Even in perfect circumstances, the Democrats’ proposed binge would be both unnecessary and inappropriate. The economy, which has been extremely well “stimulated” over the past year, is recovering well on its own. There is no crisis in our “infrastructure,” however loosely one defines that word. With our previous spending this year, we have already overshot the economy’s output gap.
And, lest we forget, Democrats were not, in fact, sent to Washington with a mandate to change everything, but given an evenly divided Senate, the slimmest House majority since World War I, and a president who won in a squeaker. Had just 90,000 votes gone the other way, it would be the Republicans, not the Democrats, who would control all of Washington, D.C. Were this a time of plenty, the case for a splurge would remain weak.
But now? Now, the push represents nothing less than a sustained rejection of the reality in which we find ourselves. Under the stewardship of presidents of both parties, we have just finished a colossal anti-COVID-19 spending spree that totaled more than $5 trillion. The federal government’s debt, which is higher than it has been at any point since World War II, is now larger than the entire American economy.