The Biden administration’s claims of deficit reduction come in stark contrast to the president and his team, having added $4.8 trillion to the deficit through 2031.
You might call anyone uttering such claims a hypocrite. As Adlai Stevenson, the grandfather of the future Illinois governor and two-time presidential candidate of the same name, reportedly quipped: “A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.” Sounds about right.
Why does this matter? It matters because President Joe Biden fancies himself a champion of deficit reduction. As he bragged in a “60 Minutes” interview last month, “By the way, we’ve also … reduced the deficit by $350 billion my first year. This year, it’s going to be over $1.5 trillion, reduced the debt.” (RELATED: MAC DONALD: GOP Candidates Can Make Democrats Sweat With These Four Questions On Crime)
But the president’s attempts to redefine his reckless spending as deficit reduction don’t end there. According to The Washington Post, “Just in the week before the 60 Minutes interview, the president mentioned having reduced the budget deficit by $350 billion six times, sometimes saying he wants to counter accusations that he’s running up the federal tab.” (emphasis added)
What the president fails to mention, however, is that this near-term deficit reduction has nothing to do with him or his administration. Instead, it’s the result of emergency COVID-19 spending that is now ending as planned.
Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, points out what the Biden administration is loath to admit:
“The White House has been trying to paint President Biden as the champion of prudent economic stewardship. Biden’s ‘record on fiscal responsibility is second to none,’ it asserts. As temporary covid measures end — and record-high deficits predictably decline — the administration is congratulating itself for that supposed achievement.
But the administration’s record is, sadly, the opposite of what it argues. Since entering office, the president has approved policies adding $4.8 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. This is an extraordinary sum, which makes it all the more astonishing that the administration would try to pull off this claim.”
According to the Office of Management and Budget, even if the 117th Congress had enacted the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2023 budget in its entirety, net interest costs would more than triple from $352 billion in 2021 to $1.1 trillion by 2032. Is a tripling of future net interest costs something typically associated with an administration committed to tackling the federal budget deficit? No.
President Biden’s rhetoric aside, his mid-session budget review forecasts endless $1 trillion-plus annual deficits totaling more than $14 trillion over the coming decade. Even adjusted for inflation, these deficits would be among the largest ever generated by the federal government. Is that “fiscally responsible?” No.
President Biden is not serious about reducing the deficit. He claims progress on the deficit but obscures the facts that every American should know.
Not only does President Biden fail to try to balance the budget, but he actively pursues policies that he must know will balloon federal spending and deficits.
MacGuineas also noted, “After 19 months and $4.8 trillion in new debt, Biden has done far more to add to our deficits than address them. He can claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility all he wants. The math tells a different story.”
For the sake of our country’s long-term financial stability, and on behalf of all those who desire fiscal responsibility, we can only hope that his administration changes its current trajectory soon.
James Carter is director of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for American Prosperity. Previously, he served as deputy undersecretary of labor under President George W. Bush and as chief minority economist on the staff of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.
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