Joe Biden And Liberty
Both The Club For Growth and The Cato Institute are out today with analyses of Joe Biden’s position on economic issues of importance to libertarians and, as you might suspect, it’s not good.
Here are the highlights and lowlights of Biden’s voting record on trade:
On the positive side from a free trade perspective, he voted consistently to maintain normal trade relations with China, including permanent NTR in 2000; for the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico in 1993; for the Uruguay Round Agreements Act in 1994; for the Freedom to Farm Act in 1996; for fast-track trade promotion authority in 1998; to defund enforcement of the travel ban to Cuba; to cut sugar production subsidies; and in favor of the Morocco and Australian free trade agreements in 2004.
On the negative side for those who support the freedom to trade, Biden voted for steel import quotas in 1999; for the 2002 and 2008 protective and subsidy laden farm bills; against trade promotion authority in 2002; against the Chile, Singapore, Oman, and Dominican Republic-Central American FTAs; in favor of the Byrd amendment directing anti-dumping booty to complaining companies; in favor of imposing steep tariffs on imports from China to force changes in that country’s currency regime; and in favor of screening of 100 percent income shipping containers by 2012.
For a senator who prides himself on his foreign policy experience, Biden’s record shows great ambivalence about American participation in the global economy.
The Club for Growth, meanwhile, takes a look at Biden’s positions on a number of economic issues:
“Over his thirty-five years in Washington, Senator Biden has been a reflexive liberal on every single economic issue,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Whether the issue is taxes, spending, regulation, or school choice, Senator Biden has voted consistently for more taxes, more spending, more government, and less freedom and choice. Taxpayers can expect more of the same from the Obama-Biden ticket—more government, less prosperity.”
A few examples:
Joe Biden on Taxes:
- Voted for President Clinton’s tax hike (RC #247, 1993)
- Voted against repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax (RC #261, 1999)
- Voted against eliminating the marriage penalty (RC #79, 2001)
- Voted against the 2001 tax cuts (RC# 170, 2001)
- Voted against repealing the Death Tax (RC #151, 2002) (RC #109, 2007)
- Voted against a repeal of the 1993 tax increase on Social Security benefits (RC #94, 2003)
- Voted against the 2003 Bush tax cuts (RC #196, 2003)
- Voted for a 50% windfall profits tax on oil profits (RC #331, 2005)
- Voted against extending the 2001 tax cuts (RC #118, 2006) (RC #107, 2007)
Joe Biden on Spending:
- Voted for the Farm Bill in 2002 and 2008 (RC #103, 2002) (RC #130, 2008)
- Voted in favor of the Bridge to Nowhere (RC #262, 2005)
- Voted against capping spending (RC #286, 2005)
- Voted to kill a resolution stating a moral obligation to offset new spending with spending cuts (RC #140, 2007)
- Voted for the expanded SCHIP bill (RC #307, 2007)
- Voted against an earmark moratorium (RC #75, 2008)
- Voted to override President Bush’s veto of the Farm Bill (RC #140, 2008)
- Was declared Porker of the Month by Citizens Against Government Waste in January 2002
Joe Biden on Regulation:
- Voted for the burdensome Sarbanes-Oxley legislation (RC #192, 2002)
- Voted against exempting small businesses from Sarbanes-Oxley (RC #139, 2007)
- Voted for a minimum wage hike (RC #257, 2005)
- Voted for the “card check” bill—stripping workers of their right to a secret ballot when voting to form a union (RC #227, 2007)
- Voted to kill the Davis Bacon waiver (RC #334, 2007)
Joe Biden on School Choice:
- Voted against a vouchers program for DC schools (RC #260, 1997)
- Voted against school choice for low-income earners (RC #179, 2001)
Joe Biden on Political Free Speech:
Voted for McCain-Feingold (RC #64, 2001)
Not surprising for a liberal Democrat, of course, but yet another indication that there really isn’t anything about an Obama/Biden Administration that libertarians should look forward to.