Commentary

Biden’s Newest Welfare Benefit: Taxpayer-Funded Lawsuits

By Stewart Whitson | December 7, 2021 | 12:42pm EST
Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Americans across the country are working overtime, covering shifts, and manning multiple positions to pick up the slack during our worker shortage crisis. Prices are going up. It’s getting harder to keep gas in the tank and put food on the table. Many Americans are tired and at the end of their rope.

And what is President Joe Biden’s response? He’s taking more money out of their pockets and giving it to wealthy left-wing lawyers to fund a barrage of frivolous lawsuits supporting the growing list of welfare programs American workers are already forced to finance — the very programs keeping their former colleagues at home.

Given the Biden Administration’s recent unprecedented and unlawful expansion of welfare, it’s not surprising that the president has announced the creation of yet another welfare benefit: civil legal services.

This new policy will lead to a wave of costly lawsuits conveniently attacking states with whom the president is at odds, and benefiting only the current administration and its lackeys while harming those it claims to help.

President Ronald Reagan said, “we should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many people are added.” Yet the current administration seems set on adding as many people as possible and fighting anyone who stands in the way.

Under the guise of “expanding access to justice,” a group co-chaired by Attorney General Merrick Garland and White House Counsel Dana Remus has been created. They have already released a new report titled, “Access to Justice in the Age of COVID-19.” The report outlines their plan to increase access to taxpayer-funded attorneys to help address what the administration characterizes as “major national challenges.”

The title of the report is telling.

In the eyes of the current administration, we are in “the Age of COVID-19,” a new reality with no clear end in sight. One can only hope that the “COVID Age” won’t outlast the other ages that have come before it — the Bronze Age lasted 1,500 years.

As many Americans are seeing firsthand, one of the most pressing COVID-19 challenges in America today is the plummeting labor force participation rate — that is, folks in the work force.  That rate is now the lowest it has been in 45 years. And you can be certain that free government lawyers charged with keeping people on welfare isn’t going to fix that problem. It’s going to make it worse.

Governors and state legislatures across the country, recognizing the economic harms caused by lockdowns, mandates, and other draconian measures, will need to step up even more to halt the handouts where they can. States like Florida, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, have experienced firsthand the economic benefits of helping people return to work.

In response to a slew of court decisions that have begun to push back against the administration’s unilateral welfare expansion efforts and unconstitutional overreach, the president will raise an army of federally funded, left-wing lawyers to wage battle in the courts.

Here’s how the president’s plan will work. Federal taxpayer dollars will be directed by the Biden Administration to legal aid groups aligned with the president with instructions to use those funds to bring lawsuits against states, and even landlords and employers, to strongarm them into providing welfare benefits they would otherwise deny. According to the group’s report, these benefits will include more stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, rental and mortgage assistance, consumer debt relief, and more.

But his plan raises serious concerns.

From where will the funding needed to pay for this plan come, and with which groups, specifically, will the Biden Administration “strategically” collaborate? What other “major national challenges” will the administration task this new army of lawyers to tackle through costly litigation? 

The answers to these questions remain unclear.

As Americans grapple with the challenges of inflation and a worker shortage crisis, the Biden Administration continues to find ways to make matters worse. If President Reagan was right, that the proper measure for the success of a welfare program is the number of people the program helps to free from government dependence, then President Biden’s newest welfare benefit is a clear, dismal failure.

Stewart Whitson is a legal affairs fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

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