President Biden’s recently released budget avoids making any serious changes to the entitlement programs that are driving future deficits and instead proposes large tax increases. Even with those tax increases, federal debt would rise to record levels. The budget would make the problem even worse by proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in higher federal health spending.
Biden’s rhetoric is almost as bad as his budget. He is making it nearly impossible for a serious national dialogue on the need to reform entitlements. In a speech in Virginia last week, he used scare tactics to falsely claim that Republicans have a plan to take health coverage away from up to 70 million people.
His position is different than the last Democratic president. In early 2010, President Obama said, “Almost all of the long-term deficit and debt that we face relates to the exploding costs of Medicare and Medicaid. … And if we don’t get control over that we can’t get control over our federal budget.”
It’s also different than his position when he was vice president. During the 2011 deficit reduction talks that the tea party wave election forced on Washington, Biden led the Obama administration negotiators in backing meaningful Medicaid reform.