"John Kerry ran on [spending] $2 trillion [extra] over 10 years. Barack Obama ran on $1 trillion, Hillary on $2 trillion. Biden? $11 trillion," says Brian Riedl, a budget expert at the Manhattan Institute. Riedl notes that the president-elect also stumped for $3.6 trillion in new taxes over the coming decade, which would be the single-largest increase since World War II.
"This is the Bolsheviks vs. the Mensheviks," he continues. "The Mensheviks are the moderates, but we're all so far to the left right now. It used to be a trillion-dollar policy would shock people, and now a trillion-dollar policy gets laughed at for being insufficient."
Joe Biden's ambitious fiscal policy and his promises to beef up labor and environmental regulations are the reasons why The Washington Post called his platform "more liberal than that of every past Democratic nominee." Given that the former vice president and senator will almost certainly face a Republican Senate and inherit a weakened Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, it remains to be seen what sort fiscal policy he will try to enact, much less be able to pass. In fiscal 2020, the federal government spent $6.6 trillion and posted a $3.1 trillion deficit, potentially setting staggeringly high new baselines for both.
But even with a divided government hitting the "snooze bar" on Biden's most-ambitious programs, Riedl says, there will still be plenty of new spending over the next four years. "In the short term, you're going to get more pandemic aid, more recession aid," he predicts. "Not nearly the $3 trillion the Democrats want, but maybe another $1 trillion. There might be a bipartisan infrastructure deal at some point….The Overton window has shifted. Bernie Sanders ran on $97 trillion, Elizabeth Warren ran on $45 trillion. All of a sudden, Biden's a moderate."
Narrated by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Isaac Reese. Feature image by Lex Villena.
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Music: "Youth" by ANBR, "Free Radicals" by Stanley Gurvich