President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress want to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill despite the COVID-19 pandemic improving rather than worsening. Experts are now warning that it may not do much “stimulating” after all.
A Feb. 25 opinion article by Casey B. Mulligan and Stephen Moore in The Wall Street Journal said that Biden’s relief package would cause between five and seven million fewer Americans to be employed over the course of the next six months.
Both men are well-versed on the subject of economics. Mulligan is an economics professor at the University of Chicago and was previously chief economist on former President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, while Moore serves as a co-chairman of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.
“The bill would create one of the largest expansions in government welfare benefits since the birth of the modern welfare state,” the experts said.
“In combination with December’s $900 billion package, the new bill would expand the safety net to include six months of weekly $400 bonus unemployment benefits on top of the normal weekly benefits, a $3,000-a-child tax credit, an expansion of food stamps and rental assistance, $2,000-a-person checks, and expanded health benefits.”
As a result, Americans would no longer be incentivized to work or even look for a job. In a reversal of work requirements dating back to the Clinton administration, the bill has “minimal requirements” that citizens must meet in order to qualify for the benefits.
For decades, Americans have at least needed to prove that they are actively searching for a job in order to qualify for unemployment payments. That requirement is largely reduced in this package.
In addition, the article identified another element of the relief package that could encourage Americans not to get back to work.
“Unlike wages and salaries earned from work, many of these benefits are tax-free,” Mulligan and Moore said. “So the after-tax equivalent of receiving a paycheck versus government benefits is even more tilted against working.”
The economists found that under Biden’s benefits package, at least 85 percent of households would be making more than they were with wages and salaries from their previous jobs.
Mulligan and Moore used Kansas as an example of just how insane Biden’s relief package is. According to the experts, a family in that state with two children and both parents unemployed would make the equivalent of $135,000 a year if you included Biden’s add-on package.
Granted, Democrats argue that most of the additional relief would expire within six months, not a full year. Yet any package that pays Americans the equivalent of a six-figure yearly paycheck for not working is completely unacceptable.
The WSJ article authors predicted that these massive benefits “are likely to reduce employment by five million to seven million jobs.” The $15 minimum wage provision would have raised the estimated job losses to eight million, but it was struck down by the Senate parliamentarian.
The left argues that this relief is only a temporary fix until the pandemic is over. As we approach a year since the supposed two-week shutdown, it has become increasingly hard to believe them.
They also seem to misunderstand the lasting impact that this bill will have. If millions of Americans sit at home and do not work for the next six months, businesses will close in huge numbers.
The idea that Americans will just go right back to work after the pandemic is over ignores the fact that after six months of murdering the economy, there will not be the same number of jobs available.
Mulligan and Moore presented an alternative solution that they believe the Biden administration should pursue.
“If Mr. Biden and the Democrats want to encourage employment, they should suspend payroll taxes for jobs that pay $100,000 a year or less,” they said.
“This would provide all workers an immediate 7.5% raise and would cut the cost to employers of hiring unemployed workers back by the same percentage. This would cost the government less than $1.9 trillion.”
The problem is that the Democrats do not, in fact, wish to encourage employment. They are excited over the proposition that citizens could rely on the government for their well-being.
In 2008, then-President Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. I mean, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
With these words, Emanuel unknowingly predicted exactly what the Democrats are now attempting to do.
The left always wanted control. They always wanted citizens to believe the government is the answer to all of their problems. Their views have not changed, but rather have become disguised as “relief” from the pandemic.
The Democratic wish for an all-powerful government did not start with COVID-19, and it won’t end there, either.
Americans need to fight for the importance of individual freedoms, and it starts with truly going back to work.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.