Only a Biden administration would consider shutting down the American economy again.
“I would shut it down,” Biden said in an interview aired Sunday night on ABC, before adding the weasel words, “I would listen to scientists.”
Such a radical position should strike fear into the heart of every small business owner, employee, and consumer in the nation.
As we learned the hard way this spring, a national lockdown is a cure worse than the disease. Thirty million Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits over a six-week period this spring. According to Yelp data, more than half of businesses that have shut down are now closed for good. The country took out $3 trillion in debt in the second quarter alone. Another national lockdown would only exacerbate this pain.
Lockdowns have also led to unprecedented social consequences, including dramatic increases in depression, alcoholism, domestic violence, and suicidal ideation. There’s a broad consensus that mass lockdowns are too blunt a hammer for a disease that kills an estimated 0.13 percent of the people it infects outside of nursing homes.
There’s also no clear correlation between lockdowns and public health outcomes. In response to the virus, the Southwest largely remained open while New York locked down hard, yet the former had far fewer deaths per capita. Kowtowing to “scientists” (as if scientists will ever agree on a Covid-19 response as they do on, say, the boiling point of water), and ignoring these broader socio-economic consequences isn’t leadership. It’s pandering.
Even without a national lockdown, Biden wants to cut the nascent national economic recovery out at its knees by implementing nearly $4 trillion worth of tax increases. Only a Biden administration would call for the biggest tax increase in American history when the country is at one of its most vulnerable points.
Biden would reverse President Trump’s tax cuts, which have allowed small businesses structured as pass-throughs to write off one-fifth of their revenues. Companies across the country from Pennsylvania chemical manufacturer Guy Chemical to Illinois transmission maker HM Manufacturing have used these tax savings to hire, raise wages, and expand.
Raising taxes would divert money out of communities where it goes to productive use to Washington D.C., where it is largely wasted on the massive federal bureaucracy that rarely helps ordinary Americans. As a result, Biden’s tax plans would mean less economic opportunity for average Americans when they need these most.
According to the left-of-center Tax Policy Center, Biden’s “proposals would increase taxes on average on all income groups.” The Tax Foundation estimates that Biden’s tax plan would kill 585,000 jobs while reducing GDP and ordinary incomes.
Biden’s tax agenda also calls for a 33 percent increase on businesses structured as corporations. This move will drive these job creators abroad, including into China’s arms, where they could better compete on a global stage. Under the Obama-Biden administration, dozens of big companies, including Burger King and Johnson Controls, pursued such “inversions” to escape punitive taxation, until President Trump brought tax rates in line with the developed-world average.
A Biden administration would devote much of its tax bounty to funding Green New Deal-style energy transformations that would replace reliable and cheap traditional energy with spotty and expensive renewable sources. Only a Biden administration would raise energy and transportation costs on American employers and consumers when they can least afford it.
For a coming attraction of Biden’s energy plans, look to California, where deep green environmental policies are generating roaming blackouts and brownouts throughout the state. It hardly bears repeating: Solar power isn’t good when the sun isn’t shining, and windmills don’t spin when it isn’t windy. While Democrats try to portray President Trump as a tinpot dictator, California’s energy shortages are truly where the third-world action is.
Even when the lights are on, California has some of the country’s highest electricity prices — 60 percent above the national average. And gas is routinely $4 or more per gallon. Artificially high energy costs are another tax on small businesses and consumers — disproportionately hurting the most vulnerable — that will reduce economic dynamism and slow the national economic recovery.