President Joe Biden has famously said that his father used to have an expression: “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
By that standard, as Rob Atkinson writes in Morning Consult, the president seems to value social spending more than he values maintaining an economic and technological lead over China. We know this because the White House has voiced strong support for the $3.5 trillion spending package that Democrats are pushing through Congress in a budget-reconciliation maneuver, though Biden has said it will probably come in at a lower total.
Make no mistake: This spending package is a historically large program of government redistribution—“a cradle-to-grave reweaving of [the] social safety net” in the estimation of The New York Times—but not, in any real sense, an investment in America’s future technological competitiveness.
Claiming that measures like free child care will help the United States compete with massive Chinese government investments in quantum computing and artificial intelligence is a stretch at best.