Biden’s Failures Highlight How Federal Government Is Too Big

Joe Biden, the candidate, promised to solve our problems as well as restore faith in America’s government. He is today one of the least popular presidents. And CNN’s John Harwood, perhaps the most sycophantic flunky of the Democratic Party not on the company payroll, says that Biden is a victim of circumstances, facing problems that are beyond solving.

Maybe Biden, who promised to “shut down the virus” rather than the country, shouldn’t be taking credit for every job that’s been “created” by reopening a healthy economy largely shut down by government mandates that Democrats supported and encouraged. It’s nice to take credit for only the positive outcomes that you did not create. But the pandemic, which virtually every nation struggled to overcome, was not Donald Trump’s doing. Nor was the housing-market crisis George W. Bush’s. Liberals didn’t stop at blaming them.

That’s political reality. Biden did much to worsen the problems we faced by pushing for historically gratuitous spending bills.

“There’s not much he can do to stop migrants from reaching America’s southern border,” Harwood contends. Not now. During his campaign, Biden’s critique of Trump’s tightening of the border was not that it was poorly administered but that it undermined American values. It was obvious that Democrats would cause a mass crush at the border.

Even before he was inaugurated, the Washington Post editorial board, certainly no hawks on the matter, warned Biden that he “need(ed) to restore American values to immigration policy without triggering a border surge.” The president didn’t take the paper’s advice, immediately shutting down border-wall construction and scrapping the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which impelled migrants to wait in that country while their claims were being adjudicated in court. (The court forced the administration into restoring the policy. Biden also left similar agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras and undid Trump-era-reinstituted “public charge” policies that barred immigrants from participating in welfare programs. Biden had made a promise to double the number and quality of immigration judges, but he didn’t keep his word.

“There’s not much he can do to curb inflation,” Harwood says. The Biden administration spent a year dismissing inflation fears despite numerous warning signs, contending that inflation was only “transitory,” that “no serious economist” was “suggesting there’s unchecked inflation on the way,” laughing off price spikes as a “high-class” problem, and arguing that higher costs might actually be a good thing.

The White House laughed at the argument that trillions more deficit spending would ease inflation on numerous occasions. This was because the current Democrats wanted to pass their New Deal. This happened after Democrats poured $2 trillion into an overheating economic system, in addition to the $3 trillion bipartisan COVID relief bill. With the help of some Republicans, Democrats passed another trillion-plus dollar infrastructure bill.

Only two sensible Senate Democrats stopped the majority from cramming through a $5 trillion social-spending “investment”—which Harwood would be defending today had it passed. Those who warned against easy monetary policy, big federal spending after lockdown were dismissed.

“Efforts to smooth gnarled supply chains, use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to expand oil supplies or waive air pollution regulations to produce more fuel with less gas can modestly offset rising prices,” Harwood writes.

Indeed, the supply chain problems aren’t Biden’s fault. Biden is to blame for spending too much time crusading on hard-left-wing causes than pushing for moderate cases for untangling destructive labor relations law or repealing Jones Act. Jimmy Carter tried to de-emulate certain industries.

Instead of reducing regulatory burdens on companies and preemptively easing potential energy shocks, Biden immediately joined the Paris Agreement, and revoked permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, which was expected to transport approximately 800,000 barrels per day. President Biden signed a series of executive orders that prioritized climate change over energy production. He also stopped any new oil and natural-gas leases on public lands. The Biden administration appealed against the court’s decision, even though there was evidence that energy prices were rising.

When Republicans win the presidency, they are immediately responsible for everything—including the spread of disease. The job becomes too big for Democrats when they win the White House. The government becomes too large, the bureaucracy too complex, the circumstances are too difficult to overcome, and the American people become too difficult to reach.

Harwood and others won’t take the next step in their case. Instead, they will conclude that presidents should make less promises and be more modest. They will never admit that the federal government has become too big and that local control is more preferable. Democrats will not concede that the federal government is too large and that local control is better.


The Daily Signal offers a variety perspectives. This article is not meant to represent the views of The Heritage Foundation.

 Do you have a comment about this article? To sound off, please email and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Please include the URL of the article or headline, as well as your name and hometown.