Let’s call it the Salton Principle: Renaming a product may make marketing easier, but it doesn’t fundamentally change the product.
Who would buy a Salton Grill? We didn’t—and neither did you. But when it was rebranded as the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, the little countertop grill showed up in homes (and dorm rooms) across America. It was the “hottest new product in years.”
U.S. Senate Democrats didn’t relabel their bloated something-for-every-constituency budget bill “Lean, Mean and Fat-Reducing,” but they may as well have. They now call it the “human infrastructure” plan, costing roughly $5 trillion over a decade. They also labeled their process of forcing through unrelated and unpopular items—from amnesty for illegal immigrants to elements of the Green New Deal—as “budget reconciliation,” co-opting the process and the term in ways that were never intended.
Here’s the truth: The Democrats’ human infrastructure reconciliation bill will greatly expand the role of the federal government in everyone’s lives—for generations to come—and will lead to the combination of economic stagnation and inflation we haven’t seen since the “stagflation” crisis of the 1970s.
Ultimately, American families will have less of everything—except dependence on the federal government, which is not the system of capitalism that has supported our increased freedom and prosperity.
This comes after an unimaginable spending spree so far by Congress. Even before the Senate passed the $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill, Congress previously authorized almost $6 trillion in new spending, allegedly due to COVID-19, and executive actions by the Trump and Biden administrations had authorized almost $1 trillion more. As a result, the federal deficit tripled to $3.1 trillion in 2020 and could be worse this year.
What’s in the reconciliation bill? While we don’t know the exact details until Democrats finish writing the text in mid-September, here’s a rough estimate based on the budget resolution that comes before it. This estimate is from the Senate Budget Committee’s ranking member:
$4.2 trillion in new spending over 10 years, but excluding budget gimmicks this amount could be north of $5 trillion.
Of that sum, $3.5 trillion is mandatory That means it likely never goes away.
$263 billion in discretionary spending.
$390 billion in increased interest on the debt (roughly the size of Israel’s the entire GDP).
National debt held by the public soars to $40 trillion (119% of GDP) by 2031.
Total debt (subject to limit) soars to $45 trillion (134% of GDP) by 2031.
There are tax hikes, of course. As the New York Post reports, “The bill would hike taxes on businesses and incomes over $400,000 while also making the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap more generous, in effect lowering taxes for some residents of high-tax jurisdictions like New York.”
But there’s so much more in the bill.
Under the guise of “reconciliation” (which is a process that supposed to be used only for truly budget-related items), the Senate is passing a slew of new initiatives—a grab-bag of progressive priorities. Many Democrats are still pushing for an amnesty program, administered perhaps through green cards, to be part of the Reconciliation bill. And the draft resolution includes such things as “free” preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and two “free” years of community college for all. But, of course, nothing is free, as these expenditures will come at a high price tag to taxpayers.
There are multiple elements of the Green New Deal, as well as an expansion of Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.
This vision for America is not the vision Americans have for themselves—stepped up levels of dependency on the government, higher taxes and more burdensome regulations, and less opportunity for working class families to get ahead. This is now what America is supposed to be.
Rebranding doesn’t always work, but Salton’s name change on its little grill got the attention of other appliance makers. Pretty soon, there was an Evander Holyfield Real Deal Grill (among other would-be competitors). But the George Foreman Grill has remained the undisputed champ.
The Democrats, fresh off their own success with the “infrastructure” bill in the Senate, hope for another win with the reconciliation bill. But there’s still time for fiscal sanity that works toward true infrastructure—roads and bridges—and that keeps the federal budget well below the Foundation’s Responsible American Budget.
Republicans—and any responsible Democrats who wish to join them—must work to stop the insanity before the costly repercussions of further inflation, likely stagflation, and a debt crisis put Americans in a world of hurt that no name change can cover up.
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Vance Ginn, Ph.D.