Going into a meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, President Joe Biden insists he won’t negotiate a deal to limit future government spending in exchange for hiking the debt limit. But Biden’s out of touch. A staggering 86% of registered voters polled say Democrats should agree to negotiate, including 44% from the president’s own party. A majority call Biden’s spending “loose and reckless” in the Harvard/Harris poll.
Truth is, the Biden administration’s European-style agenda of government benefits will be paid for out of working people’s earnings. They’ll get to keep less to spend on themselves.
Look at Europe to see what’s coming.
The average American home is almost 2,200 square feet. An average home in the United Kingdom is a minuscule 818 square feet, in Finland 880 square feet, and in Germany less than 1,200 square feet. Cramped. Americans have bigger houses and a higher material standard of living — more appliances, clothing and cars — largely because they can keep more of what they earn. The United States is a low-tax nation. For now.
Europeans, in comparison, have to fork over much more of their earnings to the government. They enjoy paid maternity leave, free health care, nearly free college and many other government benefits. But they settle for a lower standard of living.
In the United States, two-thirds of the nation’s gross domestic product is spent on things people want for themselves — cars, computers, housing, furniture, vacations, you name it. In Europe, only 50% goes for these things. Government sucks up the other half.
Workers in Europe spend half the work day toiling to prop up their government’s socialistic programs.
Advocates for a liberal welfare state slam our materialistic lifestyles — our giant refrigerators with built-in ice machines and in-sink garbage disposals. Bloomberg columnist Alison Schrager deplores Americans’ “overconsumption” and argues we should learn to live like Europeans. That’s her opinion.
Americans who disagree and don’t want to trade their take-home pay for cradle-to-grave benefits need to speak up.
Of course, Democratic politicians won’t admit there’s a trade-off. They want you to believe taxing “the rich” will pay for big government programs without taking a dollar out of your pocket.
Biden told Steamfitters Local 602 last week: “As long as I’m president, no one making less than $400,000 will have a single penny of their taxes raised. Period.”
That’s the Democrats’ script. They’re hawking magic. There aren’t enough rich people to pay for all the programs Biden Democrats are pushing.
Manhattan Institute economist Brian Riedl added up all the extra revenue that would be produced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70% tax on income over $10 million, plus Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed corporate-tax-rate hikes and payroll-tax hikes and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wealth- and estate-tax measures. Altogether these soak-the-rich proposals can’t close the current budget deficit, much less finance the Biden nanny-state agenda.
Paying for that agenda would actually require draining the middle class. “If America wants to spend like Europe, it must tax like Europe — and that means large payroll and value-added taxes on the middle class,” says Riedl.
That brings us to the drama in Washington, DC.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claims raising the debt ceiling should be automatic: “This is something you can’t negotiate or bargain about.” That’s BS. History proves that the expiration of the debt ceiling, which happens every year or two, is the biggest opportunity to rein in Washington spendaholics.
Over the last 38 years, Congress has hammered out eight laws to control spending. All eight were tied to debt-ceiling hikes.
At stake in this current debt-ceiling struggle is preserving what sets the United States apart from Europe. In the United States, working people get to keep most of what they earn and decide how to spend it.
Don’t let Washington politicians treat your paycheck as if it belongs to them.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York.