Recent Op-Eds

Biden’s Budget Balks at Reality

By Sen. John Thune

March 22, 2024

For a lot of Americans, making a budget means making tough choices in order to live within their means. But President Biden’s recently released budget seems to lack similar trade-offs. In fact, what the president put forward is a progressive wish list that promises the same reckless tax-and-spend policies that have led to an inflation crisis that is still going three years later. The president’s refusal to acknowledge reality puts our fiscal future in peril.

In only three years, President Biden has added $6.8 trillion to the national debt, yet in his latest budget, the president proposes growing government spending even further to $7.3 trillion next year. As a share of our economy, that would be more than the government has spent in a single year at any time outside of World War II and COVID. The president’s spending priorities are also concerning. President Biden’s budget would fund new social programs, hire 50,000 Americans for the climate corps, and further grow the IRS – all of that, but he couldn’t find an extra dollar for the military, which continues to face readiness and recruiting challenges.

On the revenue side of the ledger, the president is proposing more than $5 trillion in tax hikes over the next decade. Although the president would have you believe that the burden of these tax hikes would fall on wealthy Americans and big companies, the reality is that raising taxes has consequences for all Americans. For example, the president’s proposal to raise taxes on energy producers could make Americans’ energy bills even more expensive. And workers and consumers would bear a large share of the burden of the president’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate, not to mention the small businesses that would be affected.

As the country faces a rocky fiscal future, the president’s budget does nothing to improve its outlook. This year, the cost of interest on the debt alone will be the second largest federal expenditure. For the first time, the federal government will spend more on interest payments than it does on defense. The national debt is on a dangerous trajectory. And Social Security is approaching insolvency and mandatory benefit cuts within the next 10 years. But President Biden’s budget does not address these very serious challenges.

What the president has proposed is the height of fiscal irresponsibility. While the president’s plan is almost certainly dead on arrival in Congress, it’s a revealing statement of the administration’s vision and values. The future the president contemplates is one of more government, larger deficits, and higher taxes. The American people deserve a budget rooted in reality.