With the COVID-19 relief bill now signed into law, it can’t be any clearer that Americans have had the wool pulled over their eyes on what this really was all about. Far from “COVID relief,” the mantra of the far-left Democrats, it was really all about “Blue State” relief.
That’s right, in case you haven’t been paying attention, the bill that many Americans thought would bring them fat checks and some reprieve from their government-induced lockdown woes has turned into a giant Christmas tree surrounded by goodies for Democrat-run Blue States and their Big Labor allies.
As we’ve pointed out here, here, here and elsewhere in recent weeks, the $1.9 trillion virus relief bill wasn’t even needed. The economy has already been bouncing back sharply, while most states actually weathered last year’s downturn nicely. Some 22 states actually reported higher tax revenues during the pandemic than in the same period in 2019.
So why was it passed? Democrats knew it wasn’t needed, so they used this crisis — remember, their unofficial party motto is “never let a crisis go to waste” — for an unparalleled expansion of the size and scope of government.
Looked at another way, the $1,400 checks handed out to Americans were merely bribes. Democrats could have asked for much more for struggling families and those truly in need, but didn’t.
Why? They really don’t care about them, as the bill plainly shows.
First, let’s start with a stark fact: Just over 60% of the $1.9 trillion in spending goes to outlays unconnected to COVID, but are directly linked to paying off faithful Democratic constituencies: Blue State governors, Big City mayors, Big Labor, Big Education (teachers and their unions) and government workers, who all so faithfully support the Democratic Party that they might as well be an arm of it.
The breakdown is as follows: Only 9% for COVID-19 mitigation, and 30% for one-time checks and extended unemployment benefits. That’s it.
“The rest,” as the American Spectator points out, “will go to Blue State bailouts, funding for school systems that remain closed, kickbacks to unions, new subsidies for Obamacare, and exorbitant financing for innumerable pet progressive projects.”
So calling it “COVID-19 relief” is, well, false in any generally accepted meaning of the term.
By far, the most mendacious aspect of the non-COVID spending is the $350 billion bailout for states, cities and Native American tribes. As we noted, the money isn’t even really needed.
“We now know states didn’t suffer the heavy revenue blows they expected in 2020,” noted Wirepoints, a research group. “Trillions in federal relief funds led to a surge in personal incomes, buttressing tax collections. As a result, overall state tax revenues across the country in calendar year 2020 declined less than 1% compared to calendar year 2019. That’s a far cry from the combined 12% drop in revenues originally projected for FY 2021.”
Wirepoints estimates that, for fiscal 2020, 44 states ran surpluses totaling an estimated $105 billion. Meanwhile, nearly $150 billion in funds from last year’s “relief” bills hasn’t even been touched. Bloomberg estimates that the total money sent to bail out the states will exceed their deficits by six times.
Public education, which essentially has been shuttered for a year, gets $129 billion, even though much of the $31 billion it was given in March of 2020 and the $82 billion it received in December’s relief remain unspent. Meanwhile, American kids are still locked out of their schools.
The only winners will be teachers unions and administrators, not students, who still face inadequate Zoom classes, social isolation, boredom and even clinical depression, thanks to union intransigence. Please remember that the next time they tell you “it’s about the kids.”
Also in the soup line are government workers. Federal employees get up to 15 weeks of “COVID-related” leave, worth a total of $21,000, through a special “Family Leave Account” funded at $570 million. That includes parents whose kids are enrolled in a school that hasn’t re-opened on a full-time basis. One question: Why aren’t you eligible for this benefit?
We could go on. The new law spends billions on Amtrak, foreign aid, illegal immigrant health care, and “bonuses” for state workers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ played the COVID crisis brilliantly, give them credit.
First, declare a national pandemic emergency, but only for 30 days. Then shut down the economy, close the schools, and mask everyone up indefinitely. Yell and scream about “science” to intimidate foes who think the lockdowns are excessive. Then, almost $4 trillion later, declare we need another $1.9 trillion.
You know, for “COVID relief” to help those “most in need,” as the saying goes.
In fact, the money will go largely to Democrat-dominated Blue States and Blue Megacities that routinely overspend, overtax, over-regulate business and are now hemorrhaging high-income citizens and jobs to other states. Red State citizens will pay for this partisan profligacy for decades to come. So will their children.
Talk about inequity. Telling Americans they would face steeper taxes for decades — not to save fellow citizens’ lives from a dreaded pandemic, but to line the pockets mainly of public workers and poorly run states and cities — would have at least been honest. Instead, Pelosi and her party performed a straight-up con, a fraud of epic proportions.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board