Biden: $3.5 Trillion Build Back Better Bill Is ‘Going to Transform America’

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On August 24, President Biden announced, “Today, the House of Representatives has taken a significant step toward making a historic investment that’s going to transform America.”

Biden elaborated:

Today’s vote in the House allowed them to consider my Build Back Better agenda, a broad framework to make housing more affordable; bring down the cost of prescription drugs by giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices for drugs; make elder care more affordable; provide two years of free, universal, high-quality pre-K and two years of free community college; provide clean energy tax credits; continue to give the middle-class families the well-deserved tax cut for daycare and healthcare that they deserve, allowing a lot of women to get back to work, primarily; and provide significant monthly tax cuts for working families with children through the Child Care Tax Credit.

Biden is right.

If the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill—which surmounted its first hurdle in the House of Representatives—becomes law, America will be transformed. For the worse.

For starters, the bill would add to America’s growing list of entitlement programs. This would include, as Biden described, “free” community college and “free” pre-K, among others.

But, at this moment, that is a very unwise thing to do.

As of this writing, the U.S. national debt exceeds $28 trillion. Most of our nation’s massive entitlement programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, are already insolvent.

Now is not the time to add to more entitlement programs. In fact, now is the time to address the pending bankruptcy of our existing entitlement programs.

Another aspect of Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better program that would transform America for the worse is the fact that it would increase the size and scope of the federal government.

The Founding Fathers knew that an oversized national government that interfered in too many aspects of Americans’ lives would lead to tyranny. Such is why they included many mechanisms, such as federalism, to impede the unwarranted (and unconstitutional) growth of the federal government.

Yet, in one fell swoop, Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, would take a wrecking ball to federalism. In simple terms, this would happen because the national government would bully the states into submission by dangling federal dollars, with strings attached.

If states take the federal funds, which most would, they would be beholden to the whims of their federal overlords. This could occur via many avenues, from money for green energy projects to money for so-called infrastructure projects.

Yet another way Biden’s $3.5 trillion bill would transform America for the worse is because it would undoubtedly increase dependence on government.

In many ways, the bill is designed as a bulwark against individual responsibility. The bill is stuffed with all sorts of programs that undermine personal responsibility, a bedrock American value.

From “free” college to “free” pre-K to expanding and permanentizing the Child Care Tax Credits (in which the federal government sends monthly checks to all American households with dependents, regardless of whether they work or not), Biden’s bill would certainly make Americans more dependent on government.

Lastly, as the Biden administration surely understands, the Build Back Better plan would reorient the direction of the federal government for decades to come.

After all, the left has used this strategy before, to great effect.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation, which pales in comparison to Biden’s Build Back Better agenda in sheer totality, fundamentally altered the relationship between American citizens and the federal government.

A similar phenomenon occurred in the 1960s, when President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his Great Society legislative package. What’s more, both of these pivotal points in American history also vastly increased the power of the federal government with respect to the states.

So, it should come as no surprise that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made this apt assessment upon the passage of the $3.5 trillion framework in the House, “Passing this rule paves the way for the Building Back Better plan, which will forge legislative progress unseen in 50 years, that will stand for generations alongside the New Deal and the Great Society.”

Like Biden, Pelosi is right, too.

If the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill becomes law, it will stand for generations.

Planting the seeds of entitlement programs that are unaffordable and arguably un-American, which is precisely what Biden and Pelosi seek to do with their so-called Build Back Better plan, will absolutely transform America. But not for the better.

Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.