Libertarian Analyst Warns of Socialist Drift in Dems’ Spending Plan

The Washington Times cites Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray on a recent $3.5 trillion social spending bill proposal:

A prominent libertarian financial analyst says the $3.5 trillion social spending bill proffered by President Biden and congressional Democrats would move the United States closer to a classical socialist economy.

Iain Murray, vice president for strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, notes that the $3.5 trillion figure represents a compromise from the $6.5 trillion that Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist, had sought as “a starting point.”

“When you look at the $3.5 trillion proposal, you can see the intent is to transform America into a Western European-style democratic socialism, massively expanding the welfare state with lots of costly provisions,” said Mr. Murray, who also directs CEI’s Center for Economic Freedom. “It’s getting us closer to the classical definition of socialism, as worker control of the means of production.”

He says progressive Democrats have not been fully honest with voters about the reality that European nations typically pay for democratic socialism — namely, raising taxes on the middle class and deregulating the market economy.

“The Democrats want to avoid that back part of the debate, saying it will all be paid for by a lot of accounting gimmicks and increased taxes on the upper class, while at the same time bringing in many strict regulations on the market economy that will reduce the wealthy they must tax to pay for it all,” said Mr. Murray, a former researcher with the nonprofit Statistical Assessment Service.

He says the Democrats’ proposals, which often involve passing the costs indirectly to working people, will hardly pay long-term for expansive welfare programs like single-payer health care.

“It looks like some sort of sleight-of-hand,” Mr. Murray said. “Their answer seems to be taxing businesses, which will have a chilling effect on the economy and reduce the amount of wealth that is the basis of how you pay for the welfare state. I don’t know how they’re going square that circle”

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