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EDITORIAL: Biden budget confirms Washington’s spending addiction

President Joe Biden released his latest budget blueprint on Monday, and the numbers confirm yet again that Washington’s problem is out-of-control spending rather than a lack of revenue.

First, some perspective. In fiscal 2007, the federal budget was $2.73 trillion. Just 16 years later, Mr. Biden proposes to spend $5.79 trillion, more than double that amount. The president’s request represents a whopping 31 percent leap over fiscal 2019, the last pre-COVID year.

While Americans struggle with the highest inflation in 40 years, the government is doing just fine, thank you.

The White House argues that its plan for fiscal 2023 will reduce deficits, but that’s only if you believe the legerdemain built into the budgetary assumptions and the idea that Mr. Biden’s massive spending bills are “revenue-neutral.” Even assuming that’s true, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget notes that debt would still rise to “record levels within a decade” as a percentage of gross domestic product.

Much of the so-called “deficit reduction” is achieved by using the pandemic years — with their massive emergency spending measures — as a baseline. Under the Biden plan, the budget watchdog reports, annual deficits “would stay above $1 trillion throughout the decade while rising to $1.8 trillion by 2032.”

Mr. Biden would help pay for this blowout by taking more of other people’s money. Specifically, he would create a new wealth tax targeting the rich and projected to raise $360 billion over 10 years. It’s unclear whether the proposal would pass constitutional muster, but if it is enacted and survives a challenge, history guarantees that it will be expanded as the years advance to ensnare more and more Americans.

The irony is that Washington has never been awash in more tax money — yet it’s never enough.

The Wall Street Journal noted this week that federal tax receipts in the first five months of the current fiscal year were up 26 percent from a year earlier. “The current tax system,” the Journal observed, “is throwing off revenue to spend if the politicians would show a modicum of restraint.”

Some Democrats argue that the Biden budget is a centrist document because, among other things, it includes spending increases for defense and law enforcement. But that’s a tip of the cap to the realities of a volatile foreign landscape and domestic concerns about rising crime. As a whole, the president’s spending blueprint advances the progressive goal of crippling the private economy under an ever-expanding administrative state, ignoring that a thriving free market is necessary to generate all those greenbacks that Mr. Biden so desires to spend.

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