Have you heard about Terminator Joe Biden, careening through the country with a wrecking ball trying to ruin everything hardworking Americans have attained their entire lives?
You have if you’ve tuned into a Trump rally, or watched a Trump town hall, or perused President Trump’s Twitter feed. As the final days of the 2020 election wind down, Trump’s closing case to voters is to transmogrify Joe Biden. Instead of a stolid politician who won the Democratic primary by running as an experienced moderate, Biden, in Trumpworld, is a Godzilla character, except more roughly drawn.
On taxes, Trump says Biden will “come in and raises taxes on everybody, including middle income taxes, and you’ll end up with a depression the likes of which you’ve never had. The highest business tax rate in the developed world would be created, sending millions and millions of jobs out of America.”
On health care, Trump says Biden wants to “outlaw the private health insurance plans for 180 million Americans. So you have these private plans that people love, they’ve negotiated, they fought for, and you know what happens to them? It’s over. They take it away.”
If you live in the suburbs, run for the hills, because Biden’s dastardly Democrats “are pushing a plan to abolish the suburbs by eliminating single family zoning and linking federal highway grants to a federal takeover of local zoning,” Trump insists. “Your suburbs will be gone. The American dream will be gone.”
Then there are immigrants, who ruined Trump’s America once and will do it again if Biden wins: “The Democrat platform would suspend all immigration enforcement and give free healthcare and mass amnesty to illegal aliens,” Trump thunders.
Savvy citizens know what Trump is doing: Taking the most outlandish Democratic proposals he can find, attributing them to Biden, and insisting the most leftist Democrats will get their way if Biden wins, because Biden’s a pushover.
Maybe it’s trite at this point to debunk Trump’s hyperbole, which every thinking voter is accustomed to by now. But it’s worth analyzing Trump’s homestretch rhetoric because it’s a sign of desperation. Trump has barely sketched out his own second-term agenda, while deflecting blame for the coronavirus crisis he has badly botched. Without a positive message of his own, he’s left to attack and distort Biden’s. Markets now think Trump is toast, and are prepared for the consequences of a Biden White House and Democrat-controlled Congress.
This week’s Trump-o-meter reads FAILING, the second-lowest rating, because that’s what Trump is doing.
Even Democrats rejected the kind of socialist dystopia Trump is describing, when they chose Biden over the more liberal Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Trump would rather be running against Sanders, a self-described socialist, but since Biden turned out to be Trump’s opponent, Trump seems to be pretending it’s Sanders.
The cost of Biden’s tax-hike plan has actually dropped. In the spring, the Tax Policy Center estimated Biden’s tax hikes would amount to $4 trillion over 10 years, with the money going toward new spending programs Biden favors. But Biden’s plan has changed since then, with new tax credits for middle- and lower-income families. The economy has changed too, with fewer working people to tax. The Tax Policy Center now thinks Biden’s plan would impose just $2.4 trillion in new taxes over a decade. That leaves less for new problems, but also imposes less of a burden on the businesses and high earners who would pay. That would be tough to get through any Congress, and if Congress passes anything at all, it could end up being well under $1 billion worth of new taxes. The economy could easily absorb that over a decade.
Biden has no plan that would destroy the suburbs or imperil the American dream. Forecasting firms such as Oxford Economics and Moody’s Analytics actually think Biden’s plan, including both new programs and some tax hikes to pay for them, would modestly boost growth and employment. And Biden doesn’t favor Medicare for all, the Bernie Sanders plan that would eliminate private insurance for 180 million Americans. Biden wants to leave those people alone while rolling out a new government program for people not covered by any existing plan. The only thing Biden might end up destroying is Trump’s political future.
Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. Confidential tip line: firstname.lastname@example.org. Encrypted communication available. Click here to get Rick’s stories by email.