The federal government's system of entitlements is the largest money-shuffling machine in human history, and President Biden intends to make it a lot bigger. His American Families Plan--which he recently attempted to tie to a bipartisan infrastructure deal--proposes to extend the reach of federal entitlements to twenty-one million additional Americans, the largest expansion since Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society.
For the first time in US history--except possibly for the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, for which we don't yet have data--more than half of working-age households would be on the entitlement rolls if the plan were enacted in its current form. Contrary to Biden's assertion that his plan "doesn't add a single penny to our deficits," his plan would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.
The American Families Plan proposes several new entitlement programs. One promises students the government will pick up the entire cost of community-college tuition; another promises families earning 1.5 times their state's median income that Washington will cover all day care expenses above 7 percent of family income for children under five; still another promises workers up to twelve weeks of federally financed wage subsidies to take time off to care for newborns or sick family members.
The American Families Plan would follow long-standing government practice and make temporary emergency programs permanent. In March, Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan,...