After President Biden spent 2022 claiming that “I have made fighting inflation my top economic priority,” a new report quotes Biden and his advisers as revealing their top economic priority for 2023: reducing inflation deficit.
I am not joking.
How serious is the White House about curbing inflation and deficits?
The same day that Politico unveiled the new priority, the Biden administration went to the Supreme Court to defend its illegal — let alone inflationary and deficit-funded — attempt to unilaterally forgive $400 billion in student loans .
The President’s move to deficit reduction does not bring any real new austerity proposals.
It’s an utter PR stunt by a government that seems to see the bubbling up of red ink as a communication and spin challenge rather than an actual economic issue that needs to be addressed.
Let’s check the record. When President Biden was inaugurated, the Congressional Budget Office projected a budget deficit of $14.5 trillion between 2021 and 2031.
Two years later, the CBO is now forecasting deficits of $20.5 trillion over the same decade.
Of those $6 trillion in additional deficits, about $5 trillion comes from new legislation and executive orders signed by Biden.
There was a $1.9 trillion US bailout, an infrastructure expansion, a student loan bailout, a 23% increase in discretionary spending over two years, and large spending expansions in SNAP benefits, semiconductors, healthcare subsidies, and benefits veterans.
Adding $5 trillion in legislation and executive orders in just two years far surpasses Biden’s predecessor.
Donald Trump as president took four years to sign legislation that added $7.8 trillion to the 10-year deficit (half of which was from bipartisan pandemic assistance), while Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush each did took eight years to add $5 trillion and $6.9 trillion, respectively, in 10-year legislative costs, according to my study of CBO data.
And Biden’s numbers would have been even higher if his “Build Back Better” trillions hadn’t been too much even for a Democratic Congress.
Biden repeatedly portrays himself as a deficit-eliminator as deficits have fallen from the 2020 and 2021 highs.
But those deficits were inflated by one-off pandemic spending that simply lapsed on schedule after the pandemic ended.
The President had Nothing to do with these expiry times.
In fact, Biden drastically increased the 2021 deficit with his American bailout plan, then took credit for the deficit reduction when his own spending spree ended on schedule.
Then the president signed more legislation into law, leaving deficits $400 billion higher than before the pandemic.
Even the Washington Post’s fact-checkers have criticized the president’s gaslighting claims of reducing deficits.
With Biden’s annual budget proposal due for release next week, he’s already boasting that his budget will aim to reduce deficits and extend the Medicare Trust Fund by 20 years (while the Social Security Trust Fund appears to file for bankruptcy within a decade becomes).
But again, these claims are sheer gimmicks. Last year’s budget proposal called for savings by simply not including its $2 trillion “Build Back Better” proposal in total spending.
As for extending Medicare, 80% of the long-term “savings” would come from simply transferring more general funds into the Medicare Trust Fund.
This shell game merely replaces Medicare’s deficits with general budget deficits and yields zero net savings.
Looking ahead, the President has presented no serious plan to address the deficits, which will soar to $3 trillion within a decade.
He has attacked Republicans for daring to propose targeting the red ink drivers for Social Security and Medicare.
And now he accuses Republicans of merely proposing that both parties sit down to address deficits as part of the $31 trillion debt ceiling hike.
The numbers don’t lie no matter the spin.
Brian Riedl is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Riedl.
https://nypost.com/2023/03/02/king-of-debt-biden-absurdly-labels-himself-a-deficit-hawk/ Debt king Biden absurdly describes himself as a “deficit hawk”