Biden's economic agenda is half the cost of projected military budgets

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°135 | 22 November 2021

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There’s a lot of discussion around the inflationary impact of Biden’s big spending bills, particularly the combination of the recently-passed infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill (the Build Back Better Act) that just passed the House but has yet to move in the Senate.

While plenty of attention was being directed at those two social spending measures, Biden dragged his first big bill back into the inflation spotlight for reasons unknown, blaming inflation on the stimulus checks issued through the American Rescue Plan: “People have more money now because of the first major piece of legislation I passed,” he said.


Biden could help his cause by invoking Pentagon spending, but like other conservative Democrats he doesn’t seem to be interested in dragging military spending into the realm of ‘normal’ politics (thereby evading the normal critiques of government spending). As a result, social spending bills—despite being more urgent/relevant for everyday security than military spending—will continue to bear the brunt of austerity politics. A quick cost comparison:

  • COVID stimulus package, $1.9 trillion over 10 years ($190B annually)

  • Infrastructure bill, $550 billion over 5 years ($110B annually)

  • Reconciliation bill, $1.75 trillion over 10 years ($175B annually)

  • Democrats’ military spending plan, $8.31 trillion over 10 years ($831B annually)

Thanks for your time,

Stephen (@stephensemler;

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