A number of politicians and analysts responded with criticism over the weekend, after United States President Joe Biden tweeted that his Build Back Better plan, which calls for $3.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, “costs zero dollars.”
Biden’s remarks: On Saturday, Biden posted on Twitter attempting to clarify the accounting on the widely publicized $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill currently being debated on Capitol Hill, stating that the actual costs will be “zero.”
“My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars,” Biden tweeted. “Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America.”
“And it adds zero dollars to the national debt,” he added.
Twitter’s response: In a flurry of reactions, politicians and analysts denounced Biden’s statement, questioning how a plan that calls for $3.5 trillion in spending over 10 years could actually cost zero dollars.
“Simple math for President Biden: $3.5 trillion does NOT equal zero,” tweeted Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.).
Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-Ill.) echoed Tenney’s sentiments, replying to Biden’s tweet with, simply, “This is a lie.”
Others pointed out that Biden will have trouble explaining this to Democrats, some of whom have opened up about criticism of the Build Back Better proposal, including Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
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“Nobody believes creating new, massive and permanent government programs costs zero dollars especially not the Senate Democrats they need to convince to vote for it,” wrote political strategist Rory Cooper.
Even supporters of Biden appeared dubious of the President’s claim.“I strongly support the new infrastructure plan,” began political scientist Ian Bremmer, before pointing out, “It is not costless.”The big picture: While the Build Back Better plan does call for $3.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, a figure which amounts to roughly 1.2% of the projected gross domestic product of the U.S. over the same span, Biden likely believes that the trillions in costs will be offset by spending and tax cuts also included in the bill.The idea is that the gross costs of the bill is $3.5 trillion, but the net costs will be zero, according to Washington Post journalist Catherine Rampell.On September 24, Biden told the press: “We talk about price tags. The — it is zero price tag on the debt. We’re paying — we’re going to pay for everything we spend.”“It’s going to be zero — zero,” he continued. “Because in the — in that plan that I put forward — and I said from the outset — I said, ‘I’m running to change the dynamic of how the economy grows.’”