Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar climate action plan is full of promises that the law says he cannot keep. Promising to do what you cannot do is a false promise.
Here are some big-ticket examples. Biden says, “If I am elected I will do the following: Create millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure from roads and bridges to green spaces and water systems to electricity grids and universal broadband…; Create 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry, domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, from parts to materials to electric vehicle charging stations…; Provide every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options through flexible federal investments with strong labor protections that create good, union jobs and meet the needs of these cities.…”
Congress Controls the Purse
What is wrong with these grand promises? Simple. The President of the United States has no authority, or the money, to do any of these things. That authority (and the authority to raise the money) belongs solely to the U.S. Congress.
So, here is what his promises really amount to.
Biden really says, “If elected, I promise to do the following: first, beg Congress to do something about America’s crumbling infrastructure. I will propose a big plan, but what they do is up to them.
Second, I’ll implore Congress to somehow create a lot of jobs in the American auto industry. How they do it is up to them.
And, third, I’ll repeatedly ask Congress to build a lot of zero-emissions public transit stuff. I will bug the hell out of them. What they do is up to them.”
Not quite so grand-sounding, are they? In fact, they are pretty humble because Congress, not the President, runs the U.S. government. The idea that the president is all-important is just a myth, albeit a seemingly universal myth.
New Taxes, No Union Payoff
Nor is the Congress likely to do much of this hugely expensive stuff, even if the Democrats win majorities in both houses, which is also unlikely. Unlikely + unlikely = very unlikely. This is especially true because Biden’s undocumented cost estimate of two trillion dollars is far too low. It is more like twenty trillion.
That would require trillions of dollars in new taxes, which is political suicide, especially in the House, where every seat is voted on every two years. The symbolic House Climate Crisis Committee put out an even grander plan than Biden’s, but like the toothless committee itself, that plan is just symbolic.
Note, by the way, that there is no mention of all these jobs being union in the real promises noted above. Even Congress cannot make that happen. There are “Buy American” clauses in federal contracts, but no “Only Unions Shops Can Bid On This” clauses. That would be truly unconstitutional.
It has been suggested that all this pro-union rhetoric is to make up for Biden’s unacceptably truthful admission that killing the fossil fuel industry would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs. Or it may be because AOC, who is hot on unions, is his top climate planner. In any case, it is yet another false promise.
People running for president should only promise to do what presidents can actually do. They cannot speak for Congress, so they should not pretend to do so. Biden’s climate promises are so false they are absurd. You can’t get there from here.