The following article has been authored by a non-clinician
What makes America great? Its citizens.
What makes America’s economy great? Same answer.
But for nearly a year, many Americans have been unable to go to work, see family, engage in commerce, or even in some cases, go to school.
All of this was not simply because of fear of COVID-19, but because those in power wouldn’t let them.
As a result of government strangleholds, many Americans have not been allowed to go out to eat, socialize, and from an economic perspective, are not able to spend their money (outside of big box stores and mega e-commerce solutions, of course).
This is unacceptable.
The United States government has spent trillions to offset their imposed restrictions.
But, Americans don’t want handouts.
They want the opportunity to get back to work, to find the jobs they need, and the chance to live life without a cumbersome government.
In short, Americans want what was promised by our founders. We want the freedom to pursue happiness.
But instead of freedom, we see multi-trillion dollar bailouts that are broadly applied, seemingly aimed more at buying goodwill and votes than providing actual constructive support to the American people.
In 2020, the U.S. government collected just over $3.4 trillion in revenue.
Over the last 12 months, leaders in Washington have spent more than that amount related to COVID relief alone.
This spending comes in addition to the more than $4.7 trillion of non-COVID funding that was also doled out to various government projects in 2020.
According to the CBO, the federal debt was expected to reach nearly 200% of GDP by 2060. This was before increased debt from COVID relief was factored in to predictions.
Now, we’re expected to reach that figure a decade sooner.
Hence, Republicans are questioning whether or not it is wise to spend another nearly $2 trillion that President Biden and Democratic officials are advocating.
In a show (key word being ‘show’) of bi-partisanship, President Biden and 10 Senate Republicans met last Monday night to discuss a smaller, more targeted stimulus package.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, reported that the meeting with the president was “very productive” and “cordial,” but no agreement was reached.
Of course not – because the president and newly minted Democratic senators have a problem.
They promised over, and over again that if Biden was elected, Americans would be receiving $2k dollar checks “within two weeks.”
Well, two weeks has come and gone, and that promise is now broken. This is probably a good thing for Biden and his colleagues, as it’s illegal to offer money to influence voting (18. U.S. Code Sub Section 597 – Expenditures to Influence Voting), but let’s not let details get in the way.
Democratic representatives have already tried walking back their original narrative, instead saying that they’re aiming for $1,400 dollar checks, calling the $600 checks that Americans already received (while the Trump administration was still in power, I might add) a “down payment” on Biden’s plan — nice that the president took some credit for the Trump administration’s work.
Instead of bi-partisan negotiation (as was another promise of President Biden), Democrats will utilize budgetary reconciliation to push through their agenda; a process which allows them to do what they want without a single Republican vote . . . so much for unity.
The process of Budgetary Reconciliation allows a simple majority in the Senate to pass budget bills without allowing the minority to filibuster.
It can only be used for specific legislation related to tax, spending, and debt limit bills. But to get their wish list, Democrats have a hurdle in the form of the Byrd Rule.
The rule states that the bill must be relevant to the budget and cannot inflate the long-term federal budget deficit.
As part of the relief package, amongst a number of things, Democratic officials want to provide state and local government bailouts, expand the SNAP program, and increase the minimum wage to $15.
Sure, we could easily state that these things might help people impacted by COVID, but are these items really relevant to a relief package?
And if passed via reconciliation, how would nearly $2 trillion of additional spending not impact the long-term federal budget deficit? (Remember, the requirements of the aforementioned Byrd rule).
Lucky for those in favor of this spending bill, the enforcement of the Byrd rule comes down to one person, Elizabeth MacDonough — the Senate parliamentarian.
Well, Democratic officials removed that piece from the bill, presumptively because they recognized the potential pitfalls of selling Ms. MacDonough on the minimum wage hike as part of reconciliation.
But, they still have to show someway to pay for the significant increase to the deficit in order to abide by that rule.
They could say that the wage increase directly affects the budget, as it would be expected to increase federal government revenue through the additional income taxes collected, and to address the debt increase.
They could simply promise future taxes to offset the difference.
But, either way, there is a path to push this through.
Reconciliation has been used 25 times since its creation.
If it could truly help us recover from the COVID crisis, I’m all for it.
COVID lockdowns have decimated so much of the American way of life.
Lives, jobs, wealth, and opportunity have all been destroyed in the wake of this terrible disease and government action in response to it.
But increasing the minimum wage and bailing out poorly run cities and states due to their pre-COVID decisions, does not seem like justification for adding more debt to future generations.
Another relief package may be necessary, but not at the level in which the Democratic Paty is trying to push through.
Many Americans were fortunate to keep their jobs and maintain steady employment during the past year.
Sending those individuals additional funds doesn’t make sense, as they weren’t as negatively impacted financially as those who were forced into unemployment.
Furthermore, raising the minimum wage not only has nothing to do with COVID relief, it will also punish the already beaten down small business sector.
I fully support the federal government doing what it can to help those that need financial assistance the most, but the best thing that the government could do right now is just get out of the way.
Seth Denson is a Business & Market Analyst, Author, and Entrepreneur. He co-founded one of the nation’s most successful consulting firms and authored the best-selling book, The Cure: A Blueprint for Solving America’s Healthcare Crisis which takes a deep dive into the business structure of our U.S. healthcare system and how we can reform it while maintaining our free-market. As a regular on-camera contributor, Seth has garnered a national presence discussing a range of topics including business and economics, politics, faith, and fatherhood. Originally from West Texas but with international business experience, Seth’s “no-bull” approach blends metropolitan thinking with good old-fashioned Texas straight-talk. Reads Seth Denson’s Reports — More Here.