Coronavirus Stimulus Package Spurs Partisan Arguments

Coronavirus Stimulus Package Spurs Partisan Arguments

Coronavirus Stimulus Package Spurs Partisan Arguments

Last night, the U.S. Senate had a marathon debate before they voted on the third Coronavirus Stimulus package. This one is a whopping $2 trillion. The debate was carried on C-Span-2. One thing is for sure, not one Senator seemed to understand that, while Americans are generous and we understand that this is an unprecedented crisis, it’s our money they are throwing around. It was pure torture to watch.

The first two Coronavirus Stimulus packages are covered here.

The Wall Street Journal covered this with a post titled, “Coronavirus Stimulus Package Hits Last-Minute Snags”. That’s quite a genteel way to describe what I saw on the screen.

This biggest argument was the provision to “supercharge” unemployment insurance. As the WSJ noted:

Eligible U.S. residents must have a work-eligible social security number to receive such a check and must not be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, according to Senate documents. Unlike an earlier proposal crafted by Senate Republicans, the payments won’t be set at a lower level for some low-income Americans.

The checks will be available to those who have no income as well as people who rely on income benefit programs, such as supplemental security income from the Social Security Administration.

Those payments would be in addition to a broad expansion in unemployment benefits, which would be extended to nontraditional employees, including gig workers and freelancers. The agreement is set to increase current unemployment assistance by $600 a week for four months.

So for example, take Delaware (since Senator Tom Carper, D-Delaware was complaining about Republicans not wanting to pay the extra money). In Delaware, unemployment insurance pays $400.00 per week. That works out to $10.00 per hour. If you get an extra $600.00 per week, that works out to $25.00 per hour. Carper was confused about the math. Don’t ask. Instead of getting $1600.00 per month, an unemployed person would get $4000.00 per month, plus ancillary unemployment benefits.

Senator Ted Cruz pointed out that this might be a disincentive to go back to work, if this crisis resolves itself in less than four months. Lawd a’ mercy. You would have thought Cruz wanted to murder babies in the womb. Senator “Dick” Durbin claimed that Cruz was making a moral judgement on those who were out of work. No. He was saying they were making a rational judgement.

Incentives work both ways. If you are offered more money to stay home, it is rational to stay home rather than go to work. If you will make more money by going to work, you will go to work. The money in this Coronavirus Bill is our money.

Of course, that nasty, old Socialist Bernie Sanders had to use this moment to pontificate:

Corporate welfare, student loans! The Universe is collapsing. Bernie erroneously said that this Coronavirus Stimulus Package would allow corporations to use funds to buy back stocks or further compensate executives. No, Bernie, that was the Obama Stimulus Package in 2009.

In the end, after Democrats called Republicans everything but children of God, the Senators voted 96-0 to approve the package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was overjoyed:

“This is not even a stimulus package. It is emergency relief. Emergency relief. That’s what this is,” McConnell said Wednesday afternoon ahead of the vote.

Taking a victory lap after the vote, McConnell noted that the Senate had gone from a deeply partisan impeachment trial to an overwhelming bipartisan 96-0 vote in the span of the two months.

“This is a proud moment for the United States Senate and for the country, and we’re going to win this battle in the very near future,” he said.

The whispers in Washington, D.C. are that this $2 trillion package is not enough. The politicians are already planning to dip into our future great-grandchildren’s pockets to come back for more. This pandemic is serious. Corporations, small businesses and working people are all hurting. But, where on Earth are we ever to get this money?

The third Coronavirus Stimulus Package now goes back to the House for debate. You can bet that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York bartender Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will cast aspersions on Republicans and try to add in more spending.

Featured Image:

Losing Hand“Losing Hand” by Damian Gadal is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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2 Comments
  • Politically Ambidextrous says:

    “But, where on Earth are we ever to get this money?”

    Assume we just don’t print it (inflation anyone? i.e. as more money chases fewer goods in a shutdown economy), we will borrow it from China. Ironic that this is the same place the virus originated and the country that is racing us to restore their economy so they can supply the markets they’ve decimated around the world.

  • Scott says:

    “The whispers in Washington, D.C. are that this $2 trillion package is not enough.” … Whispers hell, Chuckie Schumer came right out and said that Covid 4 is coming..

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