Hot on the campaign trail, Vice President Joe Biden is once again trying to prove that he is a product and friend of the working class. The facts say otherwise.
Let’s start with Biden’s biography. During his nearly four decades as a U.S. senator from Delaware, Democrat Biden perpetuated his image as an unlikely success story due to his hard-scrabble background.
Biden was so adept at selling this story that it led Barack Obama to make him his vice presidential running mate. In his introduction of Biden as his choice for veep, Obama characterized Biden as “still that scrappy kid from Scranton who beat the odds.”
Where’s the proof? Biden’s father worked as an executive of a government contracting company, co-owned an airport and eventually settled in Delaware for a long run as a successful sales manager at auto dealerships.
Even Biden’s acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention acknowledged he was middle class.
Though Biden likes to claim that his first 10 years living in Scranton, PA, somehow grant him the ability to personify the blue collar experience, he was educated at Delaware’s tony Archmere Academy, a place, he later recalled, that made him think he had “died and gone to Yale.”
Working a fake job
Biden never made it to Yale, but he did manage to cram his way through the University of Delaware and Syracuse law school. Surviving a plagiarism charge at the latter, Biden began his legislative career within two years of his 1968 graduation, winning a seat on the New Castle City Council. In 1972, he upset longtime Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs to kick off one of the longest tenures in the U.S. Senate.
Not that Biden’s time was particularly noteworthy. There are no major laws that bear his mark, let alone his name. His most lasting impression in the public mind as a senator came when as chair of the Judiciary Committee he unsuccessfully tried to derail Clarence Thomas’ ascendency to the Supreme Court.
But Ole’ Joe doesn’t mind his lack of deliverables. At a recent Chicago fundraiser Biden candidly admitted that, “I never had an interest in being a mayor ‘cause that’s a real job. You have to produce. That’s why I was able to be a senator for 36 years.”
Though Biden’s well-heeled audience may have laughed (somewhat), his job description is not one that captures the life experience of Pennsylvania steelworkers, West Virginia coal miners or Louisiana petrochemical operators.
Funding fake jobs for others
As Vice President, Biden has increased significantly the number of unproductive jobs.
As the self-anointed “Sheriff Joe,” Biden was tasked with policing how the $787 billion in taxpayer money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was spent. Despite echoing the president’s claim to have “the most transparent administration in history,” Biden presided over a stimulus program that funded 74,343 fake jobs created or saved of the 640,000 claimed on Recovery.gov, according to an analysis by The Washington Examiner.
In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the average cost of a stimulus job created or saved was $228,055 each. That’s roughly $16,954,292,865 in wasted taxpayer money on Sheriff Joe’s watch. And since the working class can’t afford creative accountants, the bulk of those wasted dollars came from their pockets.
Hitting real job creators with a global minimum tax
Now Biden is taking aim at working class employers.
Stumping at an Iowa manufacturing plant last month, Biden claimed that he and President Obama “want to create what’s called a global minimum tax because American taxpayers shouldn’t be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home.”
Following Biden’s logic would be a job-killer for the working class. If the Obama administration imposes a global minimum tax on American companies, the companies will pay taxes twice: once at the lower rate to the foreign government where the company transacts business, and again to Uncle Sam for the difference.
The choice then facing American companies is obvious — reincorporate in a foreign country as a foreign company and pay lower taxes, or submit to a higher level of taxation because its headquarters is in the United States.
When the companies leave, so too will many of their jobs.
Threatening working class institutions with unconstitutional mandates
Perhaps no event of the last three years better showcases Biden’s complete failure to protect the institutions that protect the working class than his muted objections to Obamacare’s birth control mandate.
As a politician eager to publicize his Catholicism, Biden could have done much more to defend the Church’s right to not be coerced into paying for a product it considers immoral.
Instead, Biden belatedly admitted that the administration “screwed up” its initial announcement of the mandate that would have made no religious exemptions for providing birth control to employees.
But then he claimed that the new version requiring insurance companies to provide birth control for “free” somehow fixes the problem; even though any first-year finance student knows that insurance providers will just increase the overall premium to cover the increase.
Thus, a religious employer will still pay for a product it thinks violates its conscience, but now indirectly.
From his biography to his politics, Joe Biden is no true defender of the working class. If anything, he’s its most famous manipulator.
Ashton Ellis is a contributing editor at the Center for Individual Freedom (www.cfif.org), where this commentary originally appeared.