Biden unveils proposed $769 billion domestic budget

On Friday the Biden administration revealed the outlines of a proposed $1.52 trillion discretionary federal spending budget for the fiscal year 2022. The budget is separate from previously misnamed coronavirus “relief” bills, as well as Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and is considered a starting point for negotiations with the Republicans.

The proposed budget will likely be modified dramatically before it is actually approved and implemented by October 1, when the new fiscal year starts. On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the proposals represented the “beginning of what we know is a long journey.”

In announcing the proposal, Shaldana Young, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said that the budget reflected “a chance not simply to go back to the way things were before the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn struck, but to begin building a better, stronger, more secure, more inclusive America.”

Biden speaks at The Queen theater, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. [Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum]

One aspect that all sections of the ruling class are in agreement is increasing the gargantuan US military budget. This comes after a year in which more US citizens, over 570,000 as of this writing, died from COVID-19 than died in World War II, Vietnam and the Korean War combined.

Despite increasing military spending by nearly $13 billion, to $753 billion, apologists for the Democratic Party are hailing the proposed increase in domestic spending, from $663.7 billion to $769.4 billion, as a sign of the “progressive” character of the Biden administration.

The increase in domestic spending across every single cabinet department is not a sign of departure from the previous administration, but a recognition of the shared priorities of the ruling class in combating global competitors, namely China.

The proposed increase in spending in education and health care, as outlined in a letter to shareholders by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jaime Dimon earlier this week, demonstrates that spending has very little to do with improving the health and minds of the population but instead at ensuring the US military is able to fulfill its recruitment quotas.

In his letter, Obama’s “favorite banker” noted that while “American high schools graduate approximately 85% of its students, many of our inner city schools don’t graduate half of their students.” This, coupled with a reduction in life expectancy, due to increases in diabetes, cancer, stroke and obesity, led Dimon to note an “alarming statistic.”

“Seventy percent of today’s youth (ages 17-24) are not eligible for military service, essentially due to a lack of proper education (basic reading and writing skills) or health issues (commonly obesity or diabetes).”

This is what is driving the increase in domestic spending outlined by the Biden administration, which does not include any proposed tax hikes on the ill-gotten wealth of financial oligarchy. This is to be expected after Biden received donations from 230 US billionaires for his presidential campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. This represents 25 percent of US billionaires, including nearly $53,000 from Judy Dimon, wife of Jaime Dimon. Comparatively, Trump received donations from roughly 14 percent of US billionaires.

Even the modest 15 percent minimum tax on large, profitable corporations proposed in Biden’s infrastructure plan is a significant reduction from his campaign proposal. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department revealed that the proposed tax, which only applies to companies with income exceeding $2 billion, up from the $100 million Biden proposed during the campaign, would only affect 180 companies, with only 45 eligible to pay the tax.

Likewise, Biden has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate by an insignificant 7 percent to 28 percent. The figure is still seven percent lower than it was in 2016, and 18 percent lower than the 1986 corporate tax rate of 46 percent under President Ronald Reagan.

In an effort to keep schools open and parents on the job producing surplus value for the ruling class, the budget proposes that the Education Department receive a 40.8 percent increase in funding to $102.8 billion, with $36.5 billion set aside for so-called Title 1 grants, which were slashed under the Obama administration. This relatively modest increase in school funding is not enough to compensate for the decades of cuts to education.

The budget proposes a 23.1 percent boost in base funding to the Department of Health and Human Services, totaling $133.7 billion, including $6.5 billion for a proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health inside the National Institutes of Health. Modeled after the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the program would pursue research in diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. However, if it is anything like DARPA, it will be used to funnel millions of dollars to politically connected contractors.

The budget also includes a proposed $1.6 billion increase in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget, up to $8.7 billion and $10.7 billion for research and opioid addiction prevention, a nearly $4 billion increase from the previous year.

Attempting to give the proposal a “progressive” veneer, the word “climate” is repeated 151 times throughout the proposal. $14 billion is proposed to be allocated to measures meant to allegedly combat climate change, but in reality they will contribute to further destruction of the planet. The $14 billion is spread across federal agencies and would be used to subsidize the electric auto industry through the purchase of fleets of electric vehicles, the building of charging stations, renovating federal buildings and providing “tax credits.”

Continuing the bipartisan assault on immigrants, the budget includes $52 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, with an additional $1.2 billion allocated to expanding the police-state apparatus with investments in “border security technology.”

The DHS and Department of Justice are also slated to receive an additional $111 million. $45 million is earmarked to the FBI for “domestic terrorism investigations,” according to the Hill, with another $40 million for US attorneys to compensate for “increasing domestic terrorism caseloads.”

Demonstrating the fact that the January 6 coup attempt involved elements within the state and DHS, the budget also set aside $84 million “to ensure that DHS workforce complaints, including those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs, are investigated expeditiously.”