President Joe Biden is doing everything he can to stuff his Build Back Better plan down America's chimneys, but he'll have a much tougher time of it after Friday's news. For the White House, the double whammy of the new inflation numbers and the bill's price estimates are going to make for tough sledding in the Senate, where two Democrats are already wary of the White House's spending bonanza. Trying to sell the country on higher taxes, trillions of dollars in new spending, special perks for illegal immigrants, the Green New Deal, and more social welfare is hard enough in normal times. But with families struggling to buy groceries and Christmas presents, the last vote anyone wants to force is a proposal that makes things worse.
Turns out, the Build Back Better plan is anything but "free," as the president absurdly lied. According to the calculations from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the legislation's costs could balloon to a mind-boggling $4.9 trillion dollars -- with $3 trillion dollars piled on our leaning tower of national debt. That's a devastating headline for Democrats, who've tried every trick in the book to make the price seem lower than it actually is. Using the Left's budget gimmicks, CBO's earlier score was much more flattering -- adding only $160 billion to the national deficit.
But that wasn't an honest picture of the plan, holdout Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has complained. "As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games... that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill [less than it is]." Eventually, he went to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to ask for help. "[He] came to me and he said, 'I think this bill is full of gimmicks, that these programs won't go away, Lindsey, and if you score them for 10 years, I think the bill will double.' Well, it didn't double," Graham shook his head on Sunday, "it was almost 2.5 times [that]."
Together with House Budget Committee Ranking Member Jason Smith (R-Mo.), the South Carolina senator asked the Congressional Budget Office to crunch the numbers "assuming the programs [will] never go away -- which they will not." When the estimates came back, adding eight times more to the national deficit, both men insisted the plan should be stopped in its tracks. Democrats have been misleading the American people for weeks, Smith fumed, using arbitrary expiration dates for all of the new programs in the bill, knowing -- deep down -- that they'd never let those provisions die.
"Democrats have pitched Build Back Better as a transformative economic agenda. Transformative economic agendas don't expire. When these programs hit their deadlines, Democrats will do everything in their power to extend them," NRO's Dominic Pino writes frankly. That means a radical expansion of government with no end in sight. So whether it's paid for or not, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insists, "is irrelevant. This is exactly the wrong thing to do." It's a "liberal wish list," he warns. "The country is not going to benefit from this."
Americans are getting "clobbered" as it is, Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wisc.) protested on "Washington Watch."
"The Biden administration has been pouring gasoline on this fire, and it's been getting worse... The inflation numbers we saw today only confirm what everyone knows. When you go to the gas pump, it costs more. When you go to the grocery store, it costs more. If you're out Christmas shopping, it costs more -- and it's clobbering American families who are struggling to get by. We need a change in policy in Washington, D.C., we need to kill the Build Back Better plan before it bankrupts Americans."
This country is staring down a lot of problems that we can't spend our way out of. They require real solutions -- the kind that Democrats seem to be sorely lacking. Their unserious agenda of expanding government and embracing radicalism and trampling freedom won't fight COVID, it won't stop inflation, it doesn't stem the tide at the border, or help foreign leaders take America more seriously. And until they recognize that, the only thing we'll be building back is trouble.