Government Spending

Coronavirus Reveals Utter Sameness of Democrats and Republicans

The election committees of both parties use the same language to attack Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.).

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Libertarians keep saying that there are very few meaningful differences between the Republicans and the Democrats. And one of the many things revealed by the political response to the coronavirus pandemic is…that there are very few meaningful differences between the Republicans and Democrats.

You can see that in the $2 trillion CARES Act, the single largest spending bill in U.S. history. It passed with 96 yes votes and zero no votes in the Senate. (Four senators could not attend the vote.) After Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) tried to instigate a conventional recorded vote on the measure, the House passed it on a voice vote so that individual members didn't have to go on the record supporting it. That was something on which the top Democrat (Nancy Pelosi) and top Republican (Kevin McCarthy) joined forces. As Massie told me, they did that to shield current members from having to explain their votes in the fall's election. Technically, the bill passed unanimously, even though he and a few others said they would have voted against it if given the opportunity.

One of the other dissenters was Rep. Justin Amash, the Michigan independent who left the Republican Party last summer because he felt that it no longer represented his libertarianish philosophy. On Friday, Amash, who consistently criticized the CARES Act for giving the lion's share of the money to corporations and other special interests rather than individuals, officially submitted a no vote.

Here are two tweets posted yesterday afternoon by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), "the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives":

Congressman Justin Amash officially submitted his 'no' vote in the congressional record on the bipartisan coronavirus relief bill that puts #FamiliesFirst amid the COVID-19 pandemic. #MI03

"During a national crisis, it's unfortunate that Congressman Justin Amash would once again adhere to an extreme, out-of-touch ideology, even when it means risking the health, well-being, and economic security of thousands of #MI03." —DCCC Spokesperson @Court_Rice

Thirty minutes later, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), "a political committee devoted to increasing the number of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives," posted these two tweets:

Congressman Justin Amash officially submitted his 'no' vote in the congressional record on the bipartisan coronavirus relief bill that puts #FamiliesFirst amid the COVID-19 pandemic. #MI03

"During a national crisis, it's unfortunate that Congressman Justin Amash would once again work against President Trump, even when it means risking the health, well-being, and economic security of thousands of #MI03." —NRCC Spokeswoman @CarlyAtch

To which Amash replied: "There's about as much independent thinking here as there is in Congress."

We're constantly being told that we live in increasingly and uniquely polarized times, when the differences between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, have never been more pronounced or stark.

And yet by the most basic measure of government—spending—we have effectively been living under one-party rule for the entire 21st century. Despite regular turnover of the White House and both houses of Congress, Democrats and Republicans have consistently come together to spend more money, through major terrorist attacks, a historic financial crisis, and now a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) pandemic. Since 2000, we've had only three years in which federal spending declined year over year (2010, 2012, and 2013; see table 1.1). Since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Washington has increased real spending by $1,441 per person—and that was before the CARES Act passed. There will surely be still more federal spending increases between now and the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The 2020 budget was already a record-high $4.8 trillion; it will likely end up coming in somewhere between $6 trillion and $7 trillion.

Democrats and Republicans will surely continue to disagree about exactly what to spend ever-larger sums of money on, but as that record—and the identical responses to Amash's dissent—make clear, they agree completely on more fundamental issues.

Here's my interview with Thomas Massie about his attempt to force a recorded vote on the CARES Act and the bipartisan anger directed his way:

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NEXT: Moot Court in a Time of Coronavirus

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  1. Just to recap about Massie – he insisted on enforcing the Constitutional quorum requirement. The outrage was that Congresscritters often wink at constitutional violations and operate without a quorum, and as long as nobody raises an objection, they get away with it. So why couldn’t this unconstitutional practice be applied to a 2 trillion dollar spending bill? How evil!

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    1. And of course, people affected by laws passed on voice vote without a quorum have no recourse because the courts have decided that the quorum requirement is “non-justisable”.

    2. I won’t go so far as to say that the parties are utterly the same. But they are certainly both utterly useless in a crisis. Republicans who want to claim they are defenders of the constitution and aren’t Massey can suck it.

  2. And although I would never suggest that Amash’s impeachment vote was motivated by anything other than pure principle, it’s interesting that his breaking with the Republicans on this issue doesn’t seem to have earned him any credit with the Democratic wing of the duopoly.

    1. Dems will never support a libertarian, because he supports the 2nd Amendment and wants to reduce the size of the government.

    2. “I would never suggest that Amash’s impeachment vote was motivated by anything other than pure principle”

      Yes, and those principles are self-promotion and attention seeking. When I read him flat out lying in his statement on the Mueller report, I realized he was just another poseur playing a political gadfly.
      His denunciations of Trump arise from the same intrinsic motives as Romney’s.

  3. Even though I certainly don’t agree with Amash “across the board,” I would vote for him for any office in the land just to piss off the D and R hierarchy, which seems to be hell-bent on doing anything — anything — just to retain their political power.

  4. What the DeRps have proven is that he who controls the money controls the govt and the agenda of what is acceptable discussion.

    The only solution is to break the money monopoly from outside the system. DeRp’s won’t do that – period. It was always a delusion to believe that ‘working inside the tent’ was ever anything but a DeRp success in coopting dissatisfaction.

    How to get from here to there. Well that is certainly an issue

    1. If by the money monopoly you mean campaign contributions, that’s not the relevant measure. What it takes to control the government is to control a party, and what it takes to control a party isn’t campaign money but votes; and votes can be amassed at minimal cost using caucuses.
      We just need a party that’s designed well enough to select candidates who will limit government by using their constitutional powers to limit other government people. A good design will inspire interest and confidence. I outline what all is needed in my book The Constitution Needs a Good Party: Good Government Comes from Good Boundaries.

      1. Actually by the money monopoly I mean the ability of both parties and banks to create $2 trillion in money debt to be paid by future generations without so much as even a single question even being allowed to be asked outside the party establishments about that. The US dollar itself is now being used as an instrument of generational warfare. Yes big money in campaigns is part of that but it is much much deeper. No – a party does not control government because that money controls both parties. Keeping that money system alive is the entire rationale for this recent stimulus

        Millennials and Z’s have simply got to stop using dollars as their unit of account and their medium of exchange. And no the solution is no longer some third party. That possibility has already been killed by the duopoly. This is not remotely a fair fight. It is warfare.

        1. “It is warfare.” – Its getting there fast…
          “that money controls both parties” – might be the launching point. When people stop working for the USD and use bitcoin and rebel against the IRS trying to tax it to death; that might by the only way to de-power the federal government at this point.

  5. In a completely irrelevant aside – John Gray has an interesting take on coronavirus as the end of today’s version of globalization.

    1. Let me guess, people are from Mars, the coronavirus is from Venus?

      1. The coronavirus is from the Middle Kingdom. Or the hermit kingdom. It’s one of those khanates.

    2. Huh…a few thoughts about that:

      The once formidable British state is being rapidly reinvented, and on a scale not seen before. Acting with emergency powers authorised by parliament, the government has tossed economic orthodoxy to the winds. Savaged by years of imbecilic austerity, the NHS – like the armed forces, police, prisons, fire service, care workers and cleaners – has its back to the wall. But with the noble dedication of its workers, the virus will be held at bay.

      Already losing interest with “savaged by years of imbecilic austerity” but let’s plod on…

      We have references to “resisting the cult of the minimal state.” Where, exactly, is that in force?

      Ultimately, I find the argument that somehow “limiting growth” to “protect people” is absurd. Economic growth is not Scrooge swimming in gold. It is the very source of protection, comfort, and prosperity for people. Why do so many progressives think these can be disentangled?

      We have this too:

      . But those who believe personal autonomy is the innermost human need betray an ignorance of psychology, not least their own. For practically everyone, security and belonging are as important, often more so. Liberalism was, in effect, a systematic denial of this fact.

      It would be hard to deny that many, or even most people prefer security to freedom. I don’t see how I’d be denying my own psychology saying I prefer freedom–who is this author to say I don’t? Nor do I see this as evidence that ” Liberalism [is] systematic denial of this fact.” It is entirely possible to say that people value safety more than freedom, but that freedom is nonetheless more important. Many of the world’s great religious traditions, after all, understand that what man desires and what he ought to desire are quite different.

      1. The kindest thing I can say is that most people think like children, and want child status. They really have no idea where things come from, how work is related to their own and others’ productivity and prosperity, and most of all, want someone, ANYONE, to take responsibility and worries away. That this might somehow backfire or at least lead to a diminished life is beyond them because, again, they think like children.

      2. Ultimately, I find the argument that somehow “limiting growth” to “protect people” is absurd. Economic growth is not Scrooge swimming in gold. It is the very source of protection, comfort, and prosperity for people. Why do so many progressives think these can be disentangled?

        Because of fundamental economic illiteracy? I think they genuinely believe that the economy is a zero-sum game; the only way you can get richer is to make me poorer.

      3. Economic growth is not Scrooge swimming in gold. It is the very source of protection, comfort, and prosperity for people.

        You obviously haven’t been paying attention. There was no economic growth the second the virus came into consciousness and people started providing massive evidence that they themselves were going into hiding by hoarding toilet paper.

        Feb was a remarkable month really. Asia dealt with the virus, the West ignored it and pretended that we were idk immune from that? Govt did not lead anything. It followed and lagged. Which is fine but that is also why we now have a bigger problem than Asia does and why the virus has become a major turning point in our society.

        Trying to restore ‘economic growth’ ante-virus is denial. There is only economic growth post-virus. And the fact that you can’t even acknowledge the impact of the virus – in that comment – tells me you are talking about ante-virus world

        1. I see you’ve bought into the China lie… Back in December I watched the infected spike over 500,000; today; they are pretending cumulative cases is only 50,000… What’s funny is anyone paying even the slightest attention would’ve noticed it… The fact so many buy into a blatant lie is baffling.

        2. Man, I wish someone had thought to suggest closing the border and stopping travel from China.

          They’d probably be called racist and xenophobic though.

  6. The difference in Democrats and Republicans is the same as between Coke and Pepsi. And people act the same about both.

    1. But Pepsi is the choice of a new generation!

  7. ” After Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) tried to instigate a conventional recorded vote on the measure, the House passed it on a voice vote so that individual members didn’t have to go on the record supporting it. ”

    That is the assertion of a credulous, tone-deaf, naive ideologue.

    Or, in this case, two such ideologues.

    1. Yeah, how dare he hold congress to their constitutional mandates.

      Go eat a bag of dicks you racist hick.

      1. Why did Massie stand aside and enable such an abomination hundreds of times before, yet be such a counterproductive, isolated contrarian in this circumstance?

        Because he is an anti-social (likely on the spectrum) crank with no sense of proportion, social skills, or genuine empathy.

        Other disaffected losers will self-identify by applauding.

        1. You realize you’re supporting a bill supported by most Republicans, right? Which means you’ll be numbered with the clinger goats when the sheep and the goats are separated and the goats are cast into the abyss of progress.

          1. And you’re aware of whose signature is on the bill, right?

    2. Any bill passed without a quorum is illegal. Reminding Congressmen to show up before they jack up federal spending by 50 percent and add 2.3 trillion to the national debt makes someone a pariah now.

      1. When we get our checks (or electronic deposits) I hope someone sues the government for abuse with an unconstitutional law. We are not lazy dependent sheep, even though that’s what they want.

        1. If only there were a court that would hear such a case.

  8. “there are very few meaningful differences between the Republicans and Democrats”

    That is a daft assertion, the work of an inconsequential crank.

    1. Inconsequential, yet consequential enough for you to complain.

      Daft, and inconsequential, yet apparently your rebuttal was even more daft, since you couldn’t back it up with anything more substantial than name-calling.

      1. Artie’s logic circuits are overloaded when Democrats and Republicans get together to do something big and complex.

        How does he respond? Does he call the Republicans names, thereby criticizing the Democrats by association? That would not compute.

        And discussing a large and nuanced issue is obviously not part of his programming.

        So his circuits start overheating and he spits invective more or less at random.

        1. “So his circuits start overheating and he spits invective more or less at random.”

          That’s his normal mode of operation.

    2. One the subject of spending, there are no meaningful differences. But you are such a fucking asshole you cannot bring yourself to see that. The problem lies with you.

    3. While leftist (Democrat) and nationalist (Trumplican) politicians gain ground for statism, all government employees hold that ground.

  9. On a technical note — how are voice votes conducted, and how could this one be declared unanimous when several reps say they would have voted against it given the opportunity? Did speaker Pelosi just say the Ayes sounded so numerous and loud there was no need to ask for Nays?

    1. When there are no “no” votes cast, the result may be recorded as unanimous according to congressional rules, but not under Robert’s rules of order (article VIII).

      Action taken by unanimous consent does not necessarily mean that it was taken by a unanimous vote (i.e. it does not necessarily mean that every member of the body would have voted in favor of the proposal). It may mean that members feeling that it would be useless to oppose a matter would simply acquiesce.
      For example, passing legislation via unanimous consent does not require that every member of a legislature, nor that a majority of members, nor even a quorum of representatives, be present to vote. Unanimous consent merely requires that no representative of those present has asked to take a recorded vote or has requested quorum verification. For this reason, a claim that a piece of legislation was passed “unanimously”, when in fact it was passed via “unanimous consent”, can be misleading as to its level of support.

      1. That’s not the question I was asking.

        What actually happens for a voice vote? It would seem to include asking for Yeas and Nays and deciding one was louder or had more voices. Yet Massie says he was not given any opportunity to register his Nay, which implies the Yeas were so loud that Speaker Pelosi skipped the Nays voice vote.

        That is what I want to know.

        1. It’s on You-tube – All the “no’s” (which there was more than one) mostly came from the nose bleed section (upper-balcony)… It was such a crook…

  10. The only significant difference between Democrats and Republicans is who they pander to and who they hurl hate and vitriol at.

    1. Amen

      1. Love how the most worthless commentators here that never actually offer any substance are the ones who preen as the only true independents.

      1. Cool.
        Name the R equivalent to the Green New Deal
        Or Medicare for all
        Or “free” college for all
        Or student debt forgiveness
        Or the ERA
        Or court packing
        Or wealth taxes
        Or open borders
        Or hate speech laws

        1. Nixon’s EPA.
          Bush Jr’s Prescriptions.
          Republicans have talked of making student loans cheaper, of court packing. Reagan signed gun control laws. Republicans hate burning flags.

          If you think politics is so divided, your are deluded. The differences you see right now are ephemeral.

          1. Yea, totes equivalent.

            You don’t have to like the R party (I’m not a fan myself) to admit that the Ds are full on totalitarian.

            But hey, what’s logic when you have dogmatic faith.
            “Both sides” uber alles!

            1. You think Republicans are not wannabe dictators?

              Every politicians, by definition, wants to control everybody else. The only difference is how far up the power pole they have risen, and whether their faction is in control or not.

              1. Actually the GOP platform goals are very well-written. The elected GOP politicians (as of CARES Act) run’s a 99% of all being RINO’S!

                1. 99%? The reasonable thing to do at this point would be to cast aside this farcical term of ‘RINO,’ and just admit to the reality that they ARE Republicans, in name and deed. ‘RINO’ is simply one of those terms that people use to avoid facing the ugly truth.

                  1. Yup. It’s hilarious when people call the mainstream of the party “RINOs”. As if there is some perfect, ideal of Republicanism (in the sense of the US Republican party).

                    1. Maybe it’s time to start the “Real Republican Party” – and find a way to kick-out any RINOs that appear in it.

              2. “Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf
                April.4.2020 at 6:20 pm
                You think Republicans are not wannabe dictators?
                Every politicians, by definition, wants to control everybody else. The only difference is how far up the power pole they have risen, and whether their faction is in control or not.”

                Yes, I pointed out that your belief is dogmatic faith.
                And you responded by stating a tenet of your dogmatic faith.

        2. The Dems want to spend even more if they get the chance, no doubt.
          But the Repubs never cut spending, they just shift it more to defense contractors, and maybe increase it less per year than the Dems.

          GW Bush jacked up spending 6 percent a year. Gore was planning to jack it up 8 percent a year. It’s an easy call on which poison to pick, but both are poison.

          Rand Paul in 2016 would have cut spending. Gary Johnson would have cut spending. Neither one gained much of a public following, even though both were demonstrably smarter and better qualified than the Clinton or Trump.

          1. To be fair, they cut spending when a democrat is prez.

            1. Last time we got Obamacare… Not sure I want to take that chance again.

  11. they did that to shield current members from having to explain their votes in the fall’s election.

    No matter. They’ll all be voted out, right?

    1. If we are still in lock-down, will the election even happen?

      1. Not if the Democrats can help it.

        1. Only grandmother sex can help everybody, so try it now!

      2. Trump has said they will no matter what. Not sure how they’ll spin that as authoritarian and dictatorial, but I’m sure it’ll be retarded.

      3. If we’re still in lockdown in November, a lot of governors are going to lose their jobs too.

    2. “They’ll all be voted out, right?” — Would absolutely LOVE to do this…

      Problem seems to be anyone running for office proves over and over again to be a RINO when push comes to shove. I had a ton of faith in Trump being exceptional ( Deregulation, Tax cuts, policy cuts ) – then BOOM he not only signs but supports the biggest COMMUNISTIC bill to ever hit congress.

      1. Something about true Scotsmen. When the GOP consistently doesn’t something, it’s increasingly hard to argue with a straight face that that something isn’t exactly what the party does.

        1. Edit: *does* something. Bleeding phone typing.

    3. Its actually a pretty stupid argument IMO. 1. People will assume most Congressmen voted for it, so will assume their Congressman did. 2. The relief bill is actually pretty popular and its more likely that reps that didn’t support it would lose votes.

      Massie’s logic on this is pretty bad.

      1. “reps that didn’t support it would lose votes” — They lost my vote; so long as a lesser-evil presents itself.

      2. Then why did they resist a recorded vote?

        I think as people learn more about the bill, it will become less popular. And people will start to ask why no one questioned any of the more ridiculous parts.

  12. So, what’s the difference between Massie and Amash?

    Massie was trying to enforce Constitutional rules.

    Amash didn’t want to vote for anything that wasn’t Pelosi’s wish list.

    1. ^THIS^

      Massie is the one who took the nationally politically-unpopular position to force following the constitution. Amash was AWOL.
      On the lkeft end of the Dem side “the squad” was fine with $Trillions in corporate bailouts.

    2. ^EXACTLY^ – Amash is a disgrace; not sure why Reason keeps championing him. He left the Republican party to turn Democrat.

      It’s right here…
      “On Friday, Amash, who consistently criticized the CARES Act for giving the lion’s share of the money to corporations and other special interests rather than individuals, officially submitted a no vote.”
      — He was all for communism as long as individuals got their stolen money.

      1. Even Massey seemed to be for the money to individuals if you watch his interview with Nick. I don’t think anyone in congress was ready to argue against that. But that costs billions, not trillions.

  13. Why is it that we never talk about the bill the GOP wanted? The one that wasn’t crammed full of the Democrat wish-list items that they held aid to the forceably quarantined American populace hostage over?

    1. Both sides my man, both sides. Just get with the program already.

    2. Because it didn’t have a realistic chance of going anywhere, it shows how unserious the Republicans were.

      Hey, it works at election time when everyone gives us shit for voting libertarian/not voting.

    3. Because the GOP never talks about it. If they really wanted it, why did they all vote for the other one?

  14. Of course we’re the same, we’re all human.

    Our differences are the results of the consequences of the choices we make and the opportunities of where live.

    All choices boil down to truth or lies.

    During this pandemic, even liars recognize that choosing truth may be the difference between life and death.

    So we choose truth and we are the same again as temporary as it may be

    1. What “truth” are you referring to?

      1. He’s gotten so much backtalk on his Holocaust denial that he has simply stopped mentioning it by name; he may as well be a Holocaust denier denier.

        1. Just when I said we’re all human you demonstrate that you’re a troll.

    2. “…All choices boil down to truth or lies…”

      Nobody’s got you beat on the lies, bigot.

    3. “So we choose truth” —- B#LL!!!…. SH*T!!!….
      The “truth” is the USA is defined by the U.S. Constitution – That Constitution doesn’t allow the federal government to do wealth redistribution no matter what BECAUSE it is theft!

      1. The constitution is good but it doesn’t represent every situation.

        Truth relates to an unambiguous question. It doesn’t specifically address what hadn’t been conceived. Is an open to the public internet discussion a public discussion?

        Dipshits keep trying to pound square pegs in round holes, interpreting their favourite documents of the whole truth.

        1. The constitution represents every situation the government is allowed to act in. Hence ‘enumerated powers’. That’s not every situation, but the rest of the situations are left to the states or the people.

          1. You are saying that at the time of the writing of the constitution, all possible future issues were understood.

            Show me where the constitution states that they recognized that.

            1. The ability to ratify it….. Article XII of the U.S. Constitution..
              Now that wasn’t so hard. It’s shocking how many people live here and know absolutely NOTHING about living here.

              The idea that disease didn’t ever exist on or before 1787 is just complete ignorance. The idea that ignoring the Constitution entirely (ignoring the rules that define the USA) instead of using the much harder to attain ratification process is down-right cheating, criminal, treasonous and every other term one would use to describe the worst of people.

              1. That doesn’t in any way address what I said.

                You can try to explain how you think it does, or admit that you can’t.

                1. The Founders recognized that there were things that they could not anticipate, hence the Amendment process.

                  They knew that there were unknown unknowns!

                  1. Right.

  15. The most important difference between modern Democrats and Republicans involves their positions on the fundamental, non-negotiable issue for Koch / Reason libertarians: immigration.

    As we all know, the GOP has been taken over by alt-right white nationalists. At the same time, Democrats are rapidly embracing the open borders agenda promoted by billionaires like Reason.com’s benefactor Charles Koch. I remain confident in my prediction that Joe Biden will explicitly run and win on an open borders platform. Especially since the #TrumpVirus has undoubtedly made unlimited, unrestricted immigration even more popular among American voters.

    #ImmigrationAboveAll
    #VoteBidenForOpenBorders

  16. The twin congressional committee tweets not only mirrored how the parties take the same actions but also mirrored how the Republicans always follow the Democrats’ lead.

    1. True.
      Establishment machines aren’t about ideology or values, they’re about class – that’s where true loyalty lies.
      They have their intramural rivalries, more and less heated, but career politicians will always sacrifice their claimed ideology, values, or principles to maintain their neo-aristocratic membership.
      See: Amash, Justin

      1. I can see how you’d describe their actions as preserving class membership, because they do move as a herd.

        But I would call the underlying belief system an ideology. They believe that a big government like they are part of is the best thing for them and for everyone else. And they show this in their actions, that are always focused on defying the Constitution – which, if followed, would make the national government they’re in now be limited and normally invisible.

        1. Yes, a progressive ideology – that they are “betters” fit to rule.
          My point wasn’t dismissing ideology or values altogether, but mostly dismissing those things as causes of interfactional rivalry. There are few exceptions, but they’re spectacular when they occur. You see it with the reactions to Trump and to Massie’s demand they present themselves for a quorum.
          Interestingly, you see it also in Reason’s lauding of Amash, as they come down enthusiastically (at best, as useful idiots) on the progressive class side.

  17. MuH BoTH SIDes!!!!

  18. There does seem to be one distinction between the two parties – one of them seems much better at keeping their promises about what they’re going to do once they’re in power.

  19. People should realize that, despite all the spendthrift bluster of Democrats, Republicans seem to be far better at actually spending the most money. Democrats talk a big game but when it comes time to pull up a chair at the all-you-can-eat budget-buffet Republicans have them beat.

    1. Really? I wonder what the Stimulus bill would have cost if the Dems also controlled the Senate? Oink oink to the max.

      1. This is the argument I always see. “If the democrats had been in charge right now it would have been so much worse” but the democrats aren’t in charge and when they were in charge it wasn’t. They talk big and promise their base the moon, but when the final scoreboard is tallied they always end up spending the least. Now why is that? I’m not holding them up as paragons of fiscal responsibility. Far from it. Obama’s presidency was defined by an unrelenting tide of red ink that threatened (and continues to threaten) the future of our country. Obamacare is a middle finger to the very concept of economics that is neither affordable nor provides care and given how much of its defined by administrative fiat is only questionably an act of congress.

        [DEEP BREATH]

        That said, he got outspent by both Bush and Trump. Fantasize all you like about how poor we’d be with AOC in the oval office but the scoreboard says what it says.

        1. That you’re wrong

        2. he got outspent by both Bush and Trump

          No, that’s just false.

    2. You do realize that over 80% of the CARES Act’s provisions were pitched by Democrats right? Oh, yeah sorry – that kind of slaps right in the face the faulty narrative your trying to BS us with doesn’t it.

    3. The fact that they’re sending us back money we earned that they could have spent seems to have eluded you completely, but when that money shows up in your bank account, I bet you won’t conflate it with government spending at all. You’ll use it for something you want but you couldn’t afford otherwise or you’ll make house payment or rent payment you would have missed otherwise, or you’ll pay down your credit card, or you’ll save it for a rainy day–and you’ll know there’s a difference between the government sending you back some of the money you earned and the government spending it. Even if you won’t admit you see the difference, you’ll see it, and you won’t be able to unsee it. The benefit will continue to be there no matter how hard you try to ignore it.

      1. “sending us back money we earned” — actually that provision is not in the CARES Act at all.

        I’m wildly tempted to cut my ‘welfare’ check in half and send each half to both my senators with a note – STOP STEALING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY and sending it to me; I am not a crook you are!!!!

        1. Maybe not in your case, but the overwhelming majority of it will be going back to people who were routinely paying it in.

          1. If that was true it would be a tax-refund now wouldn’t it be? But it isn’t; its purely enacting another step of Economic Communism.

          2. the overwhelming majority of it will be going back to people who were routinely paying it in.

            No. It will be paid by our grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. It is all borrowed money.

            1. Giving money back to today’s taxpayers isn’t taking it away from future generations because returning money to the people who earned it isn’t really spending.

              Giving money back to the people who earned it is like returning a stolen wallet full of money back to its rightful owner. That isn’t spending either.

              1. Bit it is all money that they are going to take from people again later, in one way or another.
                The money to individuals is certainly the least offensive part of the bill. I agree it’s different from government spending. But it’s well under half of the bill and doesn’t represent any real reduction in the rate they are stealing from us.

                1. “Bit it is all money that they are going to take from people again later, in one way or another.”

                  I don’t understand the logic here.

                  Because the government will steal more money from the taxpayers in the future, the government shouldn’t give the taxpayers back some of their money now?

                  Giving money back to the taxpayers who earned it is only “spending” in a bureaucrat’s mind, when they’re assuming that your money belongs to them.

                  You’re still conflating giving money back to taxpayers with taking money away from taxpayers–and they are not the same thing. If you can’t keep the difference straight in your own mind, how will you explain the difference to other people?

                  I oppose spending because it takes money from the taxpayers, but I oppose giving money back to the taxpayers because that’s spending?

                  Does not compute.

                  I support giving the taxpayers their money back now, and I support giving the taxpayers their money back in the future.

                  1. I’m not saying it’s not a good thing to give money back to tax payers. Only that it’s a pretty small good that doesn’t offset the pile of shit that is the majority of the bill. If it’s a redeeming feature, it doesn’t redeem much.

              2. Giving money back to the people who earned it is like returning a stolen wallet full of money back to its rightful owner. That isn’t spending either.

                But the ostensible reason the money was taken in the first place was to pay for something, and that thing was paid for, and then a few more things were paid for that there wasn’t even enough money to pay for. The reason you pay taxes is so that the government can spend that money to provide goods and services. But when the government prints its own money and spends that and then prints some more to “refund” you one might start to wonder why they are even paying taxes in the first place. Is it just so that the money can be redistributed by only “refunding” the “right” sort of people?

                1. Keynes was right about at least one thing: the government has no marginal propensity to save during a liquidity crisis.

                  At those times, the government will spend 1) every penny it can get in cash through taxes plus 2) every penny it can borrow.

                  The money they’re sending us is coming out of the money they get in cash through taxes. Preventing the government from getting the cash we earn by suspending payroll taxes would have been better, but the Democrats control the House–so we’re doing the next best thing.

                  They are not returning more cash to us than they’re collecting, and the solution to government borrowing is not to raise taxes. I oppose sending money to people who don’t pay taxes–and that part of it might contribute to debt at the expense of the taxpayers–but the government sending some of the cash people earn back to the people who earned it does not increase borrowing.

                  It reduces what we’re really talking about when we talk about spending.

                  The reason Sacramento didn’t spend more of our money by raising property taxes was Prop 13 prohibited them from raising property taxes. If California had more taxpayer money to spend, it would not have saved the taxpayers money by making California borrow less. The government will never be so flush with cash that it decides to cut spending. Rather, they will first spend every penny they get in cash through taxes that year + whatever they can borrow. Cutting taxes or sending that cash back to the people who earned it, therefore, doesn’t increase spending. It cuts spending to whatever level the government can borrow. The way to prevent drunken sailors from spending our money is not to give them more of our money to spend. It’s to cut them off.

        2. Not sure what you mean by that.

          Trump’s initial proposal was to suspend payroll taxes through the end of December 2020. The Democrats objected because that would mean people who don’t work for a living would get nothing.

          The fact that President Trump and the Republicans were so committed to giving working people back some of the money they earned but pay in taxes that they were willing to send checks to people who don’t work for a living, too, that doesn’t do anything to diminish the Republicans’ commitment to giving working people some of their money back.

          Rather, if the Republicans were willing to go along with the Democrats–if that’s what it takes to put money back into the hands of the working people who earned it, then that underscores the depth of their commitment to letting working people keep the money they earn.

          Do you really imagine that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans on that issue?

          1. “if that’s what it takes to put money back into the hands of the working people who earned it”

            YOU ARE WRONG AND MANIPULATIVELY DECEITFUL….

            Do you really think everyone is going to be spending that $1200 ‘welfare’ check ONLY on government services??? What service does the government provide anyways? Are you under some delusion that the government is doing less so you’re getting a refund??????????????????

            When you get your $1200 *free* you get to “buy” other peoples work/labor/goods/services AND WHAT did YOU do in return???? Nothing, absolutely nothing at all — You are enslaving them!!!! – taking their efforts and returning NOTHING!!!

            Communism = legal slavery

            You can squirm, make excuses, and paint faulty narratives all you want – It’s a step of enacting communism at the federal level – the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow communism BECAUSE this country is based on individual justice and liberty NOT dictation and slavery.

            1. “Do you really think everyone is going to be spending that $1200 ‘welfare’ check ONLY on government services?”

              I guess you pay less than $1,200 a year in payroll taxes every year?

              And what does paying for government services have to do with anything?

              WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump told lawmakers he wants a payroll tax cut that would last at least through the election to give consumer spending a jolt as the coronavirus threatens to cripple economic growth.

              “The president told Republicans at a closed-door lunch Tuesday that he wants the payroll tax rate to drop to zero through the end of the year, according to a White House and a Senate official.

              Another White House official added that different timelines were discussed. Trump is currently backing only those that would stretch through at least November or December, with some talk of expanding the cuts beyond 2020.”

              —-NBC News

              https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-proposes-payroll-tax-cut-through-end-year-n1154656

              This is why we’re getting $1,200 each rather than being taxed at an even greater rate to pay for Keynesian stimulus or bailing out the states.

              And if you can’t tell the difference between the Republicans sending us $1,200 and the Democrats spending our money, that’s a problem with your head, not mine.

              1. “what does paying for government services have to do with anything?”

                If I (say a business) give you $1200 of credit – I am held responsible for that giving. I must personally credit you that. The government isn’t *giving* anything because they don’t make anything. They are 3rd party bank thieves stealing other people’s money and giving it away. That money is representative of government services – it is representative of ANYONE’S labor.

                The fact that you are set on deceptively trying to associate other peoples labor with your own communistic bill to government (granite; just another despicable act of government) is the manipulation game you’re trying to play.

                You’re essentially trying to tell us you should be able to steal other peoples labor today so your own communistic (payroll tax) bill will get paid.

                If you’re going to pretend your communistic bill (payroll tax) doesn’t deserve to get paid – you must first end gov SS & Medicare.

              2. hint, hint — “Are you under some delusion that the government is doing less so you’re getting a refund??????????????????”

  20. Because Senate Democrats are further to the right than the House Democrats doesn’t mean that there is little difference between Senate Republicans and the Republican White House, on one hand, and House Democrats on the other hand. If Democrats were in control of either the White House or the Senate, the coronavirus rescue package would have looked much different than it did–especially in two respects.

    1) Taking money away from government and giving it to consumers through $1,200 checks, etc. is the exact opposite of what Keynesian fiscal stimulus does, which is all about taking money away from consumers because of their marginal propensity to save in a liquidity crisis and giving it to the government to spend.

    Monetary stimulus through lending to businesses and is also vastly different from the Keynesian stimulus Democrats have advocated since before World War II, in these situations, and that’s why Krugman and other Keynesian luminaries have disparaged the coronavirus rescue package so.

    2) if the Democrats were in control of the White House, the rescue package would have looked more like Obama’s stimulus plan, which was all about shoring up the state budgets of states with huge pension liabilities–California, Illinois, and New York foremost among them.

    1. Obama’s stimulus plan, which was all about shoring up the state budgets of states with huge pension liabilities–California, Illinois, and New York foremost among them.

      Those states are getting hit big time by the Hubei virus. Karma is a bitch.

      1. One thing that should make average people even angrier than when they used our future paychecks to bail out Wall Street back in 2008 is using our future paychecks to bail out California’s, Illinois’, and New York’s pension funds.

        If a Tea Party like movement erupted against any attempts to bail out the states, I’d like to be part of it.

        1. I’d like to see a new movement called the “Real Republican Party” – one who isn’t always lobbying for x,y or z change mobster-style but instead remains wildly patriotic and steadfast on the U.S. Constitutional provisions; which strangely enough the GOP platform is well-stated yet there aren’t any GOP platform supporters in the GOP party anymore it seems.

    2. There’s lots of time for that still, Ken. Don’t be so sure that the senate and Trump won’t be going along with just what you describe soon enough.

      1. Yeah, and I’ll oppose it when the pork comes through, and there was pork in the bill they passed.

        That being said, the bill was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than TARP and Obama’s fiscal stimulus package, and I won’t pretend otherwise.

        Because two things aren’t perfectly libertarian or perfectly capitalist doesn’t make them equally bad. Getting a ticket for protesting and being shot for criticizing the government are both short of being perfectly libertarian, too–but one of them is far better than the other.

        1. TARP – while wildly anti-constitution and a communistic theft proved to be the best so far; as it’s cost was entirely returned by the same sector that received it. Society wasn’t strapped with someone else’s debt. Obama’s bills was the AARA (3x what TARP cost) and returned nothing so was really a full-out communistic theft.

          BTW – TARP was enacted under Bush Jr. Bush Jr. wildly sucked but still was 10x better than Obama.

          1. TARP wasn’t entirely returned.

            They paid the investors full face value for mortgage backed securities that were trading at a fraction of their face value, and the investors (and dead beat borrowers) who were bailed out were not the ones who returned the funds. The funds were returned by banks and others, many of whom were forced to participate against their will. Barack Obama made it against the law to return TARP funds without approval from the government specifically so he could keep the government in charge of their salary policies–which shows you how fucked up and stupid his priorities were.

            In the meantime, the TARP funds that were returned were not used to retire debt or returned to the taxpayers. Rather, those were the funds that Obama and the Democrats used to fund his stimulus package.

            “The approximate cost of the economic stimulus package was estimated to be $787 billion at the time of passage, later revised to $831 billion between 2009 and 2019.[1] The ARRA’s rationale was based on the Keynesian economic theory that, during recessions, the government should offset the decrease in private spending with an increase in public spending in order to save jobs and stop further economic deterioration.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_of_2009

            You seem to be wrong about everything.

            1. Since we are using wikipedia —
              “On December 19, 2014, the U.S. Treasury sold its remaining holdings of Ally Financial, essentially ending the program. TARP recovered funds totalling $441.7 billion from $426.4 billion invested, earning a $15.3 billion profit”
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Asset_Relief_Program

              And since AARA was 2009; I’m not sure where you get the idea its recovered funds were used up by AARA. Frankly, “You seem to be wrong about everything” but honestly; I don’t care either way.

              My biggest concern is the way the federal government is ever so increasingly creating a communistic economy.

  21. When we talk about the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, we should be real clear what we’re talking about.

    I suspect it’s true that the center of the Democratic party is much further to the right than it appears by looking at the House. I remember when the center of the Democratic party was so far to the right that it made the difference in electing Ronald Reagan–and handed Reagan a landslide four years later. It’s easy to forget that those Democrats went back to voting for people like Bill Clinton shortly after Reagan left office–once the party put up a candidate like Clinton, who was much further to the right than the Democratic establishment, but right in the middle of the Democratic voters.

    The same thing is happening with President Trump with one major difference. Yeah, President Trump won the primary in 2016 because of the help of registered Democrats who voted for him in open primary states because they were being chased out of the Democratic party by social justice types. Yeah, President Trump won the election in 2016 with the help of traditionally Democratic swing state voters in the rust belt–just like Reagan did and for the exact same reasons, because the Democratic Party drifted so far to the left that they became openly hostile to their own base.

    The one thing that hasn’t happened before is that the news media has become so openly hostile to President Trump–much more so than they were against President Reagan–that people now identify the Democratic Party and the news media as being the same thing. When average people are talking about the differences between Republicans and Democrats, they’re not talking about the differences between House Democrats and Senate Republicans. They’re talking about the difference between President Trump and Rachel Maddow.

    The news media is now a stand-in for what it means to be a Democrat, and that’s a big problem for the Democratic party, especially when you consider the hatred average Americans feel for journalists and journalism these days.

  22. Yeah, Dems and Repubs both criticize the few sane Congressmen like Amash and Massie who dare point out that the federal government doesn’t have 2.3 trillion dollars to give away, and it will balloon the government’s debt to 25 trillion.

    Maybe just end the panic lockdowns and let people get back to work and they won’t need a bailout.

    1. All citizen lock-downs were never needed. The FDA blocked “banned” general people the ability to test for COVID-19 so the ONLY reason “All citizens” are being locked down is because the FDA is an arrogant dictator making a bad problem far, far worse.

      Employers could be testing employees weekly or daily and those that know will self-isolate. Not knowing is the root of the spreading problem and since government has decided they will carry the “knowing” monopoly then we all know this will never get fixed.

      1. The goal was to nuke the economy and get rid of Trump. Destroy the UsA if necessary.

        If the Lefties cannot have America than nobody can.

        1. The death total has been increasing at an average rate of about 15% PER DAY for the past 6 weeks in the US. If this rate continues the number of deaths per day could be 20,000 in 3 weeks, and 300,000 PER DAY in 6 weeks. Without accurate data on the number of infected people this could either continue for several more months, or peter out in a couple of weeks. The most likely scenario is that it will continue for about 3-4 weeks, and then there will be a slow decline into a near steady death rate.

          The guy who wrote that article is full of it. If you look closely you will see that by week 13 the normal winter peak in deaths has declined back to the ‘background’ rate from the winter peak. We are in week 14 and the death toll is still rising in many places like the USA and the Nordic countries, and not receding much in Spain or France.

          1. Your citations fell off.

            In the USA 1,700,000 tests. 325,000 infected. 9,000 dead. The hysteria is completely irrational.

            1. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

              You will have to work out the 15% for yourself.

          2. OMG! At that rate, before long a billion Americans will be dying every day!

            See how that doesn’t work? Worst case scenario, there are only so many nursing homes in this country for the Wuhan Virus to knock out before we start running out of easy pickings.

  23. Whew! Hard day of driving around in APCs waving the stars and stripes and the Gadsden flag. Having people cheer us on and waiving to all the Georgians out and about this weekend.

    1. Sounds fun!

      1. It was! This was clearly the weekend where more and more Americans are getting out and hanging out with the nicer weather. Ignoring these unconstitutional government decrees.

        Im using an iPad so its harder to link a story which describes how commute and all-hour traffic is hovering around 60% of normal. This means millions of Americans are driving around and thereby defying these Lefty states and their martial law decrees.

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  25. Congress people, Senators and House Reps., all have one thing in common, getting reelected and staying in power. The difference is who they pander to hoping to get the majority of the votes.

  26. When it comes to spending, there is a point. There really is not much difference between Team D & Team R. On other matters, there is a world of difference.

    1. Politicians buy votes – with your money. Are Rs and Ds politicians? So they will buy votes.

      1. My hope is that the people can stop falling for the “I’ll give you three pennies for one dollar” trick and elect politicians that won’t keep using gun-threats to steal the dollar.

        1. “I’ll give you three pennies for one dollar” = current stimulus package, and most people are going to wait quite some time to get their pennies.

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  28. The government is in crisis “something must be done” mode, so the most important thing is getting something done, not ideological adherence to principle. The problem here is that Reason’s veteran writers have spent the past 10 years or so talking themselves into the idea that libertarianism is the center of the American political spectrum. It just is not. It would be nice if it was, but it is not. Most people are uncomfortable with libertarianism as a philosophy and do not accept its assumptions as givens.

    You have a crisis where the Congress and Executive value unity above every other political consideration and this is what you get. This bailout package represents the actual center of American politics, which is the one Republicans and Democrats tend to gravitate toward because that where the biggest agglomeration of votes are. Complaining about it won’t change it, maybe persuasion will, but that will take work.

    1. Libertarianism is the center of the political spectrum. The most freedom lies in that Centrist range.

      Unreason staffers are not Libertarians and hate Libertarianism, so their articles highlight this by trying to minimize Socialism and Anarchy as some Centrist positions.

      As for the bailouts, these are not even Republican positions. The bailouts are being propagandized by the media and government as good things. Who knows what Americans think because government is trying silence dissent and keep people in cognito.

      The Republican platform has fiscal conservatism as a founding principle. Republican governors are trying to declare martial law on a relatively minor cold due to cough. This tells me that either the Republicans are now mostly Socialists or there are shitload of democrat hiding as RINOs in the GOP.

      I predicted that the Democrat Party will no longer be a national political force. The GOP will morph into some Republican-Democrat Party where fiscal responsibility is not very important. Libertarians will fill the void as the group of fiscal conservatism and maximum freedoms under a tiny and limited government.

      1. Depends what you mean by libertarian. I think there is a kind of consensus for libertarian principles to some extent among the center, but not necessarily support for ideological libertarian policies, the type advocated by people who call themselves capital-L Libertarians. Ideological Libertarians will take extreme fiscal conservativism, and extreme social liberalism, and 1 extreme + 1 extreme != center.

        1. People will spout libertarian principles – but don’t take away their favorite government handout. So they value the gifts from Uncle Sam more than principle.

          1. ^^^ WELL SAID!

  29. Ever notice that when Republicans do something “bad”,they are literally Hitler?

    When Democrats do something “bad”, Republicans are just as bad.

    This is another example of Lefty media bias.

    1. It is shocking especially when Democrats are the very party carrying around the Nazi flag (i.e. National Socialism).. It’s right there in the Webster dictionary.
      https://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/Nazi
      Synonyms: national socialist

    1. He’s afraid of tourists coming from all over the country, ending up sick, and using what few resources they have for locals to treat them–while spreading the virus in his local community from elsewhere.

      He’s representing his constituents. Maybe the beaches should be opened over his objections, but the problem with our country isn’t politicians who care about their own constituents more than everyone else.

      The problem is progressives and socialists who think the whole point of Democracy is elect leaders who will force their constituents to make sacrifices of their rights and their standard of living for the benefit of people elsewhere and their favorite causes.

      1. ^^^VERY WELL SAID!

      2. The mayor is being hysterical. We meed less irrational politicians than more of them.

      3. What’s the point of having a republic if not to protect the life as well as liberty and pursuit of happiness of all of its citizens?

        1. What’s the point of holding elections if the winners don’t bother representing the interests of the people who voted for them?

          1. Why a constitution is necessary if not to allow the enforcement of overriding principles especially when some of the people want to take the country in a contrary direction?

            1. It isn’t clear to me what constitutional principle is being violated by a local politician voicing his opposition to a governor reopening a state beach for fear of the impact on his constituents.

              How many ICU beds does their local hospital have to offer? How many ventilators? They’re probably lucky to have ten. If tourists bring the coronavirus to town and fill up those beds, what should the locals in town do when they’re infected–fly to New York City?

              He isn’t ordering local businesses to stay closed far as I can tell.

              He’s criticizing the impact of the governor opening a state beach for fear of it killing his constituents, accurately reflecting the concerns of the voters who live there. We’re seeing the same thing happen in resort towns all over the country.

              Sedona, Arizona has a population of 10,000 and a hospital with 13 ICU beds.

              https://www.ahd.com/free_profile/030007/Verde_Valley_Medical_Center/Cottonwood/Arizona/

              I bet that means they have 13 ventilators plus one or two in the ER.

              Sedona is visited by around 3 million tourists from all over the world every year. I suspect locals would just as soon the county and the state didn’t open their government owned and operated parks and campgrounds at this point in time–otherwise, the shortage of ventilators and ICU beds is likely to make the shortages in New York City look like a cake walk.

              1. Thanks for the clarification.

                It helped me recognize some ambiguity in your apparent position.

                I originally responded to your statement

                “ The problem is progressives and socialists who think the whole point of Democracy is elect leaders who will force their constituents to make sacrifices of their rights and their standard of living for the benefit of people elsewhere and their favorite causes.”

                After you said

                “ It isn’t clear to me what constitutional principle is being violated by a local politician voicing his opposition to a governor reopening a state beach for fear of the impact on his constituents.”

                I still don’t know where you stand on exercising government power during emergencies.

  30. Quit calling them Democrats and Republicans. Just call them Authoritarians.

  31. “We’re constantly being told that we live in increasingly and uniquely polarized times, when the differences between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, have never been more pronounced or stark.

    And yet by the most basic measure of government—spending—we have effectively been living under one-party rule for the entire 21st century.”

    The vitriol and stylistic divergence between Trump(licans) and Demonrats is a (Maybe, mutually scripted and rehearsed; recall, that Trump was a “yuge” Democrat supporter and donor for almost all of his life, and how anti-Obama Republican rhetoric was / is opposed to Trump(lican) rhetoric and actions on so many issues.) shadow puppet play battle to hide how fundamentally alike are they, as statist and collectivist enemies of liberty and individualism.

    Trump is Obama’s third term. Orange is the new black.

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