When not trying desperately to damage Republicans by keeping the Jan. 6 riot on the front page, the New York Times bravely does public relations work for the Biden administration. The latest case in point is the pathetic attempt by the “paper of record” to defend the misguided, unjustified, inflation-fueling $2 trillion “American Rescue Plan.”
The article — “If Biden’s Plan Is Like a ‘New Deal,’ Why Don’t Voters Care?” — claims that Joe Biden’s big problem right now is that voters don’t know how much they’re benefiting from his March 2021 “rescue” plan.
But despite a valiant attempt to put lipstick on a pig, the report ends up making the case for how badly voters got hoodwinked.
The story focuses on the $350 billion the bill dumped on state and local governments and begins by telling the story of how Richmond, Va., plans to spend tens of millions in “rescue” funds to upgrade a community center and how excited the mayor is about this project.
“The city,” reporter Alexander Burns writes, “intends to build it in the next few years using $20 million from the American Rescue Plan.”
Wait. In the next few years?
Wasn’t the “American Rescue Plan” an emergency plan that Biden said was needed to save the economy from impending doom?
That seems lost on Burns, who writes, without any sense of how ludicrous the statement is, that “thirteen months after Mr. Biden signed the emergency package, that money is starting to fuel a wave of investment on city infrastructure, public services and pilot programs unlike any in decades.”
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has been tracking the nearly $6 trillion in COVID relief money approved over the past two years and finds that more than $800 billion of it still hasn’t even been committed or dispersed. To put that in perspective, Obama’s entire stimulus bill was priced at $831 billion.
Burns goes on to point out that even when state and local governments get the money, they can’t spend it very fast because “the money must make its way through city councils and contract-bidding processes.”
Then there’s the fact that state and local governments didn’t need Biden’s “rescue” money because the economy had already rebounded so quickly, leaving them awash in tax revenues.
“Government revenues surged across much of the country, and governors of once-beleaguered states, like California and Minnesota, announced proposals to give residents tax cuts or one-time rebates,” Burns writes.
But instead of acknowledging the utter stupidity of “emergency relief” that state and local governments didn’t need and will take years to spend, Burns laments that “ambivalence among voters stems partly from the fact that many of the projects being funded are, for now, invisible.”
And he manages to leave readers entirely in the dark as to the problem at the core of Biden’s “rescue” plan. Namely that the economy didn’t need rescuing at all.
Burns writes that “Mr. Biden’s popularity has declined in polls over the past year, and voters are giving him less credit for the country’s economic recovery than his advisers had anticipated.”
Perhaps that’s because Biden had nothing to do with the recovery, and voters know it.
As we’ve pointed out in this space many times, the economy roared back after the pointless COVID lockdowns, and GDP had all but fully recovered by the time Biden signed his massive spending bill into law. Unemployment was plunging — much faster than expected — and would have gone down faster still were it not for the Democrats’ continued push for lockdowns, restrictions, vaccine mandates, and generous unemployment bonuses.
Burns admits that “getting voters excited about the American Rescue Plan is a tall order when so many are preoccupied with the price of gasoline and the cost and availability of other basic goods — concerns the emergency-spending bill was not designed to address.”
But he also fails to make clear to readers that the “rescue” bill is itself the primary driver of inflation — just as economists such as Larry Summers had predicted — whatever benefits the spending provided inflation is clawing back.
So, while trying so hard to gin up support for Biden and his “rescue” plan, Alexander Burns and the Times still managed to show that the spending wasn’t needed for projects no one will notice, and fueled inflation, which is what people really care about.
In other words, there’s no mystery whatsoever as to why people don’t care about Biden’s “new deal.”
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board