Biden Tries To Twist His Domestic Agenda Into a Form Joe Manchin Will Support

During his first year in office, President Joe Biden tried and failed to get Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) and the other moderate Democrats in Congress onboard with his costly domestic agenda.

Biden has promised to promote that agenda in year two. This is to address concerns Manchin raised over how Biden’s plans could increase America’s trillion-dollar deficit and record-high national debt.

Biden spoke Tuesday at the State of the Union.

A fine thesis—a welcome one, even—but Biden declined to fill in many details about how he intends to do that. The only specific plan announced on Tuesday was a new office within the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute waste, fraud, and abuse within the pandemic relief bills passed over the past two years—bills that, in fairness, were wracked by waste, fraud, and abuse.

Biden’s domestic agenda, apart from that, sounds almost the same as last year. There are protectionist “Buy American”, tax credit for parents and more social security nets, plus a toughening of the business owners that Democrats seem to be trying to make scapegoats for runaway inflation.

It is admirable that we are trying to eliminate waste. However, it may not be enough time. However, the main drivers of federal budget deficit include a structural imbalance between spending and revenues and instabil long-term costs associated with entitlement programs. If you promise to lower the deficit but don’t address these two factors, it’s not serious.

Biden’s plans don’t seem to be serious.

He repeated his promise a few seconds later that the deficit “will be less than half of what it was before my election” and continued by saying that he’d be the “only president who has ever reduced the deficit by more that one trillion dollars in a single calendar year.”

It’s quite a clever game. Pandemic spending caused the federal deficit to balloon to more than $3 trillion in 2020, and it reached $2.8 trillion last fiscal year. After the pandemic is over and all emergency spending ends, the deficit should fall to approximately $1.1 trillion in 2019. Then it will level off again and rise.

That decline is not the result of anything Biden is proposing to do—and it doesn’t mean that the underlying problems with the federal budget have been addressed.

Biden sets the lowest goal possible for deficit reduction and takes credit for it. He hopes that this will be enough to persuade moderate Democrats to support more spending.

This is because it’s completely the other shoe. Biden’s “Build back Better” plan was killed in the Senate by Manchin and moderate Democrats who refused to vote for additional spending. Manchin stated this in detail: “This plan is a recipe to an economic crisis,” he declared of Biden’s November proposal.

Manchin was correct to call it “budget gimmicks” even though the White House attempted to reconfigure half the cost of the package.

Biden has promised to make changes and introduce new gimmicks. This time, they will be gift wrapped for Manchin. It’s not deficit reduction. This just means more of what we have.