Just when you thought there was no way the Biden administration would propose yet another nearly $2 trillion spending bill, they did it again.
On April 28, hours before his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Biden unveiled his latest spending bonanza: The American Families Plan.
According to the White House, the American Families Plan is “an investment in our kids, our families, and our economic future.”
So, what is in the $1.8 trillion bill?
The American Families Plan calls for $200 billion “for a national partnership with states to offer free, high-quality, accessible, and inclusive preschool to all three-and four-year-olds.”
The White House argues this $200 billion “investment” “will give American children a head start and pave the way for the best-educated generation in U.S. history.”
As a former teacher, I wish it were that easy.
But decades of huge “investments” in primary education, including President Lyndon Johnson’s heralded Head Start Program, has done little to increase the quality of education in America’s public schools.
Throwing more money into the black hole that is the education-industrial complex is not the solution. It is part of the problem.
The American Families Plan would allocate “$109 billion … [to] ensure that first-time students and workers wanting to reskill can enroll in a community college to earn a degree or credential for free. … [A]bout 5.5 million students would pay $0 in tuition and fees.”
Although this element of the plan will likely be very popular, we must never forget that nothing is “free.” As Milton Friedman famously quipped, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
On top of the “free” community college, the American Families Plan would also “Provide up to approximately $1,400 in additional assistance to low-income students by increasing the Pell Grant award.” So, “free” tuition plus an extra $1,400 from Uncle Sam. Why not?
Rounding out the education portion of the bill, the American Families Plan would “invest $9 billion in American teachers, addressing shortages, improving training and supports for teachers, and boosting teacher diversity.”
Given the intransigence of America’s public school teachers over the past year, why in the world would we reward them with a $9 billion government giveaway?
Moving on, the American Families Plan would also “invest” hundreds of billions to “make child care more affordable.”
Specifically, Biden’s plan would fully cover child care “For the most hard-pressed working families.” And, “families earning 1.5 times their state median income will pay no more than 7 percent of their income” on child care.
That sounds like a fantastic deal for hard-pressed working families, but is it fair for American taxpayers to pick up the tab for some families’ child care expenses?
The American Families Plan would also spend $225 billion for “a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program.”
According to the White House, “The program will provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers.” More free money, everybody!
Last, but not least, the American Families Plan would also spend untold billions on increases for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps; unemployment insurance benefits; subsidies for Obamacare; and much more.
Now, how to pay for all of this.
The American Families Plan would “Increase the top tax rate on the wealthiest Americans to 39.6 percent.”
And “End capital income tax breaks and other loopholes for the very top.”
Too bad these tax hikes will come nowhere close to funding this $1.8 trillion boondoggle. Which means that more money printing and deficit spending is sure to come.
Eventually, this out-of-control spending and manic money printing will result in all kinds of economic calamities, from inflation to stagnant economic growth. Not to mention that spending trillions we don’t have is immoral because we are stiffing future generations with these unpaid bills.
But, don’t worry, as President Biden says, “The American Families Plan is an investment in our children and our families.”
No, it is not. It is yet another immoral multi-trillion-dollar albatross that we are forcing future generations to pay for. That is not an investment in our children. It is generational theft.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.