El American’s Idiot of the Week award goes to Catherine Rampell — columnist for The Washington Post and commentator on CNN — for saying Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan “could cost zero dollars.”
A few days after Catherine Rampell’s intervention on CNN, Joe Biden himself and Nancy Pelosi have made statements along the same lines. So, perhaps the excuse that it will be free is not an original idea of Rampell’s, but she just happened to be the first one to repeat the Democrat argument. In any case, our award goes to her for having the courage to say it and perhaps even believing it.
It seems that they no longer bother to try to give convoluted economic explanations to justify tax increases and inflation. Until recently they used to talk about the multiplier effect of public spending, using technicalities and economic jargon to try to confuse the taxpayer. Now they don’t even bother, they practically babble these explanations without conviction. They tell you it’s free and that’s it. In the end, of course, you, the taxpayer, end up paying for it.
I guess we’ve all told ourselves this lie. The PlayStation 5 will be free because I pay for it with my credit card. This model of car I can afford and this lifetime mortgage is no problem with my current income.
A flawed argument
Catherine Rampell seems to think that the spending plan has to be done from the heart, not using the head. How much is it going to cost — over $3 trillion? Well, it sounds like a lot, but… why bother with the cold numbers? Maybe it will cost less. Maybe even zero. Who knows? The important thing is that it’s a good plan. It is supportive, inclusive, gender-sensitive, diverse and eco-sustainable.
This is judging a law by its intentions, and not by its results. Why look at the cold numbers and tedious details, when you can hold on to the promise that it is a kind law and only intended to make us better?
Catherine Rampell’s zero-cost argument should be considered bogus, but the fact-checkers are missing the point. It is worse than bogus, it is delusional. Yet this seems to be the official Democratic argument. And even though they say this will all be magically free, the reality is that we’ll all end up paying for it.