President Joe Biden is sick with a dangerous disease so common in official Washington. The disorder is an addiction to overspending other people’s money — by the trillions. While it is normally unkind to blame the afflicted for their illness, it is entirely appropriate to do so in this case. It is, after all, not those cash-crazed spendthrifts who suffer, but hardworking Americans.
Mr. Biden’s current greenback binge involves an attempt to use his presidential authority to forgive the education loans borrowed by some 43 million people. The plan would cancel $10,000 in debt for those earning less than $125,000 or less than $250,000 per year. Pell Grant recipients would be eligible for an extra $10,000 in forgiveness.
The student loan bailout, however, would transfer to the remaining 300 million Americans — 76% of whom never graduated from college — an undeserved debt of $400 billion. All told, the president’s two-year overspending orgy adds up to $4.8 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
More than 22 million holders of student debt have already registered for relief. “It’s about as easy to apply while hanging out with your friends at home or watching a movie,” boasted Mr. Biden last week. Plus, applicants need only self-attest their eligibility for the money. With up to $500 billion in COVID-19 relief funds stolen by fraudsters during the pandemic, what could possibly go wrong?
Fortunately, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted the loan cancellation program on Oct. 21. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by six Republican-led states that argued Mr. Biden lacks constitutional authority to enact the plan without congressional approval. Democratic lawmakers who share the president’s addiction are quietly grimacing over the development: The bailout was clearly designed to win them the youth vote mere weeks before Election Day.
The Biden binge should be an embarrassment. The federal government hauled in an unparalleled $4.9 trillion in taxes from Americans in fiscal 2022, according to Treasury Department records released last Friday. The tax total broke the record set last year by $518.3 billion, or 11.8%.
The most is never enough, though, for the math-challenged wastrels of Washington. Tax dollars overflowed the Treasury in the just-concluded fiscal year, but the feds spent nearly $6.3 trillion, ending up with a budget deficit of almost $1.4 trillion. By comparison, the year’s deficit alone equals the size of 1992’s entire U.S. budget.
Addictions have consequences, and the current profligacy disease has left each U.S. taxpayer owing nearly $248,000 as their share of the $31.2 trillion national debt. Such numbers are frightening to face, but Americans can readily see the damage wrought just by peering at their family investment statements: The average 401(k) has lost $34,000, or 25%, in 2022, according to the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.
The most pressing question of the moment is whether voters are better off now than they were when Mr. Biden took office. In a word, no. They should act accordingly on Nov. 8 and reject the Democrats who feed the president’s overspending habit, and their own.