Purely Political, By James Buckley
Are you and each of your family members ready to shell out another $30,000 this year to help the Democratic Party become the one and only election choice from here to eternity?
Well, good luck if you’re not because another couple of multi-trillion-dollar plans are about to be helicoptered out to all Democratic voters, donors, believers and supporters, including many of their erstwhile tax-paying big wigs.
The so-called $3.5-trillion plan was never likely to pass muster at that dollar level, but I fear that pretty much the same 2,450-page bill will indeed be enacted with even more pages added over the next 25 days.
The new deadline is Oct. 31, which is not only a Sunday but also Halloween. So there’ll be no need to try to conflate the speaker of the House with the Wicked Witch of the West. She’s done it for you.
The “new” plan will, of course, begin with “smarter and smaller” budgeting numbers to placate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. The ensuing “compromise” bill will shine a halo on Democrats who “negotiated” with the reluctant lawmakers to bring the plan down to a “manageable” $1.9 trillion to $2.3 trillion.
The mainstream press will sing hosannas (“See how good the Democrats are at negotiating and compromising?,” they’ll swoon.). Talking heads at MSNBC, CNBC, CNN and elsewhere will praise the president’s patience and wisdom along with his budgeters, staff and negotiating team for the level-headed approach they all took to craft this monstrosity.
If this thing passes — and it most likely will in some form — and then takes hold, it will lock in for the foreseeable future many of the socialist dreams of, say, the unreconstructed communist who spent his honeymoon in Moscow: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Or avowed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has about as much economic sense as my 8-year-old grandson, who spends his entire weekly allowance buying online Roblox implements.
Here are just some of the entitlement goodies that will be passed out to anyone and everyone living in the U.S., once this deal is signed into law:
— Two years of free community college for everyone at every income level.
Actually, I appreciate that everyone will be included in this voter bribe, regardless of wealth or lack thereof. I have never understood, for example, why children of the people who pay for school lunches (taxpayers) are prohibited from taking advantage of those meals.
Free community college for everyone is at least equitable. However, two years of free “higher” education are very likely to turn into an education level that “everyone” should have reached in high school. Such a mandate will also require enormous salary inflation down the road, as there will be no restraints on pay levels for teachers and/or especially administrators.
The sky’s the limit!
— Assistance for childcare for all who apply.
How much “assistance” and what the phrase “for all who apply” means is buried in those 2,450-and-counting pages. But you should know that this “Vote Democrat!” giveaway will eventually be means-tested, and you working sods who make a living wage (and probably vote Republican) are not likely to qualify.
— Universal pre-kindergarten.
This is a total sop to the Democratic Party’s biggest and most generous donors — the teachers’ unions. Universal pre-K will require many more childcare workers — sorry, I mean teachers — all of whom will be paid union wages. A portion of those wages will go to teachers’ unions who will pass a portion of those wages to Democratic politicians who will then raise those union wages in a virtuous and never-ending circle of enrichment and empowerment.
— Expanded Medicare.
Dental care, along with hearing and vision services, will be added to the already-near bankrupt program. So as many doctors no longer even take Medicare recipients, preferring instead to go into private service, lawmakers see fit to expand the benefits. Medicare administrators will also become the chief negotiator for prescription drug prices.
— Expanded child tax credits.
This program was tacked onto the 2020 COVID-19 Relief Act as a stopgap, but like virtually all government programs will be authorized to continue to send $300-per-child checks to every family in the U.S. making under $150,000 ($75,000 if a single parent).
— Paid family leave for everyone.
Every worker will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave – paid for up to $4,000 a month by the government (that’s you, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer). But small business and actually all businesses should hold on to their wallets because no doubt in time they’ll be the ones directly paying for this benefit.
And to make sure every government employee and public servant can take advantage of this, there are no real requirements to prove or even reveal why you’ll need this 12-week vacation.
— The King Canute (Knut) Clause.
In case you don’t remember the parable of King Canute, here it is in brief. Many of the king’s subjects believed he had the power to do anything, including stopping the tides. Wisely, the king knew this was untrue and brought his throne to the shore and sat on it as the high tide came in.
Despite his calls for the tide to recede so that his feet wouldn’t get wet, the tide continued to rise and splashed the powerful king, proving, it is said, that Knut the Great wasn’t as powerful as the Almighty. Whether this worked in his favor is left unsaid.
However, climate change militants who believe they have the power to prevent Earth’s climate from “changing,” will be rewarded in this behemoth of a bill, as punitive fines will be levied against utilities that don’t increase their supplies of renewables every year by at least 4%.
I don’t know what the penalties for not complying will be, but rest assured they’ll go up under Democratic administrations. Already-wealthy climate change warriors will be rewarded too: There’ll be new subsidies for buying that Tesla they’ve always wanted and big rebates for sealing up their houses from the outdoors (thereby creating a toasty little COVID-19 spreading environment inside, but never mind).
— Rise in personal and corporate tax rates.
The corporate tax rate will go up from its current 21% to whatever the Democrats can push it up to, probably close to 30%, making U.S. companies once again less than competitive with their worldwide counterparts. The top personal tax rate goes up to at least 39.6% (from 37%), and capital gains taxes rise from 20% to, well, I’m not so sure, but at least 25%, probably more.
The real impact of these tax hikes will naturally be on small business owners who sell and see a one-time boost in income. But, hey, most of them don’t vote Democrat anyway so why should that matter? Taxes on their life’s work and savings will be substantial and counter-productive, but again, so what?
— More money for the IRS.
The Internal Revenue Service will get a bunch of money ($91 billion at last reading) to more closely monitor anomalies in taxpayer spending habits.
— We’re all Socialists now.
Many of these proposals could change and some will be expanded and others perhaps lessened, but if most of what has been proposed passes, we will have officially launched a new era in which government will have the right and duty to control everything we do. We will in short order become wards of the state, with nowhere to hide and nowhere else on Earth to move to in order to live the kind of life we once enjoyed.
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.