More Than Zero: The Real Cost of Building Back Better

Construction along Interstate Highway 66 in Manassas, Va., August 10, 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
Thinking honestly about our pandemic-relief spending and the president’s Build Back Better agenda.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I n advertising his Build Back Better plan to the public, President Biden has asserted that the proposal costs zero. The argument is that the agenda would not increase government debt; rather, it would be paid for by increased taxation on “big corporations” and “those at the top.” While that line has received deserved criticism in recent weeks, howling about economic illiteracy, however satisfying, is a poor place to end the conversation. Indeed, the massive expansion of government that has occurred since the pandemic began will have very large long-run costs, which must be weighed carefully and seriously. In a rational

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Kevin A. Hassett served in the Trump administration as a senior adviser to the president and is a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. He is the senior adviser to National Review's Capital Matters, a new initiative focused on financial and economic coverage, and is the Vice President of the Lindsey Group.


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