The COVID-19 relief bill being pushed by Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden fails to properly target aid to those in need, according to an editorial by the Washington Post.
Rather than “tak[ing] advantage of a crisis to advance other priorities,” the newspaper’s editorial board urges Democrats to provide relief “on the widest bipartisan basis possible.” This would also help Joe Biden fulfill his repeated, but seemingly empty, calls for unity.
The Post is right to point out that many of the provisions being proposed are not properly targeted to the COVID-19 economic and health crisis. Congress has already enacted over $4 trillion in aid, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Of this, $1 trillion is unspent and $900 billion was passed by lawmakers and signed into law less than two months ago.
Even former Clinton Treasury Secretary and Obama Chief Economic Adviser Larry Summers has expressed skepticism with Biden’s plan. Writing in The Washington Post, Summers argued that Mr. Biden’s stimulus plan is three to six times larger than the economic shortfall and that it will result in wasteful spending that threatens to cause future financial instability and unnecessary inflation.
Additionally, the American Enterprise Institute found that households are sitting on well over $1 trillion of savings. When the $600 stimulus checks were handed out, households with incomes above $78,000 saved $555 of their $600 check, spending just $45.
Similarly, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal saving as a percentage of income in 2020 was 16.4 percent, more than double the pre-pandemic rate in 2019, which was just 7.5 percent.
The Post is also correct to point out how Democrats are exploiting the crisis to push longheld progressive policies.
For instance, Congressional Democrats are attempting to push through a $15 minimum wage within the stimulus package. This policy not only does nothing to help the country during this crisis, but would further damage already-struggling businesses and cost jobs during a time of high unemployment. This addition to the stimulus package is clearly not presented as a solution to the economic downturn, but as a way for Democrats to answer to those who supported them: labor unions and the liberal base.
Biden’s plan also calls for a $350 billion bailout for state and local governments, funding which is entirely unnecessary and caters to the needs of blue states with bloated budgets and high taxes.
States do not need this aid as most have seen little or no negative budgetary impact because of the pandemic, with California reporting a $15 billion budget surplus.
In addition, as recently reported by the New York Times, Wisconsin expects to have money to contribute to its rainy-day fund, Maryland has increased its revenue projections, and Minnesota expects a surplus. In all, state collections declined just 4.4 percent through September compared to the first nine months of 2019, according to the Tax Foundation.
Congress has also already provided aid to states, including approximately $360 billion that directly went to state and local governments to help them respond to COVID-19.
In fact, even before the last $900 billion package, lawmakers had provided states and localities with 17 times their 2020 revenue loss and double their expected 2020 and 2021 loss, according to the Heritage Foundation.
With a House vote later this week on the bill, Democrats are attempting to rush this flawed bill through Congress on a party line basis. Several weeks ago, Democrats rejected virtually every thoughtful, Republican amendment to the bill. For example, Democrats rejected workplace safety assistance for small businesses, assistance for workers who lost their jobs due to President Biden ending the Keystone Pipeline project, doubling the child tax credit, HSA expansion to lower healthcare costs, and countless more.
While Biden came into office calling for unity, the first legislative act of Congressional Democrats is pushing through a partisan $1.9 trillion proposal. It is significant that even the Washington Post editorial board sees that this relief bill is about furthering the far left agenda, not providing targeted, effective relief to American families and businesses in need.