Coronavirus

Most Politicians Are Disingenuous Opportunists. The Coronavirus Outbreak Only Makes That More Obvious.

Politicians are merely using COVID-19 to push for policies they already wanted.

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One month and one day ago, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to declare that the COVID-19 outbreak was "very much under control in the USA."

"Stock market starting to look very good to me!" the president declared.

Since then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost about 25 percent of its value—and that's after a significant uptick on Tuesday. Also, the COVID-19 outbreak is very much not under control in the United States, as you've probably noticed.

A few weeks before the president sent that tweet, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were given a classified briefing about the coronavirus. Sen. Richard Burr (R–N.C.), the chairman of the committee, immediately sold more than $1.7 million in stocks. Publicly, however, he downplayed the threat posed by the virus. "The United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus," Burr wrote in an op-ed for Fox News on February 7—though he reportedly delivered a much more alarming message to a small circle of friends and campaign donors around the same time.

After weeks of dismissing the pandemic as no biggie, Trump was suddenly taking the outbreak more seriously by the first week of March. "There is no testing kit shortage, nor has there ever been," the president assured Americans while he took a televised tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 6. "Anybody that wants a test can get one."

That wasn't true. And when it became too obviously untrue for even Trump to deny, the president said, "I don't take responsibility at all," when asked about the very-obvious-and-quite-alarming lack of testing kits on March 13.

With millions of Americans out of work and the country facing the prospect of a recession unlike any in recorded history, Congress got to work on a stimulus package that was supposed to tide workers over until the virus passed and the economy reopened. Partisan disagreement sank a Senate coronavirus bailout bill on Monday, so Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) rode to the rescue with a $2.5 trillion spending plan that included such pandemic essentials as $35 million in funding for a performing arts center in Washington, D.C., new rules requiring more diversity on corporate boards, and new emissions requirements for airplanes.

Pelosi withdrew that proposal on Tuesday afternoon. But the $2 trillion spending bill that appears ready to pass the Senate on Wednesday contains a few questionable provisions of its own, like codifying regulations that limit arbitration agreements, a huge giveaway to trial lawyers.

Having failed to predict the future at the beginning of the outbreak, Trump is now determined to rewrite the past. "I have always known this is a real pandemic," he said on March 17. During an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, the president said he took decisive action to slow the advance of the virus "very early" despite taking "a lot of heat" from unnamed others who disagreed with him.

The list goes on and on.

All of this is, on one hand, an extension of the thesis that politicians are merely using the coronavirus outbreak to push for policies they already wanted—or, more broadly, that they are behaving the way they always did. Congress has an incentive to do favors for friends and politically-connected industries. Individual members of Congress are self-interested human beings willing to profit off their positions. Trump wants the stock market to go up and doesn't want to be held responsible for anything. None of this is new information.

Yet, at another level, this constellation of individual actions becomes a damning portrait of a system that is neither trustworthy nor trying to gain that trust. Libertarians should know better than to expect elected and appointed officials to be angels, of course, but the coronavirus outbreak has once again exposed the extent to which they are, with rare exception, little more than disingenuous opportunists.

"If you want to know why people are so vulnerable to conspiracy theories and to misinformation," writes Kevin Williamson at National Review, "it is in part because they believe that they are being lied to by those with whom they have entrusted great power, that the truth is being kept from them by design."

Consider merely the past 24 hours. On Tuesday, Trump declared his intention to have the country back to normal by Easter Sunday (April 12). Early Wednesday morning, however, Congress struck a deal with the White House to pass a $2 trillion spending bill that's being pitched as a vital mix of stimulus and bailouts intended to keep the country from slipping into a prolonged recession. But if things are going to be back to normal in less than three weeks, why is a massive stimulus necessary? Someone isn't telling the truth.

Add into the mix the various and sundry failures of the so-called fourth branch of government: the bad regulations at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that continue to slow the deployment of masks to places where they are needed, the CDC botching the COVID-19 testing rollout.

There will be heroes that emerge out of this. Doctors, nurses, medical students who are allowed to graduate early so they can join the fight against the coronavirus are leading contenders. Private businesses that are surging their operations to supply more medical gear deserve mention. But when all of this is over, we should also remember that government officials mostly did what they can always be counted on to do. They're doing little but standing in the way, deflecting blame, and seeking to exploit human suffering for a political agenda, or merely to boost their own chances of re-election.

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  1. These comments should be epic.

      1. Wait til you see mine. It’s gonna huge!

        1. Hold my beer (it is an essential item)

        2. I think you mean Yuuuge, its gonna be the biggest ever.

    1. Let me guess how they will go: Boehm is a big commie for noticing the emperor has no clothes.

      1. Fuck off, Jeff.

        1. Even Hihn has managed to be semi lucid and make a few valid points today. That puts Pedo Jeffy beneath Hihn.

          Pedo Jeffy is truly bottom rung.

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  2. “The United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus,” Burr wrote in an op-ed for Fox News on February 7.”

    Republicans are dumb and dishonest.

    1. And Democrats are very smart and especially honest: they nominated Biden for President! Lol

  3. “Politicians are merely using COVID-19 to push for policies they already wanted.”

    President Trump already wanted to slash payroll taxes?

    That’s great!

    Let’s reelect him.

    1. He also pushed $6T in stimulus spending.

      1. Care to beak that down?

        The current package is $2 trillion, and a chunk of that is sending money back to taxpayer.

        Where are you getting the other $4 trillion?

        1. 4 trillion for fed reserve. Larry Kudlow said in his press conference. I don’t have more details for you.

          1. The package under consideration today is $2 trillion.

            A big chuck of it is to send $1,200 checks to Americans under a certain income threshold and $500 for every child. This is the result of Democrats haggling with the Trump administration–they didn’t want that money to just go to working people, so they made the government give it to worthless pieces of shit who don’t work for a living, too.

            Giving taxpayers back some of their their tax money may be “stimulus” in that it will stimulate spending by consumers, but it is not Keynesian stimulus, which is about getting around consumers’ marginal propensity to save during an economic downturn and giving it to the government, who can be counted on to spend every penny they get plus whatever they can borrow. In fact, giving taxpayers their money back is the exact opposite of what libertarian capitalists (from Hayek on down) criticize when they’re talking about “stimulus”.

            Another huge chunk of that $2 trillion goes to the Democrats’ insistence that the period of time that people are eligible for unemployment benefits be expanded. That’s a bad idea because it creates a moral hazard, where plenty of people on unemployment don’t bother to start looking for a job until their unemployment benefits run out. Again, that did not happen at President Trump’s insistence. That was a point he compromised on.

            $350 billion of that $2 trillion is earmarked as loans to small businesses (presumably administered through the Small Business Administration) used to backstop payrolls at small businesses to keep people employed who would lose their jobs otherwise.

            $150 billion is to going to the healthcare system. Whether that’s to treat uninsured coronavirus victims or to expand the number of ICU beds available isn’t clear.

            There is $500 billion in loans to larger businesses that will be administered by way of the Federal Reserve. This is largely to help those companies that were directly impacted by the virus at its worst–particularly airlines, who almost certainly default on their loans and airplane finance agreements–hurting the banks and financiers of those airlines.

            Note, all of this “bailout” money isn’t really a bailout–since almost all of it is either sending money back to the people who earned it, expanding and extending unemployment benefits, or in the form of loans that will need to be repaid.

            And it add ups up to about $2 trillion. Not $6 trillion.

            1. Could have saved yourself some typing, I was just pointing out where the other 4 trillion was coming from ref by Leo.

        2. $4T additional QE through the Fed was initially reported in places.

          Leave the $4T aside for the sake of debate. $2T is ridiculous. You aren’t defending a $2T stimulus, are you?

          1. “He also pushed $6T in stimulus spending.”

            That was the Fed. Not President Trump. The Fed would have done the same thing no matter who was president.

            And quantitative easing is an attempt to bring down long term interests rates and “stimulate” the banks to lend more in times of low liquidity. It is not Keynesian stimulus spending meant to get around the consumers’ marginal propensity to save during an economic downturn.

            “In logic, equivocation (‘calling two different things by the same name’) is an informal fallacy resulting from the use of a particular word/expression in multiple senses throughout an argument leading to a false conclusion.[1][2]

            It is a type of ambiguity that stems from a phrase having two distinct meanings, not from the grammar or structure of the sentence.[1]

            Below is an example of equivocation in a syllogism (a logical chain of reasoning).

            Since only man [human] is rational,
            and no woman is a man [male],
            therefore, no woman is rational.[1]
            The first instance of “man” implies the entire human species, while the second implies just those who are male.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation

            You’re using the word “stimulus” in more than one way.

            Keynesian stimulus is when the government borrows money and spends it in attempt to get around the private sector’s marginal propensity to save during an economic downturn.

            When an ophthalmologist stimulates my pupils to dilate by passing a light in front of them, that may be “stimulus”, but it is not Keynesian stimulus.

            P.S. Pretending that Trump is charge of Fed policy isn’t impressive either.

            1. P.S. Pretending that Trump is charge of Fed policy isn’t impressive either.

              What if Trump or Kudlow are the ones asking for it?

              Whether they are in charge of it or not, it’s a part of the proposal from the administration. They aren’t in charge of spending either, but they proposed it to the Congress.

              1. Trump has repeatedly condemned the Fed in no uncertain terms.

                If the Fed would have done what it did regardless of whether Trump or someone else were in office, then it’s hardly attributable to Trump.

                Add in the fact that monetary policy isn’t fiscal Keynesian stimulus, and your criticism here is removed from reality twice over.

                1. Who is condemning this as Keynesian? That seems to be a strawman you’re building up. I’ve never once said this is Keynesian.

                  Monetary policy in this case is surely intended to be stimulus.

                  1. You think libertarian capitalists should be against “stimulus”, even if by “stimulus”, you mean letting working people keep what they earn rather than sending it to the government to spend?

                    By assuming you were just against Keynesian stimulus, I was assuming that you weren’t completely fucking batshit insane.

                    Yeah, in case this is the first time you heard, libertarians are generally in favor of limiting the size and scope of government by letting people keep what they earn.

                    . . . and that’s regardless of how President Trump feels about it or how you feel about him.

                    1. If that’s what you think this is, that says a lot about your argument.

                      This isn’t money being returned to tax payers. This is money being taken from future generations, and redistributed to the current generation and businesses.

                      They didn’t cut current taxes, nor did they cut current spending levels. This is new, unfunded spending to the tune of 10% of our nation’s GDP (if we’re only talking about the $2T.)

                    2. Nothing more from Ken on this in defense of government sending out $2T in money that doesn’t exist as a way of “limiting the size and scope of government?”

                    3. Do you imagine that the alternative to this bill was to do nothing?

                      That’s a stupid assumption, right?

                    4. Ah yes. Finally the libertarian answer of “gOVerNMeNt MUst dO sOMEthiNG!”

                      “I had to abandon free market principles in order to save the free market system.” Remember that gem?

                      Trump should have held his ground on tax relief. As you correctly pointed out, it’s certainly better to simply let people keep their money. He caved to the Democrat and establishment Republican demands of big spending bills.

                      Maybe if we didn’t spend trillions more than we take in when there’s no crisis we could afford short-term deficits during crises. But alas, here we are. Government has to do something and we get more government in return. I’d argue they’ve done enough.

  4. Everyone in office needs to be voted out. Every time.

    1. Don’t expect voters to hold them accountable.

  5. Does Boehm live in New York? Sounds like he does.

    1. I always figured Georgetown.

    2. Eric Boehm is a reporter for Reason. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, but will never consider himself a southerner.
      And from his Bio picture his voice should be changing any day now.

      1. Great. Just great. Now I’m gonna read all his articles in the voice of Jeremy Freedman.

  6. I don’t think Trump has been spectacular here, but I really cannot blame him for trying (in his bafoonish way) to urge a calm approach to this pandemic. And Boehm, as well as other journalists, trying to crucify him for that is going to continue to feed this “Race to the Bottom” mentality where politicians are encouraged to panic and shut down everything and pilloried if they take a more hands off approach.

    Currently, the Chicken Littles are dominating the narrative. If you try to compare this to our response to the flu, or point out that only a very tiny fragment of our population is at risk, then you get article after article of questionable data insisting that any such argument is shameful and absurd. This is the same tactic taken by climate alarmists. Any disagreement with their “all hands on deck” freakout- even if it is to ask for the slightest moderation- is as bad as denying the Holocaust.

    So, yeah, I agree that politicians are opportunists. But the opportunities they are pursuing exist only because of the climate that journalists like Boehm create.

    1. Not to mention that the media is now trying pretty hard to push the narrative that young people are “just as susceptible” to becoming seriously ill.

      1. Yes exactly. I mentioned this in the Roundup comments. The “Kids are susceptible too” articles are based on very shaky data. They conflate data in South Korea showing that 50% of those infected are under 50 with data about people who visit the hospital and people who are admited to the hospital. What they don’t point out in those articles is how many under 50 died or how many went into the ICU. They aren’t saying that, because it doesn’t feed into their narrative.

        1. The media are largely proving themselves to be flaming refuse, including this publication.

          1. The media is a criminal organization. The stats from Italy (had them six weeks ago) are 99% preexisting conditions with majority of deaths in patients with three severe health issues age group 60-90. Media is now concentrating on the 1% of young, healthy people who are getting this and in ICU. Every fucking case, no symptoms, doesn’t matter. Imagine the future media during flu season, or every car accident death, in a nation of 340ish million. The anomaly exception or emotion, we’ve become the idiocracy.

        2. In WA State, 80% of Wuhan Virus deaths are for people over 70. With zero deaths for anyone under 40.

    2. Libertarian leaning Republicans needed to be the first ones to get their message out:

      There are tremendous public health costs that evolve, over many years, from economic destruction. Talk about the deaths, not the dollars.

      It feels like it is almost too late to get this message heard. But imagine if this was the first argument? They could have been the ones most concerned about the pile of bodies in the corner.

  7. The difference in the Democratic actions and comments vs the Republicans, as a whole and including Trump, has virtually guaranteed his re-election, and likely flipped the House.

    1. It should. What Democrats have done here is another level of epic opportunism. When they go low…we go….we go…..we….hello?

  8. I wonder if Mexico will eventually refund this stimulus back to America? We can only hope!

    1. The wall might be the only major campaign promise Trump actually gets done. They’ll pay for it to keep us out.

      1. Why would they do that?

      2. Good, let Mexico function without remittances from the US.

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  10. For those of you having a hard time with all the people in this thread (including Reason staff who aren’t a part of this thread), keep the following in mind and call it out whenever you see people equivocating with the term “stimulus”.

    “Keynes advocated fiscal stimulus when the economy was stuck in a recession. In this situation, there is usually a rise in private sector saving and unused resources in the economy. Therefore, if the government borrow and spend, they can help kickstart the economy and provide economic recovery.”

    https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/1368/economics/keynesian-stimulus/

    Taking money away from the government and giving it to consumers–despite their propensity to save during a crisis–is the opposite of stimulus spending. And everybody who says otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or is a liar.

    1. Would you prefer the term bailout?

      1. Nationalization is when the government confiscates a controlling share of a company’s stock (and gives a sizable portion of what’s left to the union). That’s what happened with GM>

        A bailout is when the government buys practically worthless mortgage backed securities from investors and gives them the face value of the securities–rather than what they’re trading for in the market at the time.

        Providing financing for small businesses at below market rates, when they have to pay those loans back, that’s more like a subsidy.

        Some of these are better than the others even if none of the are good, and the coronavirus response package appears to be dominated by sending cash to consumers and subsidized loans. It’s much like the choice between Democrats and Republicans themselves. One of them is more Keynesian stimulus and socialist, and while neither of them are especially libertarian and capitalist, one of them is far better than the other.

        Can’t you see which one?

    2. Taking money away from the government and giving it to consumers

      And we aren’t taking money away from government. We’re taking money away from future generations who will be on the hook to pay for this down the road (in one way or another) and we’re redistributing it to ourselves and businesses.

      1. Trump wanted to suspend all payroll taxes through December of 2020.

        The Democrats refused, so Trump proposed two $250 billion payments to working Americans, but he Democrats opposed that because the payments would only go to taxpayers.

        And you want me to blame President Trump for this. That’s a reason to support the GOP’s attempt to retake the House, not to blame Trump for taking cash away from government spending and giving it to consumers.

        If it weren’t for President Trump, the Democrats’ plan was to take all of that money and send it to shore up the state governments for all the tax shortfall they’ll experience with the lack of taxable activity during the lock-downs–just like Obama did. That money was mostly used to keep state employees paid and to avoid states having to renegotiate their pension obligations.

        Fuck that noise.

        Point being, if the Democrats could use that money to spend on the government, they would–rather than give it to consumers. And the fact is that taking money away from government spending and giving it to the consumers is the opposite of Keynesian stimulus, which is all about taxing consumers to take money away from them and letting the government spend it because consumers would just save some of it anyway–and their reluctance to spend for fear of the future is what’s dragging down the economy anyway.

        In other words, not even the Keynesians think taking money away from the government and giving it to consumers like this is stimulus. That’s just something you, Boehm, of whomever else either made up because you don’t understand what you’re talking about–or you’re being willfully deceptive. They Keynesians who want stimulus oppose what Trump is doing, on this, because it’s the opposite of stimulus. Feel the wrongness, and never make this mistake again. If you fell for Boehm’s bullshit, learn from the experience.

        1. But they aren’t letting you keep more of your money. Perhaps it’s you who fell for the talking points.

          They are transferring brand-spanking-new debt to current taxpayers and businesses. This isn’t $2T that they had sitting around in an emergency fund, and it isn’t funded by $2T in new revenue. It’s a transfer of debt to consumers.

          1. “But they aren’t letting you keep more of your money. Perhaps it’s you who fell for the talking points.”

            1) The only reason they aren’t letting us keep more of our money is because the socialist Democrats in the House wouldn’t let them–not because President Trump didn’t fight for exactly that.

            2) If they send me $1,200, I promise you, it’s some of what they’re taking from me taxes this year–but not all of it. Why pretend otherwise? Just so you can keep your bizarre fantasies about Trump’s supposed flaw in this regard going?

            If when President Trump fights to let us keep more of the money we earn–at the expense of government–and you denounce him in the name of libertarian capitalism, then you’ve become unhinged.

            1. You maybe. But what about the 50% who spend nothing in taxes? It’s a money transfer nonetheless.

              If when President Trump fights to let us keep more of the money we earn–at the expense of government–and you denounce him in the name of libertarian capitalism, then you’ve become unhinged.

              He didn’t fight. He proposed a tax cut and then he caved because it was politically expedient. We have to do something! You said it yourself in a previous post.

              I would have cheered had he pushed through tax relief as a way to stimulate the economy. It’s not at all what Trump did and I believe you’re being deliberately dishonest to justify your support for him while claiming to be libertarian. You like to point out logical fallacies all the time. You should look up cognitive biases… specifically confirmation bias.

              It’s ok to say Trump is wrong to want to spend $2T and still vote for him in November.

              1. It’s also OK to admit that your open borders exacerbated this situation greatly.

                We’ll wait.

                1. OPEN BORDERS, riiiight. It sure is a good thing that platform plank got shitcanned. The same should happen to everyone who voted for it, especially Tokyo Rose. Now at least we can nominate a candidate without fear of tar and feathers!

      2. Future generations?

        No, no, no.

        The taxationists will be back in short order, complaining about the huge deficit that was inflated and urging everyone to “tax the 1%” who are “hoarding all the wealth” to bring it all down….and finally achieve that nirvana of “economic equality”.

  11. Especially at a time when most of the news media are telling the bad parts of the COVID-19 news it is the President responsibility to be optimistic. Yet there are enough in the administration that is keep reminding the people that it is going to be a long haul to be over this pandemic. So let the president be the optimistic one while others keeps this process on a level footing.

  12. We’ve always been at war with the coronavirus

  13. Boomers’ great-grandchildren will definitely thank them. What if the economic solution *and* a cure for coronavirus were in the next trillion dollars not included in this bill?

  14. >>There will be heroes that emerge out of this.

    Cuomo’s showing his inner-clown

    1. When I think of Cuomo, I like to picture him in a T-Shirt Tuxedo, with giant eagle wings singing lead vocals for Lynard Skynard with an Angel band.

  15. 95% TDS with 5% butt covering by mentioning Pelosi in one sentence. This is the new libertarianism.

    1. It’s a self protection principle at work: If the columnist criticizes something the Democrats did, the nastier the To-Be-Sure-I-Hate-Trump invective has to be.

      That’s because the true purpose of journalism is to protect members of the Democratic Party. The more strenuously you defend them, the better you are at journalism and the more awards you get.
      Mild criticism of a Dem policy is dangerously close to apostasy, so you better be darn sure you repudiate the devil (Trump) loudly and vociferously to show that you’re no heretic.

  16. The letter in parentheses is meaningless. Just means they’ll screw you over and spend your money to advance the interests of a different group of cronies and donors.

  17. God Reason is just a bunch of dumb fucks . Its not a bailout since the government forced businesses to close.

    1. Exactly. I don’t want a fucking handout. I just want to be left alone to work and make my own money.

  18. Also I keep hearing about other countries like South Korea who we are suppose to model who haven;t shut down their whole economy.

    We are in basically day 9 of the lockdown. The virus has a maximum 14 day incubation period with a mean around 6 days. We are hitting the peak now.

    WTF sense does saying we need to be locked down form months make. So we get on the downside and then we use extra precaution , PPE, still some social distancing but reopen the economy in 3 weeks which so happens to be about Easter.

    What a brainless bunch of sheeple we have become.

    1. People actually use “sheeple” unironically? Did I click on Infowars by mistake?

      1. What? Being sheeple is just trusting your politicians who seem rather OK with locking you up as tight as a drum, and without pay for some but with pay for others, by force for as long as they feel like it. Synonym = lemmings

        Seems fairly libertarian to me but Reason is in many ways the anti-libertarian.

        1. But the lemmings are smarter. They go off the cliff and end it all.

          The sheeple will just keep bleating…and begging…and bleating.

  19. The fact that the powers that be just pushed a button to create $6T ($2T in handouts/givebacks plus $4T in Fed Reserve liquidity [aka Monopoly money]), proves that there is ZERO connection between the US Dollar/Federal Reserve Note and, uh, reality.

    If that’s true, it’s only a short trip to running the government of the USA by just “printing” money. Obviating the need for federal taxes of any kind. Obviating the need for the IRS, April 15, intrusive federal regs on money and income, lobbying to influence tax policy, and H&R Block. Conventional wisdom would peg that as a recipe for ruinous inflation, but the Govt has been running up the debt since 1957 (the last year the national debt went down) and we’re still here, so what’s the big deal?

    1. The Federal Reserve is buying those treasury notes at market rates. They’ll mature, and the premium will be repaid to the Federal Reserve if they’re the owner at the time they mature.

      They’re doing this in an attempt to distort the yield curve, and I oppose them doing this because it distorts the yield curve, but there’s no point in pretending that the cash paid for those notes isn’t real or that the treasuries they’re buying with that cash are worthless.

      1. Ken, I don’t always agree with you, but salute your efforts to inject sanity and actual reason into this discussion.

        Meanwhile, Boehm, in an article ostensibly about politicians seeking advantage in a crisis, opens with signature Orange Man Badism.

  20. I don’t think “disingenuous” is the correct adjective here. A lot of other, more accurate, more appropriate, and more colorful adjectives come to mind.

  21. The final bill to the taxpayers, assuming there still are a few around, will be at least $5 trillion and maybe as high as $10 trillion. Looking back at the 2007-09 period, the corruption back then should not have been bailed out. You see, now everyone and their mother will want a handout and the corruption foisted upon us by self-serving politicians will build up into an even greater tsunami. Eventually, no wall of fake money will hold back the final and inevitable crash into a depression not ever imagined.

    1. Rent seekers unite! Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno.

  22. A lot of people compare our current situation to World War 2 and I think that’s valid. Well we had no stimulus package back then! Instead the government spent our money wisely (well, for government anyway) on things that directly supported the war effort: guns, bullets, tanks, airplanes, etc. What the country needs now is face masks, test kits, ventilators, gloves, hand sanitizer–i.e., “things that support the war effort”. How anyone, congress person or otherwise, can support taking a single penny that could be used to procure or spur the production of these items and piss it away like this stimulus package does, is unbelievable!

    During WW 2 we held the old-fashioned belief that wealth resides in real things and we all sacrificed so that more real things could go to the military. We rationed sugar, gasoline and many other items; we made our pennies out of steel; no one could find rubber tires. We saved! We economized! We consumed less, not more! Now we’ve been seduced by Keynesian economics to think that wealth gets created by demand. And we think we can create demand by taking $2 trillion dollars (of our own money!) and giving it back to (a different) us. And hoping we’ll do what with it? Why spend it, of course! Well, when we spend it, that’s one less real thing that can go to the war effort!

  23. Politicians are opportunist? I’ll order the presses stopped immediately.

    Morally, most of them are roughly on par with pimps and pornographers

    1. Oh? Politicians sell something someone is willing to pay for?

  24. If only some of them were at least ideologically consistent opportunists, that would be something. Stimulus, bailouts, deficits, debt, moral perils, and government picking winners and losers were once rightly and loudly denounced.

    Trump and Trumplicans are a full surrender of the American Experiment in growing liberty and prosperity to the statist squabbling for slices of a zero sum pie embodied in Obama’s “…reward our friends and punish our enemies…” line. Obama was the real winner in 2016.

    1. Once denounced?

      When?

      P.S. I’m much older than most here.

      1. As recently as the moment before Trumpy the Clown came down that cheesy gold escalator almost every Republican rightly denounced stimulus, bailouts, deficits, debt, moral perils, and government picking winners and losers.

  25. Get outta here! Politicians are disingenuous opportunists? Who knew?

  26. ” codifying regulations that limit arbitration agreements, a huge giveaway to trial lawyers.”

    Fuck you, you goddamned moron! Eliminating mandatory arbitration mandates protects our right to due process and trial!

    1. Government is still the band of stationary bandits that it began as, and their look out for their fellow bandits.

      Government was devised as a bandit’s weapon and disguise and that is all that it ever can be.

  27. Most Reason writer are disingenuous opportunists unwilling to admit their mistakes.

    Glass houses, sport.

  28. We Will Regret Not Taking the Economic Effects of Mass Quarantine More Seriously
    Trump Is Right To Worry About the Cost of Aggressive COVID-19 Control Measures
    Will Aggressive COVID-19 Control Measures Cost More Than They Are Worth?

    Why are you downplaying the crisis, Boehm?

  29. That let’s import uninspected strangers whining has sure died down. This leaves the “Save Robert Dear from execution” plank produced concurrently by the same band of saboteurs and 5th-column whack jobs.

  30. Curious how our bankrupt federal government quickly found $2 trillion laying around when pushed.

    How you gonna pay for it? Congress approves the expenditure. Treasury cuts the checks. Same as always.

    MMT in action right before your eyes, folks. Suck it up.

  31. In related news, the sky is blue.

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