Finley: Biden is wearing Bernie's clothes
America elected Joe Biden but got Bernie Sanders.
Voters may have thought they were choosing middle-road stability in casting their ballots for purported moderate Biden. Instead, the new president is delivering on Sanders' prediction that he would be among the most liberal presidents in history.
Sanders, the socialist Vermont senator, could hardly have advanced himself a more radically left-wing agenda than the one Biden put in play during his first 100 days in office.
In fact, except for Medicare-for-all, Biden is checking nearly all of the boxes Sanders outlined in an op-ed the day before the inauguration.
It is a complete betrayal of his campaign promise to govern as a fiscally responsible centrist. Biden has offered up $6 trillion in new spending, only a portion of it intended to combat the effects of a pandemic that is already on the wane.
The first $2 trillion was passed without a single Republican vote, defying the president's oft-stated commitment to bipartisan governing. If he gets the next $4 trillion through, it will almost certainly also be on a straight party-line vote.
Biden has yet to meet with GOP congressional leaders, and hasn't even attempted to secure their support, instead counting on the scant Democratic majority in Congress to push through his proposals.
Biden is using the twin crises of COVID and climate change to vastly expand the reach of government into the everyday lives of the people.
While he scoffed at the cost and practicality of the Green New Deal during the Democratic presidential debates, he's placed America on a costly and risky fast track to curtail fossil fuels and emissions. Even the once-skeptical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the deal's author, is praising his performance.
His most recent big spending initiative, the $2 trillion American Families Plan, would establish a cradle-to-grave network of welfare benefits.
Included are such middle-class entitlements as three months of government-paid family and pregnancy leaves and free community college.
If Biden can convince all 50 Democratic senators that their constituents are down with such a massive explosion of the federal government — and that's not guaranteed — America will have completed its transition to a European-style welfare state.
Those who believe the big Democratic lie that it will all be paid for by the rich and corporations need only to look at who funds the nanny states of Europe, where middle- and lower-income marginal tax rates average 47%, with a 20% value added tax tacked on. That's nearly twice the amount paid by similar earners in the United States.
Government benefits come with government control, and Biden is attaching strings to his spending initiatives that will require local communities to comply with his dictates on everything from housing to policing.
The enormous overreach makes it likely Democrats will lose at least one branch of the Congress in next year's mid-term election, enabling Republicans to check Biden's ambitions.
But at the pace the president is moving, by then it will be too late. Once entitlements are passed and the checks start going out, they are rarely overturned — witness Obamacare.
Biden won the presidency because he wasn't Donald Trump, and because he stood out as Middle Class Joe among a field of frothing progressive elitists.
Americans would never have elected the socialist Bernie Sanders president, even against Trump.
But they got him anyway.
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