Passage of the enormous COVID-19 “stimulus” bill is being hailed as a landmark effort to help average Americans heal from the economic ravages of the Chinese virus. It is nothing of the sort. Passed in the dead of night, it’s a pork-filled nightmare that will lead to more debt, bigger government and a dimmer future for all Americans.
The redoubtable Stephen Green did the basic math. Based on a U.S. population of roughly 330 million, the $900 billion stimulus amounts to $2,727 in spending per person.
OK, but how much of that goes into people’s pockets? A pittance: $600.
Yet, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi committed the unforgivable sin of holding up those $600 checks for struggling American families in order to hurt President Donald Trump’s reelection chances. This is politics at its most cynical and is a prime example why average Americans today hold politicians in such low esteem.
All told, the bill for this sprawling legislation comes to $2.3 trillion — yes, that’s trillion with a “t”. Add that into Green’s earlier calculation, and the amount spent per household grows to $6,969.
Sure, but all that is going to COVID-19 relief for individuals and small businesses, right? No, not even close – $1.4 trillion from the Consolidated Appropriations Act is dedicated to the federal government’s fiscal 2021 budget.
It was all cobbled together in the last hours of closed-doornegotiations, focused on getting massive servings of pork spending and new, useless government programs added, not on COVID-19 relief. That was just the selling point to all us rubes.
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests while spending the bare minimum on the American people who need it,” Trump said late Tuesday. “It wasn’t their fault.”
He called the bill a “disgrace,” and said the $600 should be $2,000, and will likely send the bill back to Congress.
He’s right to do so. The bill put forward was a disgrace, a made-in-Washington, D.C. disgrace.
Here are just a few of the items contained in this massive spending bill that caught our eye (hat tip to PJ Media’s Bryan Preston and Victoria Taft, New York Times money columnist Ron Lieber, Grabien Media’s Tom Eliott, along with many others, for these examples):
- $65 million for “Pacific Coastal Salmon recovery.”
- $700 million for the government of Sudan, $135 million to Burma, $85.5 million to Cambodia and $1.4 billion for something called the “Asia Reassurance Initiative Act.” Oh yes, don’t forget the $130 million to Nepal and $10 million to Pakistan for “gender programs.”
- $1.5 million for the House Appropriation Committee’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, along with a whopping $177.2 million for “receptions.”
- $89.6 million for “maintenance and furniture” in Senate offices.
- $15 billion to airlines to take care of their employees for the next four months.
- $193 million to buy new cars for federal HIV/AIDs workers overseas.
- As much as $1,800 each for family members of illegal immigrants excluded from the last COVID-19 relief bill.
- $130 million for “invasive species” assessment, mitigation and reductions.
The bill also creates a special committee to regulate performance enhancing drugs given to racehorses, provides funds to investigate the “1908 Springfield Race Riot,” creates a Climate Security Advisory Council, initiates funding for new national women’s and Latino history museums, gives more money to keep teenagers from drinking and hooking up, and gives another boatload of cash to the Kennedy Center.
We could go on and on, but you get the picture. This bill will expand and enrich big government at the expense of working taxpayers. Meanwhile, it does little to help genuine COVID-19 victims. Congress should be ashamed of itself, but shame long ago left the building.
The amount of spending is shocking, and will push our total debt to far more than $28 trillion. But very little of what’s spent is going to help actual working men and women who have suffered from the government-enforced shutdowns of our nation’s economy.
As we noted the bill is more than 5,000 pages long. Virtually no one in Congress read it all, since it was slapped together by a handful of people with little or no input from members. They had to pass it to find out what’s in it, as Pelosi likes to say, the very worst kind of lawmaking.
“In a year where a lot of things went wrong, add this omnibus (spending bill) to the list,” the Heritage Foundation noted, perhaps with a bit of understatement.
And the truth is, as we noted earlier this week, the economy is already in a strong recovery, no thanks to phony stimulus programs or the mandated shutdowns of the economy by elected officials. More lockdowns and senseless government spending won’t help. There are genuinely desperate people out there who deserve help. This bill doesn’t do it.
The best way to keep the current growth going for the future would be to continue vaccinating people and reopen the private-sector economy. Let Americans get back to work.
In the meantime, handing out small amounts of cash to taxpayers while expanding government and adding lots of new regulations, layers of government and trillions of debt to our national ledger aren’t even remotely stimulus. They’re anti-stimulus.
Americans were sold a bill of goods, promised COVID-19 relief but given an enormous pork-filled, debt-expanding disaster instead. Are we too harsh in calling this gigantic spending bill a fraud? All we can say is such behavior would get you jailed in the private sector. But it gets you re-elected by gullible voters in the political world.
If no changes are made to this bad bill, Trump would be right to veto it. In doing so, he would restore a modicum of restraint and honesty to our federal government.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board