It almost goes without saying that Democrats were never going to agree to a fresh economic stimulus package before the presidential election. Had Joe Biden not been presumed the winner of that election, it’s a fairly good bet that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would still be doing everything she could to prevent additional economic relief from getting to American individuals and businesses. Now it seems Congress is on the cusp of passing a $1.4 trillion spending bill to keep the government open, with some $900 billion in COVID relief all but settled. What kind of economic stimulus would be fair, though?
Democrats in Congress have focused mostly on getting huge sums of money to the States. Big-spending state governments always saw the pandemic as the perfect excuse to squeeze billions of dollars out of the federal government to get themselves out of the financial holes they dug well before the coronavirus came along.
Ordinary Americans – employees and small business owners alike – have borne the brunt of the COVID restrictions imposed by governors, state legislatures, and city councils. Their tax dollars are now being haggled over on Capitol Hill – and it is directly back to those individuals and small business owners that the money should be flowing.
The state, county, and city governments shut down the economies in their respective jurisdictions. Do these elected and unelected officials, then, deserve a bailout paid for with the tax-dollars of the very people whose prosperity they destroyed?
There is talk of another issue of stimulus checks being included in this new bill. The figure tossed around, though not confirmed, is $600 for an individual. That provision of the bill is due mainly to the efforts of Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Six hundred dollars is an insultingly small sum, though, considering what the average American has been put through over the last eight or nine months in the name of protecting people from a virus with a 99% survival rate.
What would a truly fair stimulus package look like, then? It would include a check for several thousand dollars for every American. After all, this wouldn’t be a handout; it would be returning to people the money that was theirs to begin with.
In addition, small business owners deserve full compensation for the monetary damages inflicted upon them by state and local governments, not in the form of loans or grants or “economic relief” handed down to them by oh-so-generous state governments, but via direct payments from the federal government. That way, state lawmakers and bureaucrats would not get their grubby little hands on the money first.
As for those state and local governments themselves, they shouldn’t get a penny because, like children, politicians should at some point be taught accountability. Back in 2008, Democrats, in particular, were outraged by the idea of bailing Wall Street out. Their argument was that the very people who allegedly caused the economic crash did not deserve to be rescued by the American taxpayer. That basic premise is commendable and logical – and it is for that very reason that state and city officials should not be getting any more stimulus money now. If there are never any negative consequences for their bad behavior, they will never modify that behavior – and, as usual, regular Americans will continue to pay the price.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.