A new day has dawned on Capitol Hill. It’s a day without budget restrictions after the constraints on spending negotiated in the 2011 budget deal expired.
And Joe Biden isn’t waiting a minute to take advantage of his newfound spending freedom.
Biden has proposed a $1.5 trillion in domestic spending that will run until the end of the fiscal year on September 30. There’s a lot in there for every major Democratic interest group.
For the teachers, a 41 percent increase in the budget for the Department of Education to over $100 billion. For public health, a 23 percent increase in the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the creation of a brand new agency: the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, focused initially on innovative research into cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The budget envisions nearly $69 billion in federal money towards addressing public housing, a 15 percent increase from the amounts enacted in 2021, to help low-income families obtain access to affordable living accommodations. And the Biden administration hopes to sets aside a total of $14 billion in new sums across government to protect the environment, including new efforts to reduce carbon emissions and research clean-energy technology.
“Together, America has a chance not simply to go back to the way things were before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn struck, but to begin building a better, stronger, more secure, more inclusive America,” the White House’s acting budget chief, Shalanda Young, said in a letter accompanying the blueprint Friday.
Meanwhile, although the lid is also off military spending, there will only be a 2 percent increase in defense spending and an 0.2 percent increase for Homeland Security. Overall, discretionary spending will rise 8 percent.
The proposal will probably be too much for even many Democrats. With the nation running a current budget pandemic deficit of $4 trillion — and $2 trillion more in an infrastructure proposal — reason and sanity have left the building. Joe Biden’s announced intention is to bring back big government. He’s making good on that intention with this budget proposal.
Under Biden’s blueprint, the country would spend $769 billion on non-defense programs. The education dollars include new boosts to Pell Grants, which offer support to low-income college students, though the $400 increase the president has proposed for students each year is smaller than the amount he initially endorsed on the campaign trail. The budget proposal would also expand government-supported child care programs and add money to hire more counselors and mental health professionals at schools.
Other new funding targets the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which would see a major expansion to voucher programs that might help more than 200,000 families obtain assistance, the administration estimates. And the budget aims to plus-up climate-change focused programs, including the Environmental Protection Agency. Aiming to reverse massive cuts at the EPA over the past decade, the Biden administration has requested a roughly 21 percent increase in its funding, which would support a new, $936 million “environmental justice initiative” that promises to “hold polluters accountable.”
Obviously, this kind of spending isn’t sustainable. At some point, the party will be over and the band will have to be paid. To believe we can go on and on building the national debt ever higher and keep expecting other nations to fund our profligacy is delusional. The only thing making this spending spree possible is that the dollar is still the backbone of international finance and its value is unquestioned. But China, Russia, and a few other nations are agitating for change.
If they ever get it, the collapse won’t be pretty.