Tuesday, March 17, 2020

GOP Outsources Wuhan Virus Response to Pelosi. There is a Better Way

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
All of our vital products might be made in China, but all of the GOP policy decisions are now made by Nancy Pelosi. Not only do Republicans, including the president, give in to every Pelosi spending bill, they are now allowing her to use a public health crisis to increase spending on welfare even more without getting anything in return to address the underlying security problems with China that have caused this crisis in the first place.
It’s truly shocking how Democrats are able to consistently get nearly 100 percent of what they want in any critical legislative fight, even though they only control the House. Late on Friday, all but 55 Republicans supported the Pelosi bill, which increases spending on food stamps, unemployment benefits, and Medicaid and requires businesses to provide paid family leave (but only certain companies). This is on top of suspending student loan interest “until further notice” aka indefinitely and the Federal Reserve pumping more monetary morphine into the economy. There is no CBO score estimating how much this will cost nor any idea how this will help save lives and heal the economy while dealing with the source of the China virus problem.
At some point, if Republicans can’t provide a bold alternative, we need to ask: Why even have a Republican Party? Republicans talk tough against the Democrats whenever it doesn’t matter, but every time the ball is actually in play to pass major legislation during our most challenging moments, they sign on to whatever the Democrats want.
Which leads us to the most salient question in this debate. It seem like Democrats, congressional Republicans, and President Trump all agree that spending and debt are risk-free and that it’s great for the economy and will somehow solve a biological problem. So why stop at this price tag? Why not pass a trillion-dollar bill? A two-trillion-dollar bill? Why not mail a $10,000 check to every American family? They are telling us the debt is somehow not a problem, so why not spend even more for an even greater “stimulus”?
What is so bizarre about this “stimulus” bill is that this is not even like the 2008 financial crisis. This is a logistical problem because cities are shutting down all public gatherings. Kids are off school, so even those whose places of employment are still operational cannot go to work. It’s a matter of getting rid of the virus, and more importantly, the fear surrounding it, and then the economy will go back to normal over time. At that point we can assess the damage done by these weeks of curtailed economic activity. But until then, paying people to stay home will only incentivize and draw out the problem.
Also, any response to this crisis should be universal, focusing on the needs of the whole of the people in terms of health care access and access to the supply chain of food and provisions. Thus, it should focus on de-regulation, not just welfare or provisions for certain businesses. The Democrat bill would give the USDA $1 billion on top of record funding for major food programs to increase monthly food stamp benefits. It would also put in place plans to fund and deliver school breakfast and lunch, day-care meals, and summer food programs during school cancellations. The bill also adds $500 million to the already-record funding levels of the WIC program.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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