Biden and the Budget: Rampant Socialism

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Recent conversations with a multitude of family, friends, and acquaintances have revealed a general misapprehension that President Joe Biden is still a centrist; the same “moderate Democrat” who President Barack Obama tapped as his vice-presidential candidate to “soften” Obama’s progressive agenda and appeal to the center.

Biden is not the same moderate Democrat. He has evolved into something far more radical.

Via both silent, tacit approval as well as direct endorsement, Biden has become just as much an agent of the socialist movement as standard-bearers Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

As a brief (and somewhat reductive) refresher, socialism generally espouses two primary principles.

One, the economic means of production are owned by the public.

Two, a society’s values, perspectives, and objectives are generally aligned behind a single ruling party’s ideology.

In every major historical example of a state embracing socialism (or its more insane twin, communism), these principles have translated to complete state control of the economy, and repression of schools of thought that diverge from the ruling party’s agenda.

This has inevitably led to economic ruin, the eradication of civil liberties, societal decay, and often complete state collapse. Not to mention the aggressive amounts of murder and torture perpetrated by many of these repressive regimes.

Hopefully, most of you reading this are thinking: Okay, that sounds bad. Let’s avoid this scenario.

Is America really inching closer to this eventuality?

Unfortunately, we are.

Rapidly.

Nowhere is this slide toward authoritarianism more recently apparent than in the Biden-endorsed budget reconciliation plan – the key ingredient to Biden’s Build Back Better plan – which Democrats pushed through the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The plan provides for an increase in Affordable Care Act subsidies, an immense expansion of Medicare benefits, various to-be-determined climate initiatives, additional paid family and medical leave, subsidized child care, an expansion of child care tax credits, universal pre-K, free community college, and green cards for millions of immigrants, among other items.

The budget has a whopping $3.5 trillion price tag, which Sanders asserts is “the minimum of what we should be spending.”

Really, Bernie? That is the minimum of what you want to spend?

Yes, on top of the vast sums we have already devoted to combating COVID-19, let’s continue to fecklessly print money – because that has gone swimmingly for other countries (Venezuela comes immediately to mind) pursuing similar socialist agendas.

Let’s also continue to ignore our skyrocketing national debt, to which Biden’s initiatives will pile on more than $2 trillion.

The unifying theme to the above provisions is essentially significantly more government involvement within all areas of our lives, including education, health care, climate, and business. While none of the objectives seem particularly nefarious on the surface, they represent a gross invasion of our autonomy.

Our nation’s strength is drawn from our individuality, and our rigorous upholding of the principle of self-reliance. At its most elemental level, an increase in government power leads to a corresponding decrease in an individual’s agency to construct his or her life to their own specifications, and limits one’s ability to provide for oneself. This is what America was founded on. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How quickly we forget.

I am reminded of a book I read when pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree over a decade ago. Milton Mayer’s They Thought They Were Free analyzes the gradual deterioration of a sophisticated, morally upright, and relatively free German society into perhaps the most infamous illustration of a totalitarian state in modern history. In many ways, the Nazi Party’s incremental power-grabbing is analogous to what is occurring in America today.

One of Mayer’s more compelling points concerns German citizens and their inaction in the face of Adolf Hitler’s fascist takeover. Mayer describes the mindset of the average German: “Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.” That moment never came for the Germans. They woke up one day, and their country had become a totalitarian state hell-bent on ethnic cleansing and world domination; Mayer laments, “The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were born in at all.”

This is eerily similar to what is happening in the United States. It is readily apparent in all areas of our lives: federal and local COVID-19-related “public health” measures, censorship and cancel culture, the monopolization of corporations by progressive influences and stakeholders, the related influx of corporate “social responsibility” initiatives (which Milton Friedman famously excoriated as the embodiment of socialism more than fifty years ago), as well as general federal overreach and intervention in the affairs of once-autonomous states.

We cannot wait for that one “great shocking occasion” that will likely never come. We need to hold our leaders accountable, pressure them to fight back against agendas such as these, and even form coalitions with those across the political aisle who may be too frightened to speak out against their own party. It is imperative that we do whatever it takes to stop this movement in its tracks, before “we the people” permanently lose the power to do so.

Jack McPherrin is an editorial intern at The Heartland Institute.