Issues & Insights

Want Real Economic ‘Stimulus’? End Economy-Killing Lockdowns Now

Californians protest state's lockdowns. Photo: Russ Allison Loar, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

I&I Editorial

Congressional negotiators, we’re told, are inching ever closer to a deal for what’s being called a “second round of stimulus spending.” Sorry, but what’s planned has nothing to do with supercharging the economy. Want to really “stimulate” growth? End the foolish COVID-19 lockdowns that have decimated small businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The sound you’ll no doubt soon be hearing is hundreds of Washington, D.C., politicians and policymakers clapping themselves on the back for the pending stimulus package.

As it now stands, the $900 billion-plus deal is likely to include “direct payments to all Americans, funding for vaccine rollout and delivery, and an extension of unemployment benefits as well as much-needed aid to small businesses,” according to The Week.

But this is not “stimulus” by any means. It is the economic equivalent of putting a dying patient on life support.

So call this bill what it is. Government relief for a problem the government itself caused through mandated lockdowns.

Sure, an argument can be made that relief is necessary while we reopen amid a massive vaccination campaign. But this, the second major COVID-19 bill to emerge from Washington since last March, will not stimulate economic growth and more hiring. Only opening our economy will do that.

The distinction is important, not merely a semantic game. Because politicians, particularly Democrats, want to pretend that they can keep the economy shut down while applying “stimulus” from the nation’s capital, and that’s how we’ll emerge from our slump.

It’s the old Keynesian fallacy writ large. That government spending boosts the economy. It’s false. It’s the functional equivalent of transferring money from one pocket to the next and pretending you now have more money to spend. You’ve been “stimulated.”

Not true. A major study of U.S. economic data under COVID-19 published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in November concluded that “that traditional macroeconomic tools – stimulating aggregate demand or providing liquidity to businesses – have diminished capacity to restore employment when consumer spending is constrained by health concerns.”

Just as bad, the same study found that the Paycheck Protection Program spent an average of $377,000 for each job saved, and that school closures were seriously damaging the future income prospects of low-income minority students.

“Borrowing money to send everyone a little check may sound clever to myopic politicians,” notes Cato Institute senior fellow and economist Alan Reynolds. “But it is morally indefensible because it does nothing address to the problem of helping those injured by the pandemic itself or by related state‐​mandated business restrictions and stay‐​at‐​home orders.”

In short, targeted aid to those who have lost jobs and businesses would be better than mass mailings of checks to all Americans. Contrary to what the nanny-state lockdown politicians say, we’re not all in this together.

What concerns us most of all is that stimulus bills and other phony efforts at reviving the economy are likely to lead to egregious new policies that will wreck not just the U.S., but the global economy as well.

Already, policymakers view the COVID-19 pandemic not as a tragedy, but as a massive opportunity to increase the size of government, raise taxes to stratospheric levels, and limit long-cherished freedoms for people around the world.

They’re arguing for a “Great Reset,” in which global bureaucratic and political elites, along with corporations closely tied to governments, will make the world’s economic decisions – not free markets, not supply and demand. This is no mere conspiracy idea; it’s well on its way.

“COVID-19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects is only intensifying,” the highly influential globalists at the World Economic Forum warned last summer. “There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable.”

Their answer? “The changes we have already seen in response to COVID-19 prove that a reset of our economic and social foundations is possible.”

Scary words, to be sure. But the way out isn’t to have “stimulus” after “stimulus,” while government exerts greater and greater control and hands-on management of the economy and our daily lives.

The new COVID-19 vaccines provide an enormous opportunity to get back on track, to reopen our businesses and provide genuine stimulus, the kind that can come only by ending the devastating lockdowns that have hammered both the U.S. and world economy. The COVID-19 recession will end only when small-business growth and entrepreneurialism revive, and when millions of now-idle workers return to productive employment, rather than staying home and collecting “stimulus” checks.

No more Keynesian “stimulus,” no more socialist “Great Reset.” Want your business or your job back? Demand that your local politicians end the lockdowns now.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

9 comments

  • McConnell and his fellow RINO filth had to be dragged kicking and screaming to give the folks a measly $600 in this Wall St. bailout. I`ll never support the GOP again…if you`re not part of the MAGA Party you won`t get my support.

  • Hopefully, the Kennedy Center can get another $25 million and then lay off the rest of their workers. All the usual suspects, meaning Democrat donors, will get most of this money, which we just keep printing.

  • The longer the dictators delay removing the lockdowns, the more dramatic the recovery will be, thus making President Harris appear to be an economic wizard. Sickening.

  • After all frontline medical providers get vaccinated, they should vaccinate the most vulnerable among us. When the most vulnerable have been vaccinated, they’re free to end the lockdowns.

    Any deviation from the above would indicate that those imposing the lockdowns have a secret agenda.

    • @julianrpe said: “How dare RCP make this their headline, while over 3,000 Americans are losing their lives daily.”

      First, it’s more like 1,500 daily. The weekend deaths get reported Mon-Wed, making the peaks look higher.

      Second, after 9 months of disinformation and literal suppression of studies that “might make the Orange man look good,” we finally have carefully controlled peer reviewed studies being published in highly respected journals of both Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine used as prophylactic and / or treatment. Both reduce infections, infection severity, hospitalizations if infected, and deaths. Ivermectin in combination with doxycycline taken prophylactically provides near immunity, and if taken in treatment reduces hospitalization and death by as much as 84%.

      That means that Democrats in office in this country are guilty of the mass murder of at least 200,000 Americans simply for political power.

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