10 absurdly unnecessary items hidden in Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion tax and spending monstrosity
A few weeks ago, House Democrats released the full text of their $ 3.5 trillion big government socialism tax and spending package.
Many important elements were already clear. It would recklessly increase federal spending at a time of already high inflation, impose ruinous tax hikes while the post-pandemic economic recovery is still vulnerable, and impose an anti-labor welfare state.
However, due to the bill’s incredible length – 2,465 pages, or about the length of two King James Bibles – there are thousands of separate provisions, far more than can be properly analyzed by lawmakers or the public. .
The following are just 10 of the ridiculous things buried in the bill.
1) $ 25 million for “Training in the fight against discrimination and prejudice ” at HHS
There have been several cases of federal agencies promoting critical race theory and similar far-left programs to employees. In section 31056 of the bill, Congress wants to legally mandate such training at the Department of Health and Human Services, the largest non-military agency.
The idea that an agency focused on administering welfare programs is a racist paradise should be laughable, but apparently House Democrats think otherwise.
2) $ 200 million for Presidio Trust, aka “Pelosi Park ”
Section 70203 of the bill allocates $ 200 million to Presidio Trust, a park on the north end of San Francisco, represented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Presidio Park contains many scenic views and even a golf course. San Francisco is one of the wealthiest areas in the country and can easily afford to support the park, which makes this document blatant even without Pelosi’s involvement.
3) Well-being of journalists
While the bill contains many tax hikes, it also opens loopholes for some politically favored groups. One of them, Article 138517, would grant a tax credit for “the remuneration of local news journalists”.
The Secretary of the Treasury is required to issue “necessary regulations and guidance,” which could allow the government to determine what counts as “news.”
Worse yet, the tax credit is “refundable,” meaning that an organization that loses money would get a check from Uncle Sam, rather than simply owing nothing. This means that it is the welfare of the companies.
This would serve to support media organizations that the public does not consider valuable enough to voluntarily support. Apparently we have to be forced to do it.
4) $ 1.25 billion for activists and bureaucrats to go after homeowners
The militant left insists that housing is a right and that it supersedes basic private property rights, including the ability of landlords to exclude others from squatting or to evict tenants who refuse to honor their contracts rent.
The federal government has advanced this notion with its unconstitutional moratorium on evictions under the pretext of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Now Congress wants to fund anti-property activists and regulators to the tune of $ 1.25 billion, including putting up legal hurdles for real estate owners just trying to defend their rights in court against delinquent tenants.
Sections 40106 and 40107 may not explicitly require funding for left-wing groups, but phrases like “fair housing organizations” can only be reasonably understood to mean exactly that.
5) $ 4.5 billion for the buyout of the federal housing plan
The bill seeks to impose a federal takeover of housing policy, both by building massive amounts of public housing and forcing local governments to change zoning rules.
Bending local communities to the will of Washington’s elites on the texture of local neighborhoods undermines the ability of families and local governments to determine for themselves the distinctive characteristics of their communities.
While there are many opportunities for housing policy reform, uniform federal mandates are the wrong approach. Yet Section 40103 would spend $ 4.5 billion just on bureaucrats at all levels of government to “develop” and “evaluate” housing plans.
The private sector could build tens of thousands of housing units for that amount of money, but this bill would rather tax businesses to pay bureaucrats to think about building houses.
6) $ 26.5 billion for left-wing transportation programs
Congress is about to adopt a more than $ 1 trillion infrastructure package that was put in place after months of bipartisan negotiations.
The package already shifts federal transport policy firmly to the left, including many new programs relating to “social justice” and “climate”.
One of the reasons some moderate Republicans backed the bill was that President Joe Biden promised not to include more money for transportation in the just $ 3.5 trillion social spending bill. because it would mean that the bipartite negotiations were not a real compromise. .
However, Articles 110002 to 110012 of the partisan bill contain a total of $ 26.5 billion for rail, slush funds and Green New Deal transportation programs.
This is exactly the “double dipping” that Biden promised to avoid, and it’s yet another reason Congress should step away from the flawed bipartisan bill before it’s too late.
7) Additional funding for bureaucrats, advertising campaigns
The legislation contains trillions of dollars in new benefit programs. Normally, the price of a program includes the cost of paying the government employees who administer it, as well as any necessary public awareness activities.
Yet this bill is littered with at least $ 13.3 billion in additional funding specifically for federal bureaucrats and billions more for advertising campaigns, in addition to trillions in program costs.
This highlights the true socialist nature of the bill, which is to make as many people as possible dependent on as many government programs as possible, so that the politicians who support those government programs can remain in power.
8) $ 197 million to subsidize the hiring of local teachers
The spending program includes hundreds of billions of dollars to fund the left-wing’s vision of education, including “free” community college tuition, “free” school meals, and ill-designed preschool programs.
Even the smallest education provisions are flawed. Section 20006 of the bill would provide $ 197 million for “Grow Your Own,” a concept that prioritizes schools hiring teachers who live nearby.
Such staffing decisions are a fair game for local districts and school boards, but the federal government should not be using taxpayer dollars to micromanage those choices.
9) “Community” slush fund of 7.5 billion dollars
One of the many housing initiatives in the bill, section 40105, would provide $ 7.5 billion for a “community restoration and revitalization” fund.
The money would go to nebulous concepts, such as “creating equitable civic infrastructure” and “capacity building”, which would give bureaucrats the flexibility to fund housing projects or left activists as they see fit.
Unfortunately, these local grants fail to help those in need and are often subject to inefficient allocation or even corruption.
More importantly, they do nothing to address the underlying causes of poverty; namely, children deprived of educational choices trapped in poorly performing public schools, onerous business regulations, government mismanagement or powerless law enforcement
10) 2 decades of funding for obscure tech accounts
Sections 80010 and 80011 would provide $ 2.35 billion to the Federal Citizen Services Fund, which looks after government websites and information technology for the executive branch.
These already receive annual funding as part of the appropriation process. Notably, the bill would provide the equivalent of 20 years of funding for the Federal Fund for Citizen Services and 25 years of funding for the information technology of the executive branch.
This kind of largesse (at the expense of taxpayers) demonstrates the total lack of hierarchy that characterizes legislation.
These ridiculous articles are just 10 of the myriad reasons why Congress should avoid the biggest tax and expense bill in world history, which would impose real costs on the American economy and society.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal