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EDITORIAL: The cynical facade of Joe Biden the deficit fighter

President Joe Biden likes to pass himself off as a deficit slayer, which is a bit like Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote claiming to be an avid dieter.

Mr. Biden in February bragged that he had presided over “the largest deficit reduction in American history,” a drop of more than $1.7 trillion. Never mind that the administration was still sitting on $1.4 trillion in red ink when the president thumped his chest. In fact, the steep drop in the annual deficit was a result of pandemic relief spending coming off the books and had nothing to do with the White House.

Mr. Biden did indeed happen to be the man sitting in the Oval Office when the deficit inevitably eased after the nation’s battle with COVID. The president’s braggadocio, however, implies that he’s the leader taxpayers can trust to get the nation’s fiscal house in order. And this is where reality intrudes.

Thanks to the massive spending bills backed by congressional Democrats and Mr. Biden, the baseline trajectory of federal outlays over the next decade will be trillions of dollars higher than it would have been otherwise. According to revised numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, “The estimated increase in federal outlays over 10 years was $18.76 trillion more than estimated only two years earlier,” the Wall Street Journal noted.

The CBO’s projections in the wake of the progressive spending spree foresee annual budget deficits continuing to climb as a share of the economy, with the national debt hitting 110 percent of gross domestic product by 2030.

To make matters worse, inflation triggered by this administration’s recklessness will increase debt payments, making it even more difficult to dig out of this abyss.

The president, the Journal reports, will release his yearly budget blueprint in the coming weeks, and “deficit reduction” is front and center for obvious political reasons. Yet Mr. Biden’s sole plan to balance the books is to raise taxes on the dastardly rich.

So Congress can continue to mainline other people’s money, Mr. Biden wants large tax hikes on those making more than $400,000 a year, which may even include a new “wealth” tax on high earners. Contrary to Democratic talking points, the tax code is already highly progressive, with the top 10 percent of earners accounting for 74 percent of all federal income tax collections. The president’s tax agenda will be a drag on economic growth, making it more difficult to attack the debt.

Budget restraint may be out of fashion in today’s Washington, but congressional Republicans should show some courage and reclaim the mantle of fiscal sanity by presenting taxpayers with an alternative spending plan. It’s long past time that gluttonous Beltway politicians backed away from the trough, lest the nation’s finances suffer the same disastrous fate that awaited Mr. Creosote.

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