The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to approve President Joe Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion relief package on Friday in a party-line vote. (Unity!) Democrats are marketing the proposal as a Covid-19 relief measure, and unsurprisingly, the powerful elite are lining up to back it. But less than 10% of the $1.9 trillion bill is actually for public health. Here’s how the rest would be distributed:
Beyond the non-Covid related pork inserted into the bill, such $1.5 million for a bridge connecting New York and Canada, $1 billion for “racial justice” for farmers, and $50 billion for “environmental justice” grants, here are the three biggest problems with it:
- The measure gives elementary and secondary schools another $129 billion, whether they reopen for in-person classroom learning or not. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget office noted that Congress already provided some $113 billion for schools—and “most of those funds remain to be spent.” Every parent in America must be made aware that Congress is trying to give schools more money without requiring they reopen for in-person learning. In effect, this bill rewards teachers’ unions for keeping schools closed.
- The bill rewards Blue States for mandating widespread shutdowns by attaching bailout funding to unemployment rates instead of populations. This means states like New York and California get rewarded for bad policy decisions that led to high unemployment rates, while states like South Dakota get punished for keeping the economy open. Worse, the measure disincentivizes Americans from getting back to work by offering a $400 bonus federal unemployment weekly benefit on top of regular unemployment benefits, causing an estimated 53% of Americans to get a raise from being unemployed. That is unfair to taxpayers fronting the cost and harmful to our nation’s economic recovery.
- The nonpartisan CBO projected a few weeks ago that the U.S. economy will bounce back to its pre-pandemic size by the middle of the year without any emergency stimulus. To ram through a historically massive spending bill chalk full of non-covid relief spending measures, including a minimum wage hike, would add to our federal deficit for decades to come and bring more economic hardship to mom-and-pop shops and small restaurants already struggling to survive. (Does the wild success of the Barstool Sports fund not depict the extent to which small restaurants are suffering?) The “relief” measure might be well-intended, but without it our economy is expected to recover. Therefore, a smaller, more temporary and targeted relief bill is how Congress should move forward, if another relief bill is even necessary at all.