President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies have consistently said that Biden’s ‘Build Back Better Plan’ will add zero dollars to the deficit. This — of course — is mathematically impossible, but the Democratic party and their pals in the media have repeated it often enough in hopes it becomes true.
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal editorial board issued a blistering column, explaining why the true cost of the BBB plan is at least $3 trillion over a 10-year span of time and calling the claim zero dollars the “lie of the year”:
We’ve been telling you for months that the plan’s advertised cost of $1.75 trillion over 10 years includes multiple budget gimmicks that disguise the real cost. The Penn Wharton Budget Model has scored the 10-year cost at about $4.6 trillion, but the White House keeps claiming against all evidence that the cost is “zero.”
Now comes the Congressional Budget Office to report that the claim of zero cost is a Big Con. CBO, a political outfit beholden to Congress, can’t be so blunt. It is constrained by budget conventions imposed by Congress. But even under those conventions, CBO has said the bill would add $200 billion to the deficit over 10 years.
Enter Sens. Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn, who asked CBO director Phillip Swagel to add up the cost of the bill that recently passed the House if all of its programs were made permanent. This is a more honest accounting because Democrats admit both that they want to make the spending permanent and that they’ve adjusted programs to make them fit under the Senate budget rules so they can pass with a mere 51 votes (including Vice President Kamala Harris).
As the Journal pointed out, what the White House is not saying is that many of the programs — like any “temporary” government program — will likely become permanent. In order to add up the actual price tag of the BBB, certain programs have to be treated as if they are going to remain beyond the time that the bill states:
Take the child allowance, which Democrats say will cost only $185 billion because it ends after one year. No one believes they won’t extend it next year, and the year after that, ad infinitum. CBO says the real cost over 10 years is $1.597 trillion. Democrats also peg their earned-income tax credit expansion at a cost of $13 billion because it too ends after one year. CBO says the real cost is $135 billion over 10 years.
An honest accounting of those two programs alone consumes $1.732 trillion, or nearly all of the $1.75 trillion that Sen. Joe Manchin has said is the most total new spending he’ll support over 10 years.
Because Swagel’s report shows the true price tag, the Journal slammed Democratic leaders for lying about what it will actually cost the American people (emphasis added):
Overall, Mr. Swagel says in his letter, CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation project that the House bill would increase the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years without the budget gimmicks and phony phase-outs.
Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer reacted furiously to this news, falling back on their claims that the Build Back Better Act is “fully paid for.” Mrs. Pelosi says CBO has scored Mr. Graham’s “imaginary bill.” But her bill is the real fiscal fantasy and “fully paid for” is the lie of the year.
The Journal concluded that Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia and other moderates should kill the bill, lest they want to be attached to the exorbitant deficit increases it will surely bring.