The Week (US)
Biden’s $6 trillion budget proposal
President Biden unveiled a $6 trillion budget proposal last week that would make massive new investments in education, transportation, and clean energy—and push the U.S. to its highest level of planned spending since World War II. The proposed 2022 budget puts together several of the policy initiatives that Biden outlined during his first four months in office. It includes his $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan, which would modernize roads and bridges and invest in broadband and elder care, and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which would subsidize child care and guarantee two free years of community college. About half of the proposed spending would be covered by higher taxes on corporations and top earners; the corporate tax rate would go from 21 percent to 28 percent, and the top individual tax bracket from 37 percent to 39.6 percent. This “is a budget that reflects the fact that trickle-down economics has never worked,” said Biden, “and that the best way to grow our economy is [from] the bottom up and the middle out.”
The White House predicts a $1.8 trillion deficit next year and about $1.3 trillion each year after that for the next decade. Republicans quickly attacked Biden’s proposal as too expensive. This plan “promises higher taxes, higher prices, crushing debt, and less security,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “It is the most reckless and irresponsible budget proposal in my lifetime.” Budget proposals are traditionally more of a presidential statement of priorities than a concrete set of expectations, and Biden’s plan faces tough odds in the narrowly divided Congress.
What the editorials said
This spending proposal is “unprecedented in American peacetime history,” said The Wall Street Journal. Even as the economy rebounds, Biden “wants to keep using the cover of Covid to sneak through an expansion” of the regulatory state at the expense of core federal responsibilities. His plan would give the Environmental Protection Agency a 21.3 percent funding boost and Health and Human Services a 23.1 percent lift. The Defense Department would receive a measly 1.6 percent increase—a budget cut if you factor in inflation.