$3.5 Trillion Does Not Equal $0
President Joe Biden is a lot like President Donald Trump. He likes to use Twitter to gaslight his critics.
How else can you explain President Biden’s September 25, 2021 tweet, in which he claims his Build Back Better Agenda will not cost anything?
My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars.
Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America.
And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 26, 2021
On Capitol Hill, President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is represented by the Build Back Better Act. Among Washington D.C. politicians, it’s also known as the “Reconciliation Bill”. That’s because the bill lacks bipartisan support. To pass it into law, Biden’s party in the Congress needs to use the Senate’s reconciliation rules. Otherwise they won’t have the votes.
Running Headlong Into Reality
Using that maneuver, nearly all Democrats in the House and all Democrats in the Senate have to support it to pass into law. If President Biden were telling the truth about his agenda costing zero dollars, that should be an easy sell among the members of his own party.
Two weeks later, the prospects for the bill in its current form doesn’t look good. That’s because two senators in President Biden’s party are balking at its price tag. Both Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) believe the bill will cost at least $3.5 trillion, not the $0 claimed by President Biden. They both think that’s way too much. For his part, Manchin described the spending plan in its current form as “fiscal insanity“.
Since there is no reality in which $3.5 trillion is equal to $0, Manchin has a valid point. No matter what he does, President Biden cannot rewrite the laws of fiscal reality. Claiming otherwise is just plain crazy.