House Democrats just unveiled a mammoth $3 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package that’s full of increased spending sure to hold back economic progress and push our nation further into unsustainable debt.
Dubbed the Heroes Act, this 1,815-page bill is meant to be CARES Act 2.0 in that it increases spending for coronavirus testing and hospitals, expands unemployment benefits, delivers more stimulus checks, increases welfare programs, and has a host of other giveaways to everyone from farmers to the marijuana industry. It also includes a laundry list of liberal priorities.
Here are just 5 bad proposals in the new Heroes Act:
- Extending the $600 boost to unemployment benefits. As I write about today on FoxBusiness.com, the additional $600 unemployment benefit on top of what workers qualify for from their states has delivered some workers bigger checks than they earned when working. This creates a disincentive to work and will make it harder for employers to get their employees back on the job. (read more)
- Another, bigger stimulus check to Americans. Families would receive another direct payment of a $1,200 refundable tax credit per adult for those earning up to $75,000 per year as a single filer ($2,400 for a couple earning up to $150,000) plus $1,200 per child or dependent (up to 3). The CARES Act only provided $500 per child. A family of four could get $4,800 this time around compared to $3,400 previously.
- Restoring the SALT deduction. Congress would repeal the $10,000 cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions, which is a big benefit for high-tax (left-leaning) states and high-income households. The SALT deduction encourages states to levy higher taxes on wealthier taxpayers by reminding them that they can deduct these taxes from their federal tax obligations. (read more)
- Bailing out states. States, cities, territories, and tribes would receive a combined $910 billion – just shy of the $1 trillion they’ve been demanding – to help them with budget shortfalls. Nevermind that some states went into the coronavirus pandemic in bad fiscal shape to begin with while others had been saving for a rainy day. This would be a bailout to those states who ran up bills by expanding programs but neglecting to address unfunded liabilities. (read more)
- Bailing out the Postal Service. Keeping USPS alive is a perennial favorite of the left because of its unionized workforce. However, giving it $25 billion to cover lost revenue enables the feeble delivery service which still struggles to compete with its far more efficient competitors who have done well in delivering on the online spending spike during the coronavirus.
The first two items paired with other generous funding such as a $100 billion emergency rental assistance program for cities and states and increased nutrition spending, and the suspension of work requirements for welfare programs, create powerful disincentives for Americans to return to work.
We don’t want any person to go hungry or homeless. Private charity has been stepping up in amazing ways from day one to pay rents and mortgages or feed families during these times. The stories underscoring how we are #inthistogether are amazing.
Helping the over 30 million Americans who have been unemployed due to no fault of their own or whose businesses have been shuttered because of government-mandated closures is understandable.
However, the best stimulus plan is work. Instead of dependency on a government payment, individuals do want to get back to providing for themselves and their families. Washington should be encouraging that ethos.
Not only will it help workers, but the businesses which employ them, especially those which received stimulus loans. For small business loans to be converted to grants, employers must rehire their workers by the summer. That’s difficult to do if some workers don’t want to come back because they are “earning” more by remaining at home.
Democrats plan to vote on the bill quickly (as early as tomorrow) with little time for members to comb through all of the provisions. This makes it quite likely that many provisions will sneak in without anyone noticing until it’s too late.
At IWF we maintain that any stimulus aid should be targeted, temporary and flexible. The federal government has already provided four stimulus aid packages during this pandemic that aids workers, families, hospitals, and businesses.
Before Congress knows just what works and how much of the previous about $3 trillion dollars has been spent, it is ill-advised that they push through even more spending, but that’s the game plan. What’s likely to result are a host of wasteful spending and unintended consequences which could hurt an economic recovery.