This week, President Joe Biden made the incredible statement – repeated with sycophancy by the press – that his $ 3.5 trillion budget bill, which includes major spending initiatives on everything from climate change to health insurance would be âfreeâ. Biden tweeted, âMy Build Back Better program doesn’t cost any dollars. Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big business and the wealthy, we can make a one-time investment in Active America.
This stupid idea immediately exploded into the political sphere. White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained, “The reconciliation package will cost zero dollars.” Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Said: âThis is a zero dollar bill because everything will be paid for with taxes on the richest corporations and the richest individuals, which makes it more popular than before. âMembers of the media began to repeat the line ad nauseum. The reason was obvious: Democrats are trying to get Republicans to nod.
Aside from the claim that Biden’s bill would be paid by tax increases – a questionable proposition, given Democrats have been playing accounting games by extending particular allowances for just a few years, or by postponing new costs until years later – the basic idea that government spending is zero cost until it incurs new debt is crazy. It’s the equivalent of arguing that as long as someone pays for a Vegas cocaine-fueled gambling frenzy in cash, the experience has been free.
Biden, however, takes it one step further. In his muddled brain, allowing taxpayers to keep their own money is “wasting money”; spending billions of dollars on social programs that pervert market incentives and often achieve the exact opposite of their stated intentions is an “investment”. Such a designation empties language of its meaning. If you steal my wallet and find $ 100 inside, inform me that giving me back $ 20 would be “wasting money”, sneakily inform me that you will “invest” in a steak dinner for yourself, then cap your performance by declaring that dinner is “zero cost” you deserve a pretty full beating. Do it in the context of national politics, however, and the media will applaud.
It all rests on a lie: that the state is the ultimate source of property and wealth. If this were true, the state would certainly have all the capabilities to maximize its own power by transferring this property to political allies. In fact, this is precisely what Thomas Hobbes claimed in “Leviathan”: that the sovereign was the ultimate arbiter of property, as the ultimate custodian of force.
The American system was founded in direct opposition to this idea. As James Madison wrote: âGovernment is established to protect property of all kindsâ¦ This being the end of government, that alone is just government, which impartially guarantees every man, regardless of his own. Madison added: “This is not a just government, and the property is not guaranteed under it, where the property that a man has in his personal security and his personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary foreclosures of property. ‘a class of citizens for the service of the rest. “
Biden would call these kinds of arbitrary foreclosures “investments.” After all, they are free. To Biden, such language seems natural: he’s been a ward of the state for his entire career, on the taxpayer’s salary every year of his life since the age of 29 – the only exceptions being the years between his deputy. presidency and his presidency, when he gave speeches and wrote books about his years in government while allegedly avoiding half a million dollars in taxes. For him, taxpayers’ money is free, and they have been an investment: in him. Now, he simply wants to extend this logic outwards, using taxpayers’ money to âinvestâ in his legacy, in structures that encourage dependence and therefore democratic electoral power.
What is the harm? It’s free.
Except no. The engine of American growth has never been government. These are restrictions on government power and bureaucratic arbitrariness. Innovation requires freedom; investment requires both freedom of choice and impartiality of the governance system. The government’s heavy hand will be damn expensive.
Ben Shapiro, 37, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor of DailyWire.com. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling “How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps”, “The Right Side of History” and “Bullies”.