Issues & Insights
Joe Biden. Photo: Gage Skidmore, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license (

Biden’s Build Back Better Lie Revealed: $5 Tril Isn’t ‘Zero’

President Joe Biden and other Democrats have smugly responded “zero” or “nothing” when asked what the massive Build Back Better plan will ultimately cost. Not to be rude, but this is an outright lie, as a new government analysis clearly shows.

“My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars,” Biden tweeted on Sept. 25 from his White House account. “Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America. And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.”

In the ensuing weeks, that lie got repeated by others. That includes White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who told gullible leftists in the mainstream media that the bill would cost nothing, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who added the novel twist that the massive bill is “fully paid for.”

Since the lie went out over official social media, it wasn’t a slip of the tongue or the accidental hyperbole of a man in obvious age-related mental decline. It was an official White House policy statement, one that makes Biden’s whole administration look profoundly foolish, dishonest and deceitful.

No person with any schooling in basic math, economics, statistics or, alternatively, simply having plain common sense, would believe that spending trillions of dollars on nonproductive programs would actually result in zero net costs without massive added tax hikes. It’s simply not real.

That’s where the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) enters the picture. As it turns out, estimates for Biden’s plan from the CBO, the nonpartisan congressional think tank that officially “scores” new legislation for what it would cost the U.S. Treasury, show it would be the largest spending program ever undertaken by the U.S. And no, its costs aren’t zero.

The CBO concludes that the Build Back Better bonanza would add $3 trillion to U.S. deficits by 2031, an amount most would agree is a bit north of “zero.”

That’s bad enough. But to pass the bill, Congress added a bunch of what some politely call “gimmicks” to make it appear as if “Build Back Better” costs less than it really does. The gimmicks mainly include arbitrary expiration dates for BBB programs that no one believes will actually expire. That is, they are part of Biden’s (and Congress’) big lie.

If you keep those programs in force for the full 10 years, as will almost certainly happen, then the cost of the bill is humongous: $5 trillion added to our debt.

This explosion in spending, by the way, comes as concerns grow over a sudden alarming jump in inflation caused, in large part, by soaring federal spending.

And, as if on cue, Monday’s producer price inflation number came in, and it was a stunner: Producer prices surged 9.6% in November from a year earlier, the biggest jump on record. That follows November’s scary 6.8% consumer price jump, the biggest in four decades.

This is yet another cost of the Biden Build Back Better binge that no one has really accounted for. In fact, Democrats are in total denial that inflation’s even a problem.

Then there’s that other huge lie, this on the tax side: That it’s all “paid for,” as Pelosi said.

This is the worst lie of all. It’s not paid for, not by a longshot.

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimated that tax hikes required to pay for BBB would push the average U.S. top tax rate to 57.4%, the highest among developed nations, from the current 42.9%.

Such a hike would devastate the economy by slashing investment, lowering productivity and reducing output.

“Raising the top marginal tax rate on ordinary income to the highest in the OECD will damage U.S. competitiveness,” the Tax Foundation analysis said. “It will also reduce incentives to work, save, invest, and innovate, with broad implications for the U.S. economy.”

Indeed, the think tank estimated that “the House bill would reduce long-run economic output by nearly 0.5% and eliminate about 125,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the United States. It would also reduce average after-tax incomes for taxpayers across every income quintile over the long run.”

Sound like “zero” cost to you?

The fact is, the White House administration and its allies in Congress have shamelessly lied about this bill all along. It’s a disaster that will cost Americans trillions of dollars, wreck the economy, and deliver little if anything related to infrastructure spending.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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