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DAVID DITCH: How Biden’s Big-Deficit Agenda Guarantees Inflation

Photo by Frederick Warren / Unsplash

David Ditch, via The Daily Caller News Foundation | March 19, 2024

Inflation has been a top concern for Americans for years. This is understandable: Inflation-adjusted earnings have declined by thousands of dollars in recent years, putting a heavy strain on family budgets.

Ignoring this burden on Americans, the Biden administration has gone out of its way to make inflation worse again and again, all for the sake of appeasing leftist special interests.

When inflation first began to skyrocket in 2021, cheerleaders for President Joe Biden emphatically claimed that it would be temporary. This political spin was used to defend a spending spree of trillions of dollars that drove inflation in the first place.

That spree meant Washington kept pouring gasoline on the inflationary fire with recklessly high budget deficits. Throwing more dollars at the same supply of goods (such as food and housing) is a recipe for higher prices.

It’s no wonder that the latest data points to inflation of around 3% per year, well above pre-pandemic levels.

Incredibly, even trillions of dollars in new spending weren’t enough to satisfy Biden and the radicals staffing his administration.

Over his first three years as president, Biden made administrative decisions with a total deficit cost of at least $700 billion, or over $5,300 for every household in the country.

The largest and most aggressive of these moves have been efforts to “cancel” student loan debt owed to federal agencies.

Beginning in 2022, the Biden administration sought to use a narrow debt-forgiveness law aimed at veterans as an excuse to wipe out student loan debt across the board. Although the Supreme Court struck this illegal action down last year, simply the act of delaying loan repayments hit taxpayers hard.

The administration pivoted to a new plan to “forgive” student loan debt shortly after losing in court, although this is also legally dubious.

According to the American Enterprise Institute, the total cost to taxpayers for Biden’s various student debt write-offs and delays is now $371 billion—a number that has not yet reached its peak.

The next-most-expensive part of Biden’s spending binge is a change to make food stamp benefits more generous. This not only reduces incentives for those on welfare to seek full-time employment, but it’s on pace to cost $250 billion over the next decade.

A similar (and also illegal) move to expand Obamacare benefits to 5 million people will cost tens of billions of dollars.

The Biden administration’s “green” agenda is also hitting taxpayers in the wallet.

The cost of tax credits for electric vehicles, part of a Democrat-only spending package in 2022, has surged. This is due to the administration’s regulations designed to strong-arm automakers into dropping the gas-powered vehicles most Americans rely on. The more EVs the administration forces Americans to buy, the more tax credits it pays out.

Finally, Biden has gone out of the way to extend a pointless slush fund for state and local governments (supposedly to address the COVID-19 pandemic) into fiscal year 2025, which begins in Octoberabout a year and a half after the public health emergency ended.

Although it’s not clear how much this will add to budget deficits, the minimum will be billions of dollars.

Piling one deficit increase atop another serves to keep inflation artificially high, making it harder for families to catch up to where they were back in December 2020.

Now, on top of everything else, the Biden administration has released a budget plan that would keep reckless deficit spending in place while imposing job-killing tax hikes.

It’s clear that Biden won’t move away from his radical, big-government agenda.

That means it’s vital for Congress to get serious about budgeting and vigorously push back against the administration’s agenda.

The time for Congress to act is now.

David Ditch is a senior policy analyst in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at the Heritage Foundation. This op-ed was originally posted in The Daily Signal and can be viewed here.