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Crane

“We can do it without increasing deficits,” said President Joe Biden during his first joint address to Congress, April 28.

During 2019, the entire U.S. budget was $2.7 trillion for all programs, Social Security, Medicare, national defense, etc... One global pandemic, and understandable deficit and recovery spending later, the Biden Administration has proposed $6 trillion in new spending in 100 days, above the current $3 trillion already on the books. Granted that some of these increases will phase in over a period as long as a decade, but even the former budget director in the Obama Administration acknowledges the current proposals represent a roughly 50% increase in the size of the federal government, and this is largely prior to expanding spending on health care. Though I am neither a fan of big government, cradle-to-grave programs, nor tax increases (for anyone), I am reasonably certain that there are not enough wealthy and affluent Americans nor major corporations to over-tax and close this spending gap.

I am not suggesting that several of the President’s objectives for this spending are not worthwhile goals for America to seek improvement on ... access to quality child care, community college as well as universal pre-k — three of the main spending pillars of the American Families Act — but there is no prior example that we can cite where creating/investing billions in a massive new federal government program has actually driven down costs in the marketplace of almost any service or commodity. In fact, the opposite case is easily proven.

And now, a trillion here, a trillion there... pretty soon you are talking about some real money. But hey... who doesn’t love FREE money. Universal free pre-k. Free community college. Significantly subsidized child care for all, 12 weeks of paid family leave for each parent or caregiver in a household... and the list goes on.

Having a daughter who is an educator, recent mother of twins with a difficult pregnancy and nine weeks premature births, I have watched my daughter and son-in-law cheerily struggle with the realities of limited maternity and sick leave, reduced income in a currently one-income household, as well as their deliberations over upcoming child care as Barclay returns to the workforce. Yes, free pre-k in a few years, subsidized or free child care, and, eventually, free community college for the twin Mighty Mites sounds great, but we’re not so thrilled about the mortgage-sized debts we would be saddling each of these boys with before their first day of daycare. The current spending proposals average out to $85,000 in debt for each living American in their “fair share” of the national debt additions these programs will bring on.

My daughter and son-in-law are both frugal, they have a savings and spending plan. Prior to her pregnancy, Barclay was working three jobs. She still works part-time and has a modest home-based business. When she returns to the workforce full-time, they have already done extensive research on daycare providers, and thankfully, Georgia is a state which later offers universal pre-k, funded by the Georgia lottery.

But Democratic leadership in the White House and Congress can count. The recent U.S. Census will cost seven states a congressional district and member due to population losses in California, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania — each predominantly blue states. Red-leaning states losing a seat are Ohio and West Virginia. But gains are coming to Texas (2), Florida, Montana, and North Carolina, as well as Colorado and Oregon. Democrats control the U.S. House by only four seats… the urgency of this White House is in part driven by the belief that they don’t have a lot of time.

The Biden White House wants to get this big spending bus rolling long enough to get money flowing as if it were falling from the sky. This spend-a-thon counts on finding just who loves free money now, knowing well that high price will eventually be paid later by our children, grandchildren, and even soldiers fighting later battles with outdated weaponry, once interest on the national debt becomes twice the size of our national defense budget. Remember Head Start? Well-intended but still struggling to justify its costs. Cradle-to-grave government assistance may sound and even feel good, but while we can always crank up the printing presses at the U.S. mint, public and private resources in fact are NOT unlimited. Who doesn’t love free money? I don’t. The price is simply too high.

Bill Crane is a syndicated columnist based in Decatur. He has worked in politics for Democrats and Republicans, respects the process and will try and give you some things to think about. Your thoughts and responses to his opinions are also welcome, bill.csicrane@gmail.com.

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