“The larger spending package would increase government debt at a faster rate, which would increase the amount the government has to pay in interest. In the $3.5 trillion scenario, higher levels of spending and higher amounts of government debt “crowds out investment in productive private capital. Less private capital leads to lower wages as workers become less well-equipped to do their jobs effectively,” the report states.
Now, the PWBM has completed an analysis of the $1.5 trillion framework that Manchin reportedly offered as an alternative. In order to do the estimate, PWBM analysts assumed that Manchin’s proposal would increase spending by about $540 billion for means-tested childcare programs, like universal pre-K; $439 billion for a five-year extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit; $260 billion for public infrastructure; and $260 billion for other assorted government spending.
That’s still a lot of money, and there are still some negative long-term consequences—but the most important part of Manchin’s proposal is that it does not require additional borrowing, and relies on smaller tax increases than what President Joe Biden has proposed. As a result, government debt would actually fall slightly over the next 30 years. The tax increases would reduce private capital by less than 1 percent by 2050—as opposed to the 6.1 percent drop that would come with the passage of the larger reconciliation package. Wages and national GDP would remain flat under the $1.5 trillion plan, instead of the projected decline under the $3.5 trillion plan.
What the report essentially says is that Manchin’s proposal would be less bad than the $3.5 trillion proposal.”
“It is a little bit crazy that everyone in Washington is talking about $1.5 trillion as a small sum of money. What Manchin is willing to support would cost about $500 billion more than the Obama stimulus, even after adjusting for inflation. And this isn’t an emergency spending plan meant to float the country through a recession—it’s a massive increase in government spending at a time when the economy is growing significantly (despite the weirdness in labor markets and supply chains).”