Coronavirus

Dishonest Politics and Coronavirus Relief

Why people continue to trust government officials is a mystery.

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Why people continue to trust government officials is a mystery. Often disconnected from the problems at hand, their policies also often contradict their supporters' frequently expressed beliefs. While suffering from cost overruns and increasing budget deficits, these policies handsomely reward their cronies, too.

A good example is the latest attempt to pass yet another COVID-19 relief bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Republicans' failure to agree to her $2.2 trillion bill "malfeasance." Never mind that the White House's $1.8 trillion proposal was right up there with hers.

It's right to help those low-income Americans hurt by the pandemic-induced recession. But that relief bill shouldn't cost anywhere near $2 trillion. Think about this: When the economy was more solidly locked down back in March, unemployment was above 14 percent; growth was collapsing; people were scared; and when politicians were throwing all the money they could grab at anything that crossed their minds, Congress passed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Today, unemployment is down by half; the economy is growing again; pretty much everything is improving; but both the Democrats and the White House still want another $2 trillion.

The $500 billion "skinny" stimulus bill proposed by Senate Republicans is more in line with the current circumstances.

Making matters worse, the White House and Democrats want to spend that $2 trillion on the same programs as before. Given the flaws exposed in the previously approved programs, this repetitiveness is inexcusable.

For instance, the $600 bonus unemployment benefit created incentives for workers to leave their jobs to collect the government payment. The government's Payroll Protection Program, or PPP, loans, administered by the Small Business Administration, were a disaster to implement. It also soon became known that most of the PPP loans went to areas relatively unharmed by the pandemic. And, let's not forget, the $25 billion airline bailout that was meant to prevent layoffs only postponed them until the beginning of October. The bailout, however, did clearly benefit shareholders and creditors.

The Congressional Budget Office tried to calculate the economic impact of these programs, and the results are underwhelming. For every dollar invested in unemployment benefits, we got a 67-cent return. The PPP returned 36 cents. Aid to state and local governments returned 88 cents on the dollar. The overall coronavirus relief bill returned 60 cents in economic growth per dollar invested. In other words, the COVID-19 relief was depressive, not stimulative. Yet as a result, our budget deficit is now $3.3 trillion.

We might excuse the failure of these policies if they were, in fact, the product of a lack of time to consider the economic impact and consequences of the programs Congress was designing. But they have now had nine months to observe and consider new measures. And they still propose what is effectively the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act 2.0.

Indeed, Pelosi's bill contains another round of payments up to $1,200 for individuals and $500 for each dependent, with more $600 weekly enhanced federal unemployment payments through January 2021, followed by a transition period through March 2021. It also provides for an extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the same period (January/March), $225 billion for child care and education, more funding for the PPP, another $25 billion airline bailout, and plenty of state and local government aid.

The White House proposal includes much of the same, minus an extension of the state and local tax deduction (which mostly benefits higher-income taxpayers) that Democrats have been pining for ever since it was capped by the Republicans' 2017 tax reform.

So, again, I ask, why do people trust politicians? Are our memories so faulty? Case in point: During the last presidential debate, Joe Biden claimed that no one lost insurance due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. That's a bold claim to make. That same statement, when made by former President Barack Obama as he pushed for the legislation before its implementation, was once named the "Lie of the Year" by PolitiFact. But Biden still felt it was safe to make such a claim.

If it's the case that politicians don't really try to pass policies that will succeed, keep the deficit low, and tell the truth—because they can get away with bad policies, misleading claims, and spectacular deficits—then shame on them. But if we keep letting them get away with this ruse, then the shame ultimately lies with us.

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  1. Joe Biden is a crook.

    1. Cite?

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      2. Go to thefederalist.com, search for where-is-hunter-bidens-money

    2. Joe Biden killed the #MeToo movement

    3. Please stop insulting…crooks.

      1. If honest crooks have a problem being associated with Joe Biden, they should be doing more to expose the real villains in their midst.

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  2. When the media dispense propaganda to mold minds, politicians can get away with anything.

    Truth is subjective. There are no facts.

    Decorum. Duty. Decency.

    People prefer to get fucked by smiling people.

    1. You have a link for that?

      1. Hi Schmuck! Thanks for posting Tony et al.

        The reality is my link involves you bending over and taking my fist. Hope you’re ready.

      2. I do, but Jack Dorsey has trained the squirrels to block my comments if I post it.

        1. Seriously, I have tried to put this up 6 times, and from the first post, it was noted as a duplicate.
          The third try it was noted as “to fast”.
          Go to thefederalist.com, search for where-is-hunter-bidens-money

          1. I just tried posting the link as well… Huh, so I guess Reason is banning links to certain stories ?

              1. Oops wrong one. Here’s the one from a week or so ago that wouldn’t go through:

                1. That Hunter Biden recording is so good. Dumbfuck is practically trying to get himself sent to prison. Amazing that Reason hasn’t actually reported on any of it yet.

                  1. Once the New York Times reports it, it will make the Reason Roundup.

                    So sometime after the election then.

            1. Ate my attempt as well.

            1. So is it link text they are blocking, fine if you use html blocks?

                1. Huh, I tried to link it just like that. CoNsPiRaCy

                2. The trailing slash eats it. Remove it from the end.

                  https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/28/where-is-hunter-bidens-money

              1. the bots seem to have figured it out

            2. Thefederalist.com

              Is it the site, test.

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  4. When’s all this STOLEN “commie-money” legislation going to get tried by the SCOTUS????? Can’t wait to see what kind of excuses they can pop out of their bag of tricks to make any of this Constitutional.

    1. What is all this now? It’s “right” to have a federal bailout, it just should be 500b rather than 2t? Reason isn’t even trying to pretend to be libertarian anymore.

      I want to say that I notice and appreciate the absence of tds reeeeee-ing while covering a Whitehouse proposal, but switching from toeing the democrat line to the republican line is stil not toeing the libertarian line.

      1. Honestly, if people want to lockdown and keep others from making a living, they should be willing to pony up the money to keep those out of work fed.

        But it should be states and localities doing it. If you can’t afford it, then you shouldn’t be enforcing lockdowns.

        1. and the lockdown-happy states definitely shouldn’t be asking the rest of us to fund their paranoia

      2. I want to say that I notice and appreciate the absence of tds reeeeee-ing while covering a Whitehouse proposal, but switching from toeing the democrat line to the republican line is stil not toeing the libertarian line.

        Not to go whole hog defending Republicans but their is a libertarian case for the government remunerating taxpayers for monies stolen and businesses destroyed.

        1. Taxpayers will be ‘stolen’ the sum of “the government” remunerating.

          The only REAL principle going on is full-on communism keyed by massive wealth redistribution.

  5. If your state isn’t open by now, it’s because your idiotic leaders “flattened the curve” right into flu season. This is a completely self-inflicted wound that anybody could have seen coming.

    Sweden and Georgia and Florida and all the other open states got it right. If you still support lockdowns at this point you’re evil.

    1. Dude we all know the virus is gone next week.

  6. “Why people continue to trust government officials is a mystery.”

    Really? I mean, REALLY?

    Witness thousands of years of people trusting witch doctors, ignorant grandmothers, loud-mouth leaders, and that little thing called religion, with all kinds of ridiculous fables and promises.

    Could it be that people are intellectual and emotional children who crave fantasy and protection? And would rather blindly trust some charlatan who puts on good theater than deal with reality, and think for themselves? And then double or triple down to indulge tribal allegiance, while bashing–or bombing–the infidels?

    1. What actions lead you to conclude we trust the government?
      Just because we haven’t rebelled yet? (a real one, not this street theater looting and arson) (NOTE: that part of the comment is only valid until Nov 4th)
      We still vote, because there really is a lesser evil, but that does not mean we trust that lesser evil. We certainly do not trust the unelected drones that do as much damage to us as their legislative overlords.

      1. Who is this collective “we” you speak of? Like 10% of the population at best. And even then, slap the right tribal tag after a politician’s name and watch the veritable “libertarians” go weak-knees for Dear Leader.

        1. Evidence strongly suggests that your 10% is closer to 70%, and that ‘liberals’ are equally likely to be guilty of in-group bias. Particularly given Biden’s shit record and proposals on civil rights and liberties.

      2. As I said before, I prefer voting to shooting looters dead on my neighbors’ lawns, but it’s a free country.

        I don’t have enough bullets or manpower to shoot everyone trying to enforce the lockdowns dead. So, even if I did give up on voting (or not), I’d have to start prioritizing whether I shoot local tyrants who’ve shuttered bars and restaurants and won’t let kids visit their grandparents or distant tyrants who won’t let distant buisenesses import cheap*er* shit from China.

      3. and especially not county-level unelected “health” officials

  7. It’s right to help those low-income Americans hurt by the pandemic-induced recession.

    You’re not gonna slip that past this libertarian!

    1. It’s right to help those low-income Americans hurt by the pandemicgovernment-induced recession.

      1. It’s right to voluntarily help those low-income Americans hurt by the government-induced recession using our own money.

        1. The federal government has no business bailing out state policies.

          States have no business bailing out county policies.

          Counties have no business bailing out city policies.

          Let each be responsible for their own idiocy.

        2. ^ This one’s got it.

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  9. Reason.com: Printing 500 billion dollars is fiscally responsible because at least it’s not printing 2.2 trillion!

    By this logic Charles Manson should be a national hero because his cult only killed nine people instead of starting a race war.

  10. “Why people continue to trust government officials is a mystery.”

    No the mystery is why they trusted the government in the first place.

    1. No one has ever trusted the government. How could they – it’s ran by humans. And we all know what we’d do if in power.

  11. If you study human behavior you’d understand that there is no mystery to either question. People are sheep. Even those who act like wolves (or sheepdogs) are still sheep.

    1. It’s probably better that we don’t have 99% critical thinkers – nothing would ever get done.

  12. GOVERNMENT/MEDIA induced recession, not pandemic induced recession.

  13. They’ve spent a billion dollars per county and what is there to show for it?

    1. Your moms fat ass.

  14. Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, but White countries for EVERYBODY? That’s Genocide! Anti-racist is just a code word for anti-White.

  15. “But if we keep letting them get away with this ruse, then the shame ultimately lies with us.”

    Yes. Shame, shame, shame on Reason for refusing to highlight or acknowledge the validity of e-mails from Hunter Biden’s computer that verify and clearly delineate the Biden family corruption.

  16. So if we don’t hold these politicians accountable, it’s our fault? Wow. You’ve got lots of people here at Reason to whom you should send your thoughts. I’ll use some quotes from their articles:

    Mangu-Ward- “It’s OK Not to Vote”
    Doherty- “Not Voting and Proud“
    Harsanyi- “Please Don’t Vote”
    Mangu-Ward again- “Maybe better to stay home and watch the game instead.“
    Monticello- “Why You Don’t Need To Vote”

    Constant encouragement to stay away on Election Day…never mind there are propositions on the ballot in addition to candidates, never mind that even if a Libertarian isn’t on the ballot, there might be a Republican or Democrat or Independent who will fight for some of the things you want (and really, grow up, no one ever gets everything they want), never mind that if you wave away all those things your only way to really hold them accountable is to complain and whine.

    The fact that there aren’t many Libertarians on ballots is your problem. Same with more Republicans on ballots that at least share SOME of your desired platform…you own that failure.

    But then, when you’re constantly encouraging your base to stay home and watch the game instead, you’re part of all those who own unaccountable politicians.

    1. Government finds a way to incriminate voting by redefining what it means to have identity.

      If you have no right to your own identity, then you also have no right to vote … unless you can get a photograph that resembles one. A photograph gets you waved through with a free pass; pollworkers don’t have to doublethink because the law tells them to overlook anyone with a photograph.

      It’s okay not to vote: your problem. But maybe you can earn the privilege even though you jumped though the registration hoop.

      You do not need to ingratiate nor humiliate yourself over a right except in the eyes of law that does not recognize your right out of purpose to redefine longstanding terms of identity.

    2. not surprising that a website staff leaning left would try to discourage a commentariat leaning right from voting.

  17. The recession isn’t pandemic induced. It is government induced.

  18. “Today, unemployment is down by half; the economy is growing again; pretty much everything is improving; but both the Democrats and the White House still want another $2 trillion.’

    There is a looming election and votes to be bought.

    1. and they’re not going to buy my vote with my own money

  19. “Why people continue to trust government officials is a mystery.”

    Entities like Reason are partly responsible for equating ALL government as state government leaving people to think they have no choice other than anarchy.

    Reason could help the situation by informing people that governments other than state government do in fact exist !

    AND to stop equating the 2

  20. Biden claiming no one lost insurance on behalf of stated rationale clearly exemplifies waving arms wildly to stake repute on a decisive matter, representing a key interest.

    Credibility matters most to action when no one understands the claim being made (gobbledygook rhetoric). Economics factors into need to evaluate any claim being made.

    It seems that politicians do not disrespect their probable constituency by laying down too many claims. Politics is not intended to be overly efficient; the people delegate labor via functional economy, and politics of governance zip-ties the bundle, chiseling out an proscribed state-of-things that emit peculiar signals or flags of significance.

  21. Wait Trump actually accused doctors and hospitals of falsely inflating Covid diagnosis to get more money? I thought it was just a Q thing. Maybe he is Q.

    Medical records are taken very seriously. It is the one thing you can’t defend in court. You can defend a mistake or missed diagnosis but falsifying the record you will be slammed.

    The evidence is all there in a medical record. Everything that happens is recorded. Multiple people read it. Patients can get copies of anything. There is no way to fake a diagnosis.

    I simply cannot understand why he is president.

    1. This has become an old trope for the right, sadly. Anyone in science who discusses a problem is only doing it for the money. For grants. They did that here about climate scientists…”all the money is for those who say global warming exists.” Which was beyond ridiculous. When Republicans controlled both Houses and the Oval Office, and hence the purse strings, climate scientists said the same thing they always said…the planet is warming due to man adding carbon to the atmosphere.

      When you don’t have an answer to the science, just say scientists are just engaging in fraud for the money.

  22. Yes, that is a mystery unto itself. There is little of anything involving government, politicians, big business, pharma and the media that can be trusted. I surely do not trust any of them…period!

  23. “Dishonest politics” is redundant.

    “Coronavirus relief” is more aptly called “COVID-19 overreaction relief”.

  24. Biggest business on the planet? US governments. Hope that politicians put America First, many or most will not. Its the vast amount of money. Vote for who? Myself? Does seem Trump is much the best choice but I wish he would be more careful of his comments.

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