Biden and Trump Try To Wish Away the Looming Entitlement Crisis

“Contrary to what Trump and Biden imply, it is impossible to “protect” Social Security and Medicare by doing nothing. Inaction will guarantee automatic benefit cuts in less than a decade.
In 2033, according to the latest projections, Social Security’s trust fund “will become depleted,” and “continuing program income will be sufficient to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits.” Two years before then, Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund “will be sufficient to pay 89 percent of total scheduled benefits.””

https://reason.com/2024/03/27/biden-and-trump-try-to-wish-away-the-looming-entitlement-crisis/

Biden isn’t advertising America’s record oil boom

“The US is the largest crude oil producer in the world, pumping out nearly 13 million barrels on average every day in 2023, an all-time record, according to new data from the US Energy Information Administration.
That’s an awkward milestone for President Joe Biden, who has arguably done more than any modern president to facilitate America’s transition away from fossil fuels to greener alternatives.

For the last six years, America has outstripped Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC countries in crude oil production. And it has picked up the pace under Biden, who had approved more permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands by last October than former President Donald Trump had by the same point in his presidency.

Biden has expedited the construction of an oil pipeline in West Virginia and approved the Willow oil project in Alaska, over the opposition of environmental activists and despite his 2020 campaign promise to stop drilling on federal lands altogether.”

https://www.vox.com/climate/24098983/biden-oil-production-climate-fossil-fuel-renewables

Biden Is Wrong About Student Debt Forgiveness

“Despite failing to enact blanket student loan forgiveness, Joe Biden has still managed to forgive more than $130 billion in federal student loans since taking office in 2021—and due to a series of Education Department rule changes, even more loans are set to be forgiven in the coming years.”

“Under the REPAYE plan, previously the most popular IDR plan, borrowers were required to make regular monthly payments of 10 percent of their discretionary income (calculated as earnings above 150 percent of the federal poverty rate) for 20 years in order to receive forgiveness. But in 2022, Biden announced the Education Department would replace the REPAYE plan.
In its place, the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan is a significantly more generous alternative, only requiring monthly payments of 5 percent of borrowers’ discretionary income (now calculated as earnings above 225 percent of the federal poverty rate), with forgiveness after just 10 years for balances less than $12,000. Late or incomplete payments would still count during the required repayment period, unlike under the REPAYE plan.”

“In all, the new IDR plan is estimated to cost taxpayers nearly as much as Biden’s original attempt at forgiving $475 billion over the next decade (blanket forgiveness was estimated to cost up to $519 billion). While Biden claimed that his recent forgiveness would help swaths of Americans “buy a home start a business even start a family,” it certainly isn’t typical taxpayers—the majority of whom do not have the benefits of a college degree, or the student loans to match—who will end up benefiting.”

https://reason.com/2024/03/07/biden-is-wrong-about-student-debt-forgiveness/

Biden Says He’ll Make the Wealthy Pay More To Fix Social Security. Here’s Why That Won’t Work.

“Under current law, the payroll tax that funds Social Security is capped so that, for this year, only the first $168,600 in earnings are subject to it.
Raising that cap—or eliminating it—is frequently discussed as one possible solution to Social Security’s approaching insolvency. That seems to be the idea that Biden was gesturing towards in his speech.

On its face, this isn’t necessarily the worst idea. The cap is completely arbitrary, so there’s no principled reason why all earnings shouldn’t be treated equally. And there’s no doubt that raising the cap would generate more revenue to help keep Social Security afloat. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that applying payroll taxes to higher income levels could raise $1 trillion in revenues over a 10-year period (though the amount of revenue would depend on how the cap was altered, and whether benefits increased as well).”

“raising or eliminating the payroll tax gap doesn’t come close to solving the long-term Social Security shortfall. It might generate $1 trillion over 10 years, which is a lot of money, but it doesn’t come close to the $2.8 trillion deficit the program is expected to run over the next decade.

“Eliminating the tax cap would either raise benefits as well (reducing the proposals’ savings), or—if the accompanying benefits are canceled—turn Social Security into a true welfare program by delinking contributions and benefits,” writes Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and former Senate budget staffer, in a recent piece debunking some common myths about Social Security reform. “Moreover, eliminating the cap would not bring permanent solvency or avert the need for benefit changes….The system would return to deficits by 2029. Lawmakers would still need to reform benefit levels and the eligibility age.””

https://reason.com/2024/03/07/biden-says-hell-make-the-wealthy-pay-more-to-fix-social-security-heres-why-that-wont-work/

Biden’s Plan To Subsidize Homebuyers Won’t Work

“Higher rents and home prices are a natural consequence of local and state zoning laws, labyrinthine approval processes, federal restrictions on mortgage financing, and environmental reporting laws, to name a few.
All these laws limit the supply of new housing, which drives up the price for any given level of demand. That’s a diagnosis the Biden administration itself has endorsed in various housing briefs and “action plans.”

Despite that insight, the president’s proposals to subsidize home buying will, all else equal, increase demand while leaving supply constraints in place. That will only raise prices further.”

https://reason.com/2024/03/07/bidens-plan-to-subsidize-homebuyers-wont-work/