Expanding the dole, and bankrupting the nation
The Biden administration’s push to expand the scope of federal programs really doesn’t begin to describe just how much the White House, and Congress, want to change the social contract between people and their government.
It’s not just the dollar amounts, or even the specific names of the programs under discussion. It’s how many people will become reliant on the state for some, part, or all of their income and support that is astonishing. As Reason’s Peter Suderman writes, Biden’s plan:
…would put most working-age American households on the dole, even when the economy is strong and the country is not in crisis.
What does that mean?
In a June working paper, the Hoover Institution’s John F. Cogan and Daniel Heil report that the plan would add more than 6 million households, and more than 21 million Americans, to federal entitlement rolls. That would raise the share of nonelderly American households receiving such entitlements by seven percentage points and push it above the 50 percent mark. Although Biden has pitched the American Families Plan as an inequality-reducing boon to the poor and middle classes, about 40 percent of the benefits would go to the top half of the household income distribution.
The plan may not go into effect exactly as Biden proposed. But if it did, Cogan and Heil write, “this would be the first time in U.S. history”—with the possible exceptions of 2020 and 2021, for which data are not yet available—”that a majority of working age households are federal entitlement recipients.”
An amazing feat for a government that’s trillions of dollars in debt. But it still wouldn’t be enough to satisfy those who believe that only the state can deliver prosperity and kindness.