A Pro-Family Boondoggle
In the WSJ, Kimberley Strassel explains how Congress is incapable of anything beyond redistributing other people’s money. 357 representatives passed another $78 billion spending bill.
The Debt Spiral Continues
- Nancy Pelosi-era bipartisan binges
- the “infrastructure” bill
- the semiconductor-welfare transfer
- the $1,400 Covid checks.
Looking for some fiscal responsibility? “Reform” or “spending discipline,” usually GOP catchwords, are MIA. “New GOP leadership, same debt-fueled status quo,” laments Ms. Strassel.
The beating heart of Wednesday’s package is two longtime Democratic priorities—increasing the size of the child tax credit and its availability to parents who don’t pay income tax. The left accomplished both during Covid and have worked fervently to resurrect them since they expired in 2021. Republicans granted their wish.
Democrats built this Trojan Horse in 1997, when Bill Clinton won a $500 child tax credit. Their goal since has been to increase its size and expand eligibility, making it the basis of a future universal basic income. Republicans went from understanding the perfidy of government handouts to hoping they cadge a bit of credit for said income redistribution.
Warmed-Over Rockefeller Republicans
We’re all for “families” now—and that’s the justification for robbing the paychecks of productive childless taxpayers and rerouting their earnings to nonworking parents. This bill would further discourage work, leaving more parents and children dependent on government largess. It’s of a piece with the Republican lurch toward bills that micromanage industrial policy or penalize the free market. Today’s MAGA populism amounts to little more than warmed-over big-government Rockefeller Republicanism.
Curiouser and Curiouser
Tucked in the bill:
- “low-income housing” credits
- disaster dollars
- budget gimmicks.
And in an attempt to buy off a few hostage-taking Northeastern Repu
blicans, Speaker Mike Johnson is apparently open to blowing up another hard-won GOP tax reform, the limit on deductions for state and local taxes.
The SALT deduction is a sop to high earners, and forces taxpayers in low-tax states to subsidize the soaring progressive tax rates of New York, New Jersey and California. Yet there is talk of a bill that would double the current $10,000 cap for married couples.
The final tally: 47 Republicans and 23 Democrats voted against the bill, reports KS.
That shows which side felt it was getting the better deal. And while most of the 47 GOP naysayers hailed from the House Freedom Caucus, note the lack of any real public tantrum over the cost of this boondoggle, or the expansion of the welfare state, or the backtracking on reform. No one had the guts to expose the “pro-family” charade.
A few brave souls voiced opposition to the Bill. Some were fearful of dissing a tax credit that Donald Trump once signed. Amongst cries of “corporate breaks” along with “straw men” inventions, no one has threatened to blow up the House or take out Mr. Johnson.
Will the Senate Kill the Bill?
The bill may yet die in the Senate, where some Republicans have been more forthright about the policy and strategy mistakes of the bill.
Sen. Chuck Grassley wondered why on earth the GOP was giving Democrats a win now, rather than waiting to bargain over a full extension of the 2017 tax cuts. Sen. John Cornyn called the bill’s price “pretty outrageous.”
A new favorite MAGA taunt is to decry the Washington “uniparty.” Mr. Trump’s acolytes are leading the charge for zero distinction between sides when it comes to welfare and spending. Who’s the uniparty now?