By Rep. Jason Smith
Despite Democrats’ various attempts over the last four months to promote their $5 trillion tax and spending bill, they have barely managed to sell it to themselves, let alone the public. They want people to believe it is the silver bullet to solving our country’s problems. But unfortunately for them, the public does not share their sense of optimism — and for good reason.
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office issued an analysis that warned the economic effects of two provisions that Democrats have long touted in their bill — taxpayer-funded family leave and child care — would raise costs for families and further disincentivize work.
Time and again, sadly, we have seen that the policies Democrats are promoting have failed to square with the reality that millions are witnessing.
For instance, President Joe Biden’s promise to freeze border wall construction projects turned out to be a clear sign of capitulation in the battle against illegal immigration, helping to jump-start a border crisis. Likewise, Biden’s decision to terminate the Keystone XL pipeline and block new oil and gas leases on federal lands has left America facing an energy crisis and the highest gas prices in eight years with one arm tied behind our back and more reliant on foreign energy resources. Even the president’s nearly $2 trillion bailout bill from March of this year has been classified as a cause of inflation by the San Francisco Federal Reserve.
Recent polling shows that inflation is the No. 1 concern among voters, with 43% believing that the Democrats’ next tax and spending bill, which recently passed on a partisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, will only make inflation worse. Yet, instead of recognizing how their policies contribute to the spike in prices families are facing, Democrats in Washington are choosing instead to use budget gimmicks and fake offsets to hide the true cost of their agenda.
However, no sleight of hand can hide the fact that the Democrats’ agenda is on a consistent collision course with reality. Instead of making the rich “pay their fair share” as President Biden has claimed, Democrats are negotiating a bill that will give the wealthy a massive $270 billion tax break. Their Green New Deal policies include subsidies for large multinational corporations and tax credits for families making $500,000 a year to purchase luxury electric vehicles. And despite the President’s bizarre claim that his legislation will cost “zero,” the initial analysis from the nonpartisan CBO showed it would in fact add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. The White House consequently instructed House Democrats to ignore CBO’s analysis and vote for the bill anyway. Subsequent analysis from CBO has further shown that if provisions within the bill were made permanent, as intended by Congressional Democrats and the White House, it would add $3 trillion in debt.
Indeed, the policies Democrats have championed are delivering the exact opposite results of what they claim, and there is more to come if they continue to push their partisan agenda. Such is the case with the paid family leave and child care provisions in their latest bill.
The CBO report on these provisions found that employers that already offer paid leave would ultimately provide fewer weeks of leave and less pay during leave if a federal program were implemented. In other words, when businesses are forced to compete with the federal government, it results in less opportunity for workers, as we saw earlier this year with the White House’s decision to extend expanded unemployment insurance.
When it comes to child care, the Democrats are similarly victimized by their own failure to grasp basic economic principles. The CBO has concluded that a government mandate for universal child care will actually raise costs for middle-class families whose child care is not subsidized by the government. That means those families will have less money to spend on groceries, gas, and clothing at a time when the public is facing the highest spike in prices in nearly 40 years. And those who fall slightly outside of the income threshold to qualify for “free” child care, according to the CBO’s analysis, will be faced with the choice: work fewer hours to qualify for taxpayer-subsidized care or pay higher child care prices.
An agenda that gives government more control over child care and paid leave decisions will drive more people into the arms of big government, which dictates the terms of those benefits and raises the cost for others. Those are the consequences of an agenda driven by partisan tactics and political timelines instead of the needs of working families. Democrats are on a collision course with reality. They should stop and turn the car around.
Read the op-ed here.