The Democratic Party used to call itself the party of working people and hail the “dignity of work.” No more. Now Democrats want to guarantee people who choose not to work an income funded by the suckers who do the right thing by showing up for work, caring for their family and paying taxes.
Fortunately, these self-supporting Americans just dodged a bullet. The failure to pass Build Back Better in Congress, thanks to holdout Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) means that the monthly checks or automatic bank deposits to parents with kids, sometimes dubbed Biden Bucks, come to an end this month.
For working people, the monthly payments were merely an advance on their tax refunds — but parents who choose not to work have been getting no-strings money to support their nonworking lifestyle.
Using the pretext of pandemic relief, Democrats enacting the American Rescue Plan last March changed a feature of the tax code — the child tax credit available to adults who work and pay taxes — into a grant paid unconditionally and monthly to almost all adults with kids, whether they work or not.
Democrats have been pushing to extend the monthly payments through 2022 as part of the Build Back Better Act, with a plan to make them permanent.
Manchin saw right through what his party intended: a socialist-style universal basic income. Manchin objected to the unconditional monthly cash grants: “There’s no work requirement whatsoever.”
“Don’t you think if we’re going to help the children,” Manchin asked, the parents “should make some effort?”
So what about the Democratic Party that represents working people? President Joe Biden still talks the talk. “My Dad used to say, ‘Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community.’”
But Biden’s party is no longer walking that walk. As Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) told the House Ways and Means Committee during a debate over Build Back Better, “the so-called dignity of work — that’s like hearing a fingernail on a chalkboard.” New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz calls Manchin’s work-ethic convictions “contemptible.”
Sorry, but most Americans don’t want to support the moochers.
Supporters of the monthly payments hail them as “already a huge success” for lifting millions of children out of poverty. Nonsense. That’s what a working parent does. The national poverty rate fell temporarily, but the payments didn’t solve the problem of parents without the mindset to support their children.
This is deja vu. Before the 1996 welfare reform enacted by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, Uncle Sam used to send checks to nonworking parents. Welfare reform changed that, requiring parents to work or train for work in order to receive cash benefits. It succeeded, reducing the welfare rolls, ameliorating child poverty and helping single mothers become self-sufficient.
Yet, today’s Democratic Party spurns that model. Democrats tend to blame unemployment on racism or a rigged economy and argue that people deserve dignity, whether they choose to work or not.
Of course, all human beings deserve dignity — but not a seat on the couch in front of the TV funded by people who toil.
Democratic politicians all over the nation are pushing to provide a monthly basic income to the nonworking poor, courtesy of taxpayers. They’ve formed Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. Los Angeles is sending out monthly $1,000 checks to 2,000 residents.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is using millions in federal pandemic relief funding to distribute $500-a-month cash stipends to randomly chosen low-income recipients. That ought to enrage anyone who works and pays taxes.
Jobs are plentiful. The National Federation of Independent Businesses reported that over half of small business owners cannot fill positions. Small businesses are posting “Help Wanted” signs in windows.
Every time you pass one of those signs, you can thank Manchin for holding the line against making taxpayers into suckers supporting the freeloaders.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Next Pandemic,” available at Amazon.com.