In his 1996 State of the Union address, then-President Bill Clinton proclaimed that the “era of big government is over.” It was a rhetorical flourish then, intended to make Democrats look fiscally prudent heading into a national election year. But there was a bit of substance to it: modest budget surpluses became a real thing in the late 1990s. 

In the audience at that State of the Union address: Sen. Joe Biden. A generation after Clinton said big government was over and done, now-President Biden is ushering in a new era, one in which he says  “We have to prove to the American people that their government can deliver for them.”

“Delivering” for Biden means opening the taps on spending – far wider than was done in either the Obama or Trump administrations.

Polling shows the first tranche of Biden’s delivery promise – the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan,” is popular with the public. Of course it is. So-called free money, handed out to people regardless of actual need, is always popular.

What’s never popular is paying the (rapidly growing) bill for all that free stuff – because remember: there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

It will all have to be repaid, with interest.