimmick-prone scam. It has one- or two-year phase-outs for entitlements and transfers that should be scored as 10 years. That’s the political intent of the big government socialists.

Meanwhile, 10 years of taxes have in fact found their way into the bill and its scoring. I can’t really blame CBO, because it’s doing what it was told to do. I surely can, though, blame the left-wing progressives who were behind this.

By the way, the American public sees right through this scam — just like Abe Lincoln said (“you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”). Americans aren’t dumb. They know full well that there’s really $5 trillion of spending intended by the “woke” progressives. Not $1.6 trillion, but $5 trillion.

These phony baloney estimates of a $367 billion deficit with a couple hundred billion of phony IRS-tax-cheat-revenues leading to a phony deficit of $160 billion, and no it doesn’t pay for the whole package as promised. All these crazy budget numbers amount to all chaff and no wheat, all hat and no cattle. No meaning whatsoever.

It’s the underlying policies that matter, and those policies are terrible. Modeling from Penn-Wharton, and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget — by the way, these are certainly not supply-side shops — gets you to $5 trillion of spending.

Given raging inflation — which I fear is now in a new take-off phase, with massive federal spending, and massive money printing to finance it — we truly have too much money chasing too few goods, as Milton Friedman put it seven decades ago.

Poll after poll shows inflation is public enemy number one, and voters identify big government spending with rising inflation. So with all their gimmicks and trickery and jiu jitsu policy somersaults to hide the truth, this will spell for Democratic House members major losses in next year’s election.

Speaking of a new Republican House, GOP leader Kevin McCarthy gave a brilliant speech last night. Absolutely brilliant. I think it’s the single best speech from a congressional Republican leader in at least three decades.

“From bank surveillance to bailouts, this bill takes the problems President Biden and the Democrats have created and makes them much much worse … How can you look your constituents in the eye? With one party rule, in one year, you’ve created inflation we haven’t seen in 31 years. You’ve made gas prices higher than it’s been in seven. You’re passing a bill that gives amnesty to illegals … You’re charging more than $5 trillion with this bill. More than 2,000 pages. Enough.”

Among a slew of terrific policy points, Mr. McCarthy talked about welfare without workfare, higher energy costs from the Green New Deal, a bigger inflation tax on the middle class, IRS snooping in your bank accounts and with new agents roaming around the country trying to find alleged tax cheats.

Plus the federal government trying to replace parents and families — whether it’s child rearing or education, or work. Mr. McCarthy talked about left-wing “social engineering” and printed money leading to massive runaway inflation, paying people not to work.

“Republicans believe the family is the foundation of a strong society. But we also know work establishes purpose, and there is no government substitute for a job and an earned income.”

Again, hats off to Kevin McCarthy.

Meantime, vast tax hikes will undermine the supply side of the economy. Economic growth incentives are punished everywhere. Minimum corporate taxes at home and overseas, surtaxes on successful earners, which really means small business owners who are the job creators in our economy.

Tax burdens on business capital investment so vital for productivity and higher real wages to the middle class aimed at new plants, equipment, tech advances, worker training — all will be slammed in this bill. Long-run capital investment would shrink by 8%, according to Penn-Wharton.

Potential GDP would fall by 2.5 percentage points over time, and the Biden bill would even let foreign countries determine American corporate tax burdens.

By the way, I once worked for a president whose last name was Trump, who believed in America first, and who told us many times in the Oval Office that the only people who can decide how to tax American businesses are American voters, not foreign governments.

Then there’s welfare payments to illegal immigrants, amnesty measures without real immigration reform, and then the bill would strike down the 45-year-old Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions.

Again, I want to underscore the debilitating policies whereby transfer payments from welfare, nutrition, unemployment, child allowances, paid leave, Pre-K, and other areas are not exchanged for work. This may be the most debilitating policy of all.

And summing it up, I invoke Steve Forbes’ idea of “modern socialism,” where the government doesn’t physically take over steel mills, car factories, iron foundries, and so forth — like Leninists and Stalinists in the 1920s and 1930s.

“Modern socialism” is the humongous regulatory overreach that controls all industries — like banking, oil and gas, healthcare, and many, many more. Will this monstrosity be stopped in the Senate? I sure hope so.

The big question is whether Joe Manchin will stand his ground on inflation. As inflation has moved from 2% to 4% to 6%, now even to 8%, Mr. Manchin has said no more spending. He’s calling for a pause, at least until inflation starts coming down.

Janet Yellen says inflation doesn’t peter out until the second half of next year at the earliest.

So my point is that not only must Mr. Manchin and Senator Sinema stop welfare without work, stop destroying fossil fuels and our energy economy, stop crippling tax hikes, but they need to fight for a complete pause in new spending until at least the second half of next year. There should be no new spending bill at all.


From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox News. Image: Detail of a photograph of Lincoln by Alexander Hesler, 1857. From the Library of Congress, via Wikipedia.

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