Soaring consumer prices and stubbornly high unemployment are the hallmarks of the Biden economy.
The reasons are as obvious as they were predictable, especially for those who dare to venture outside Washington, D.C. For months, I have warned that President Biden’s gigantic American Rescue Plan included needless government stimulus that would have devastating ripple effects.
While most critics’ focus so far has been on the plan’s extension of federal unemployment benefits, which effectively pay people not to work (and which states like Florida are thankfully ending), the package’s radical expansion of the federal welfare state has been relatively overlooked. That won’t be for long, as the plan’s new handout -- Biden’s so-called child “allowance” program -- will begin in July.
For the next six months, the Child Tax Credit, claimed by working families every year at tax time to keep more of their hard-earned money, will be transformed into an anti-work welfare check. Parents will receive monthly payments of $300 per child under 6 and $250 per child age 7 to 17. By next tax season, some households with no working adults will receive more than $10,000 in these payments. No work required. Just free money on top of America’s existing safety net.
It’s all part of a pattern of President Biden spending recklessly on a liberal policy wish list, at risk to the economy.
When Biden first proposed the American Rescue Plan, even Obama administration economists admitted the package was too much. Former Council of Economic Advisers chair Jason Furman warned that the Biden stimulus was “definitely too big for the moment,” noting, “I don’t know any economist that was recommending something the size of what was done.” Fellow Obama alum Steven Rattner even said, “We need to trim stimulus now!”
But the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress want to do the exact opposite. Unlike their unemployment benefits, they intend to make Biden’s cash handouts to non-working parents permanent.
Despite Democrats’ claims, this is not a pro-family plan. It would re-create the failed welfare system that President Clinton and then-Sen. Biden opposed in the 1990s, when there was a bipartisan consensus that the goal of welfare should be to encourage work and marriage rather than dependency.
Today, Democrats have apparently abandoned that guiding principle.
In the floor debate over the Biden stimulus, Republicans unanimously voted to support my and Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment to once again expand the Child Tax Credit for working families, just as we did in 2017. Democrats rejected the expansion in favor of Biden’s welfare program for non-working, unmarried parents.
Now, as their program begins, the American people will witness the dangers of this radical plan. These handouts will take away the incentives for single parents to work and get married. It will go to parents with histories of crime or substance abuse, with no questions asked or help provided.
And as we saw with unemployment benefits, the American people know the culturally destructive influence of paying people not to work and how it can derail an economic recovery, just as it did during the Obama years.
What’s more, the Democrats know Biden’s plan is unpopular. Why else would they keep calling this program “tax relief” when it goes to people who pay no taxes?
Though the Democrats downplayed this program to get it passed earlier this year, they’re no longer holding back. When President Biden calls his child benefit program a signature achievement in the months to come, the American people should see right through it.