Joe Biden began unraveling a new agenda that makes the Democrat presidential nominee appear more similar to the socialist senators he faced in crowded primaries than the center-left “moderate” he portrays, which was always a myth to begin with.
On Tuesday, Biden unveiled a new $775 billion proposal for government-run childcare with additional taxpayer programs for the elderly. The latest program comes just days after Biden announced a $2 trillion package to ensure “environmental justice” hashed out with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ team to pile onto the $7 trillion in spending already proposed, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. The total price tag for the Biden agenda now stands at nearly $10 trillion with more on the way, which is already triple what was put forward by 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“We’re going to have a breathtaking opportunity,” Biden said as he rolled out his new economic agenda this month, “to rewrite our economy so that prosperity flows not just to CEOs, but to workers who actually build the country.”
While still a fraction of what Sanders and what Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren were proposing on the campaign trail just a few months ago, where various estimates ranged anywhere from $20 trillion to $60 trillion as if real money can cease to exist, the massive spend atop the nation’s largest debt burden ever shows Biden to be the hardest left candidate Democrats have ever nominated.
“From health care to climate change, to criminal justice, Biden has proposed ideas more ambitious and liberal than policies supported by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign,” read an article in McClatchy. “Biden’s current set of policy prescriptions would likely be considered radical if they had been proposed in any previous Democratic presidential primary.”
That story was published in September, five months before the Iowa caucuses.
When the Biden campaign released the 110-page “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations” at the start of this month, endorsing free college, tripling Clinton’s tax hikes, and threatening officers for protecting the nation’s borders, it became clear Sanders was now running the show.
“The goals of the task force were to move the Biden campaign into as progressive a direction as possible, and I think we did that,” Sanders told NPR shortly after its release. “On issue after issue, whether it was education, the economy, health care, climate, immigration, criminal justice, I think there was significant movement on the part of the Biden campaign.”
Sanders also lauded the agreement: “The compromise they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR,” he said on MSNBC.
The task force features a litany of other leftist promises, including expansion of Social Security even though it is already reeling towards insolvency, raising the minimum wage, doing away with cash bail, and federalized preschool.
Rather than pivot to the center to court moderates, as is typical of general election candidates, Biden lurched to the left in a moment where he’ll likely get away with it. A new Fox News poll released on Sunday shows President Donald Trump running against the coronavirus more than Biden, with 29 percent of registered voters identifying the Chinese virus as the single most important issue facing the country. Meanwhile, Biden remains sheltered in his Delaware home waging a 21st-century version of an early-20th century campaign when candidates ran the entire race from their own front porch.
In the absence of the traditional scrutiny that comes with a conventional campaign and a Republican candidate, Biden’s leftward shift will fly under the radar. Perhaps it’s Biden’s turn to take an hour’s worth of questions in front of Chris Wallace. He won’t, of course, but the offer is there.