While Money Is “Free,” Pelosi and Schumer Want to Spend More
Written by Bob Adelmann
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told MSNBC on Thursday that the Democrats are proposing even more spending: “We need big, bold action. We need Franklin Rooseveltian-type action and we hope to take that in the House and Senate in a very big and bold way.”
He said the details of their “big, bold” plan would be revealed shortly.
Now we know. On Sunday Axios spelled it out:
A trillion dollars for state and local governments, split up so that every community gets some;
More millions for hospitals and for COVID-19 testing;
Another $25 billion to keep the U.S. Postal Service afloat for a few more months;
Expanded “nutritional” benefits, likely through SNAP;
More Medicaid funding for the states;
Enhanced unemployment insurance benefits, calling it their “paycheck guarantee”; and
Another round of checks to every citizen, amount still to be determined (but $2,000 monthly checks for the duration of the infection are being seriously considered).
Total cost? $1.2 trillion.
This isn’t likely to see the light of day in the Senate, assuming it passes the House. It is obviously political in nature, and lays down a “marker” for the upcoming presidential campaign. Democrats will accuse Trump of being stingy, of being the reincarnation of Herbert Hoover (remember the hundreds of shanty-town Hoovervilles that sprang up during the Great Depression?).
When the House finally reconvenes Democrats will have something to show the voters while they were “sheltering-in-place.”
Missing from the Democrats’ wish list is liability protection for businesses (which likely would otherwise be sued for spreading the virus, regardless of how careful they are during their restarts). Also missing is a temporary payroll tax cut. Both of these are non-starters for the Democrats.
Bipartisan meetings between the warring parties aren’t expected to begin before early June. In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to wait and see what impact the initial $3 trillion of stimulus is having on the moribund economy before even considering ramping up even more spending.
With any luck at all, the House members will remain sheltered in place where all they can do is dream up ways to spend money they don’t have without being able to vote for such measures.
An Ivy League graduate and former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American, writing primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at [email protected].