By David N. Taylor
In 2020, Congress passed five bills totaling about $4 trillion to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of the bills was supported by large bipartisan majorities in both chambers. However, with the party-line $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan”, Democrats saw an opportunity to fundamentally remake economic and social policy while shutting down those who disagree.
In his recent op-ed (Here’s what Toomey, the deficit hawk, got wrong about the COVID-19 stimulus), Mike Connolly states that U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., was wrong to say the $1.9 trillion price tag was too big.
Yet he omits the fact that 65 percent of the money will go to state and local governments that collected record revenue in 2020, schools that aren’t required to reopen, unemployment benefits to pay people more to stay home than they would earn working, stimulus checks for millions of six-figure income households that never missed a payday, bailing out multi-employer pension plans, and expanding Obamacare subsidies for people who don’t want them.
How does any of that help to end the COVID-19 pandemic and put people back to work? Obviously, it doesn’t. The $1.9 trillion big-government spending extravaganza does not rescue the economy or American families.
Connolly goes on to say that “modest and sustained inflation is actually the goal of most economists.” But the concern about spending $1.9 trillion when it’s not needed is about immodest and unsustainable inflation, or hyperinflation.
Venezuela was once the exemplar of democracy in South America, and one of the wealthiest countries in the world as recently as the 1980s. Since then, the socialist rule of Chavez and Maduro has resulted in uncontrollable government spending, inflation topping 66,000 percent, millions of Venezuelans fleeing the country, and one of the highest murder rates in the world.
So much for Connolly’s assertion that “inflation doesn’t kill human beings.”
While arguing that government spending should be unlimited, Connolly states that “Americans die from hunger, from substance use disorder, from self-inflicted harm, and so many other maladies and woes that can be helped or avoided with increased and sustained public spending.” Despite $4 trillion spent last year in response to the pandemic, Americans experiencing food insecurity increased, drug overdose deaths increased, and suicides increased.
More government spending will not end these tragedies. Safely reopening the American economy and our public schools will help to alleviate much of the anguish, despair, and insecurity Americans are experiencing. But again, Democrats are more interested in advancing their far-left policy agenda than in getting people back to work or kids back in classrooms.
But Connolly ramps up the misinformation further when the discussion turns to the kitchen table. In the analogy he lays out, Connolly paints a blissful picture of the federal government borrowing from itself and controlling the terms of its debt.
Who does he think owns America’s debt? It’s not only the U.S. government and the American people. According to Bloomberg, foreign states and investors own more than $11 trillion. China alone owns more than $1 trillion of our debt.
So, when Connolly says “families don’t get to control their own debt,” neither does America. It is imperative that our government gets a grip on reckless spending before we lose our financial independence.
David N. Taylor is the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, an industry trade group. He writes from Harrisburg. Readers may email him at [email protected]