Every time Joe Biden's positions change, they get worse
Former vice president Joe Biden has had a long, checkered, and inconsistent career in politics. As a senator in the 1970s, Biden vehemently opposed school desegregation bussing, stating in one interview that it is an "asinine concept." This, juxtaposed with the former vice president's more recent support of highly progressive racial policies, including legislation to study reparations for slavery, shows the inconsistency in his rhetoric and policies. Biden, it seems, will endorse any legislation or position he feels will best advance his political career, regardless of whether or not that position runs contrary to his previous attitudes and statements.
Biden, for example, authored the 1994 "tough on crime" law, a controversial piece of legislation meant to combat decades of rising crime. More recently, the Biden campaign has proposed several highly progressive criminal justice reform policies, including ending cash bail, ending "all incarceration for drug use," "abolishing private prisons," and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences.
Biden, despite framing himself as a moderate during the presidential primary, is in support of many strikingly progressive legislative and regulatory policies, such as repealing "right to work" laws; establishing a $15-an-hour minimum wage; creating a public health care option "like Medicare"; and what if enacted would be the highest tax increase in history, totaling nearly $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
These heightened taxes and stringent regulations have the potential to devastate the national economy and to considerably hinder economic growth. The Tax Foundation, for example, finds that Biden's tax plan would "reduce the economy's size by 1.51 percent in the long run" and would eliminate 585,000 jobs.
This is largely due to the fact that, as William McBride, a writer for the Tax Foundation, explains, higher "[t]axes on income and wages reduce the incentive to work. Progressive income taxes, where higher income is taxed at higher rates, reduce the returns to education, since high incomes are associated with high levels of education, and so reduce the incentive to build human capital. Progressive taxation also reduces investment, risk taking, and entrepreneurial activity since a disproportionately large share of these activities is done by high income earners." McBride added that higher taxes "reduce the incentive to invest and to build capital. Less investment means fewer productive workers and correspondingly lower wages."
Additionally, Biden's proposal of raising the federal minimum wage, while appearing largely beneficial, would, undoubtedly, have many unintended and profoundly negative repercussions. In 2019, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would result in a loss of 1.3 million jobs.
Larger corporations would compensate for the wage increase by investing in technology and automating their processes or, if possible, outsourcing the work overseas, displacing many low-level and unskilled employees. Other companies would likely attempt to pass on the additional labor costs to the consumer by raising prices. Still other businesses, largely small local businesses, unable to compensate for or pass on the added costs, would be forced to close down, resulting in additional job losses.
Biden's proposition for a public health care option "like Medicare" would have a devastating effect on the health care system. Medicare payments to hospitals are often much lower than payments made by private insurance companies. For example, a private insurance company will pay a hospital around $37,000 for a knee replacement surgery, while Medicare will pay only around $17,000 for the same procedure. In fact, The American Hospital Association found that for every $1 American hospitals spent caring for Medicare patients, Medicare paid hospitals only 87 cents.
The current system of partially government-provided health care works because the low payments made by Medicare are offset by the high payments made by private insurance companies, a sentiment echoed by Richard Anderson, the chief executive of St. Luke's University Health Network. Anderson, according to The New York Times, contends that "hospitals depend on insurers' higher payments to deliver top-quality care because government programs pay so little."
Offering a public health care option "like Medicare" would result in a steep decrease in revenue for hospitals and salaries for doctors, forcing hospitals to cut back on many of the services and expenses necessary for providing top-quality patient care and worsening the current physician shortage.
And, although Biden is not explicitly proposing universal health care, there is a concern that a generous public option, like the one Biden is proposing, could capture enough of the market share to force private insurance companies out of business. If this scenario occurs, then Biden's option would essentially become universal health care.
Joe Biden may have been a moderate in the past, but this is clearly no longer the case. The former vice president has elected to ride the wave of progressivism sweeping through the Democratic Party, endorsing dangerous and destructive policies.