President Biden on Friday released his massive, $6 trillion budget for fiscal 2022 that pushes a surge in spending on social programs and broadly defined infrastructure through tax hikes on businesses and higher earners.
The budget would set the US on course for higher spending as a percentage of the economy than ever before and continue to balloon the national debt. But it’s also Biden who requires Congress to enact it.
Critics of Biden’s first budget say it would undermine the economic recovery with higher taxes and inflation as COVID-19 fades.
“Biden’s budget is doubling down on a cradle-to-grave government … that’s a lot more woke,” said Russ Vought, who was budget director to former President Donald Trump and is now president of the Center for Renewing America.
“Biden has cut, copy and pasted economic policy from the 1970s. And at a time of inflation, record debt and gas lines, it’s not a serious budget.”
The document was not released until the Friday afternoon before the three-day Memorial Day weekend. An overview of the budget was obtained through a non-governmental source by The Post before its embargoed release.
The budget relies on delicate assumptions about economic growth and tax revenue, as well as the likely disbursement of funds over many years if Biden’s massive infrastructure and “families” plans pass Congress.
Those large bills remain subject to negotiations with Republicans and the price tags are in flux. For example, Biden has lowered his pitch for an infrastructure bill from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion, with Republican senators counter-proposing less than $1 trillion.
But if Democrats walk away from negotiations and remain unified, they are technically able to ram through Congress, with zero support from Republicans, the original infrastructure plan and Biden’s $1.8 trillion “families” plan.
If adopted, the budget would put the annual deficit at an average of $1.3 trillion per year for the next decade, with the budget scaling up to $8.2 trillion by 2031.
But there’s no guarantee the budget will be adopted due to stiff Republican opposition to tax hikes on businesses, higher incomes and investments and concern from centrist Democrats about the scale of spending and the omission of certain items.
In April, the White House previewed significant elements of the fiscal 2022 budget, including a 16 percent jump in domestic agency spending and a 1.7 percent bump for the military.
Biden’s pending infrastructure plan proposes $400 billion for home and community health care, $174 billion for electric vehicle subsidies, $115 billion for roads and bridges, $111 billion for water systems, $100 billion for school construction and $100 billion for broadband internet, among other items.
The “families” plan calls for $511 billion for education, including universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds and free community college, $225 billion for child care, including a subsidy that caps expenses at 7 percent of income, and $225 billion to subsidize 12 weeks of paid parental and sick leave and $45 billion more for food stamps and school food programs. It contains $800 billion in tax credits, including to make the more generous child tax credit permanent and award $200 billion to ObamaCare users.