Coronavirus

More Checks Are Coming After Congress Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Bill That Has Little To Do With COVID-19

Some provisions provide direct aid. Others, not so much.

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Congress on Wednesday passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill, complete with relief checks, school funding, state bailouts, and emergency business loans, among other provisions. While some aspects of the American Rescue Plan are related to the coronavirus, much of the bill is not.

There's a healthy debate to be had about what the government owes the American people: With mandated closures upending livelihoods, it's fair to argue that, in some sense, the public deserves redress. Emergency loans for businesses—restaurants, bars, airlines, music venues, and others—will go to those who demonstrate some sort of economic hit. Single adults making less than $75,000 a year and couples who file jointly and make less than $150,000 will qualify for $1,400 and $2,800 respectively, though there are likely few individuals or families in the upper end of those income brackets who genuinely need that aid.

No such means test will be applied to money headed for state government coffers, yet it perhaps should be. Many states aren't doing poorly at all, with California, for instance, reporting a $15 billion budget surplus. American taxpayers are about to send them several billion dollars more.

The same can be said for school funding. As Reason's Peter Suderman notes, Biden campaigned on speedily reopening schools and quickly backtracked, citing a need for more education funding to ensure proper COVID-19 protocols. The problem is that there remains unspent $100 billion allocated for schools in previous coronavirus relief legislation. The additional billions allotted to schools by the American Rescue Plan also won't be used anytime soon, though it's supposedly necessary to reopen schools in the near future.

"Just $6 billion would be spent in the 2021 fiscal year, which runs through September," writes Suderman. "Another $32 billion would be spent in 2022, and the rest by 2028. Biden is insisting that schools must reopen soon—and also that the only way for them to reopen is to authorize more than $120 billion in spending, most of which wouldn't roll out for years. It doesn't make much sense."

In that vein, the bill is peppered with standard Democratic policies disguised as COVID-19 relief. For example, Congress just approved 15 weeks paid leave for every federal employee who has a child in virtual learning, even if their children are enrolled in districts where schools have reopened and remote learning is merely an option provided to cautious parents. It's evocative of the Democrats' first coronavirus aid bill a full year ago, which attempted to carve out a permanent paid leave program for victims of stalking and domestic violence.

The $15 minimum wage proposal, another policy with no connection to COVID-19, was nuked by the Senate parliamentarian and centrist Democrats. That, too, was packaged as coronavirus aid for struggling workers, notwithstanding the fact that it wouldn't have gone into full effect until 2025.

Funds for a bridge connecting New York to Canada, as well as for a new metro in San Jose, California, were also scrapped from the legislation.

But other unrelated provisions survived to make it into the final bill. As Reason's Eric Boehm reports, the Congressional Budget Office "estimates that a total of $480 million in the bill will be spent on 'miscellaneous' educational matters like 'grants to fund activities related to the arts, humanities, libraries, and museums, and Native American language preservation and maintenance.'"

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  1. Enjoy cashing in those checks, Reason. This is exactly what you wanted.

    1. $28 trillion is a small national debt to pay compared to the ongoing inequity caused by the white supremacist, patriarchal, Euro-centric ideologies that pollute America’s diverse society. I hope that President Biden will extend these handouts to every minority, including Jews, and guarantee their delivery on a quarterly basis.

      1. As long as Greeks can get some of that action, I’m all for it.

    2. Reason took the paycheck protection money last year and blew it all on dope and McSuderman’s cocktail hobby.

    3. Binion and his merry band of liberalistas disgust me. They shamelessly shilled for Team D all last year. Now the 1.9T bill is passed, and it is amazing what was done. We wil rue the day the bill was passed.

      We have normalized reparations. See the 120% reimbursement to black farmers.
      We have bailed out union pension funds (Central states fund).
      We have given multi-billion ‘grants’ to states that are profligate spenders.

      Unreason writers lamenting this now are loathesome hypocrites. Truly worthless.

  2. Where is my $2,000?

    1. Holy shit, this poor fellow can’t count. $600 + $1400 = $2000. There you go.

  3. We can at least express some measure of gratitude for the fact that the the bill was not shamelessly bundled together with a series of mean tweets.

    #charactermatters

    1. Social cost of mean tweets is 10 trillion a year.

  4. Missing the most important fact – WHEN!!!!

  5. Damn, how the hell can I blame this on Trump?

    1. lol.. And the truth spills out.

  6. Gas prices are up like 40% in 2 months.
    Reason owes me money.

    1. The free market has spoken and Nancy Pelosi bet correctly on the stock market again! Buy an electric vehicle, you climate change denying rube!

      1. Nothing speaks louder than Crony Socialism using Gov-Guns to make overnight billionaires.

    2. War on oil, derp. You fucking idiots complain when the oil jobs disappear and then you’ll complain when they reappear. You fucks are dumb and negative. Get some pussy. It feeks so good.

  7. As usual another Pelosi fuckup. Congrats dems on being the slowest stupidest people on the planet.

  8. After the fact bitching is way better than talking about this shit during an election. Good work.

    1. Maybe the Republican Party could have done its part by putting up a candidate who didn’t have a deeply offensive personality.

      1. In other words, mean tweets. Go fuck yourself.

      2. We know you think personality is more precious that shit that matters, like policy. No need to prove your idiocy. You’ve done it often.

        The fact you’d rather give up freedoms over mean tweets says a ton about you.

        1. Trump did appeal to the asshole demographic such as yourself. That’s not enough to win.

          1. Well you’re not exactly salesman of the year on the “huge pussy” demographic, to be fair. Who appeals to you? Ze Levine?

          2. Lol. You don’t even deny it fuckwit. I would think the asshole is the one selling out his fellow citizens for higher taxes and authoritarianism. Like you did. Weird.

          3. Lets consider the facts here; If it wasn’t for post-day election ballot printers falling from the sky. Trump would’ve won by a landslide.

  9. If you shitbags didn’t want handouts, why did you support Democrats? Fucking morons.

    I am starting a petition to relocate Reason from Californication to Taxass. You fuckers forgot what freedom and rights are. NRA might rent out space to you if you’re nice.

    1. Reason was fine when they were in California. It was the move to DC that ruined them.

      1. I can’t imagine it is easy writing anything under the constant threat of death by mob.

  10. I’m very fortunate to not need the money right now so I’m gonna bet my stimulus check on whoever is playing the Ottawa Senators to win when I get it. If I win I’ll donate 1400 to charity and spend the rest on blow, booze, and more gambling.

    1. If I got the money today the Sens play the Oilers today. 1400$ at -230 is 2008.70$, so that’s a 608.70$ blow party. That’s actually not very much, so only 1000$ will go to charity.

      1. The Oilers were -265, and are up 4-0 after the first period. Your $1400 wager, assuming that score holds up, would get you an addition $1400. However, you would owe $3710 if they were to collapse and somehow lose to the Sens.

        1. It was-230 when I looked at it.

          1. Your math would still be off. Money line wagers on favorites pay 1:1 on a win, but would cost, in your case, $230 per $100 wagered for a loss.

            1. I don’t know what book you use, but the one I use don’t pay 1 to 1 for moneylines unless it’s a pick em. For every 230 I bet I get 100. So I get 608.70$ plus the 1400 stake.

              1. Mormon Killer: stick to betting, you are much nicer [and saner] at that. Seriously.

  11. Nothing says “vote for me” like FREE!

  12. Today in libertarian news and commentary.

    The unbearable victim complex of Meghan Markle
    The Oprah interview was an emotionally manipulative performance designed to consolidate Harry and Meghan’s power.

    Well that was explosive. Even more than had been expected. In their two-hour sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan drove a long knife into the monarchy. They implied that it’s a cold, cut-off, racist institution that is so bereft of basic human feeling that it drove a young-ish sensitive woman – Ms Markle – to contemplate suicide. It was Diana’s chat with Martin Bashir on steroids. A clash of royal houses worthy of a George RR Martin story. It was also a grotesque spectacle – emotionally manipulative, self-obsessed, and a clear attempt by Harry and Meghan to position themselves as the king and queen of victim politics.

    The message is clear, it’s not easy being impossibly wealthy and beautiful.

    1. She is not beautiful.

  13. There’s a healthy debate to be had about what the government owes the American people

    But now is not the time for that debate, we are in the middle of a pandemic and this is an emergency, we need to do something now! Later, when the emergency is over, we will have time for debate. Of course, once the emergency has passed, what difference, at this point, does it make? After-the-fact debate is just useless and silly.

    1. Excellent.

    2. and by then the next emergency will be in full swing. at least Cuomo and Newsom are finished and won’t inflict their leadership on the nation.

  14. it’s fair to argue that, in some sense, the public deserves redress.

    Not really. We should have fought harder against the closures, then they wouldn’t need the money. But we didn’t. And yes I should have fought harder too. But at least I fought. (Squabbling with your allies here in your safe space doesn’t count.) In fact we will have to pay it back or inflate it away, and either way, it will be far more painful than if we had just kept businesses and schools open.

    I blame social security and medicare. Because old people had no skin in the game and just said, “Gimme my check and y’all can go f- yourselves.” These programs must be abolished. Then they’d demand, “Get back to work so you can afford my care!” (Yes a few said this – but only in private with their political allies.)

    1. We rolled over and the precedent has been set. Get used to the Great New Reset Normal.

  15. Thanks, reason!

  16. You can tell reason is slipping when this is about the 3rd article on this bill in a few days and they’re just quoting each other’s articles for half of their article.

    1. Then go away. Find a website with articles you like.

      1. That’s no way to drum up viewers for your employer.

      2. -.50 cents

      3. It is amazing watching you beg on your knees for a small intellectually devoid bubble to live in.

      4. I think it’s obvious most don’t come for the articles

  17. Adding 2 trillion dollars to the national debt for taxpayers to pay back later isn’t what I would call “aid”. It’s like your house is burning down and Biden shows up some napalm so it will burn faster.

    1. ^THIS. One only has to see the current and obvious price inflation to see the “payback” is already starting to happen. Instead of being a 99% tax rate though it’ll be a 99% price inflation (i.e. hyperinflation).

      Bitcoin has been steady at $50K+ (now $60K) since Democrats stole the ‘federal’ government. I’d expect most human resources to reflect this wild inflation very soon.

  18. All of the points in this article were made by members of the Reason commentariat 4 – 6 months ago.

    Profusely and often.

  19. “‘… Native American language preservation and maintenance.'”

    Maybe the intent is to capture the cultural knowledge of the elders being wiped out by COVID,

  20. Single adults making less than $75,000 a year and couples who file jointly and make less than $150,000 will qualify for $1,400 and $2,800 respectively, though there are likely few individuals or families in the upper end of those income brackets who genuinely need that aid.

    I can’t figure out anyone who needs it. If you still have your job, you don’t need it. If you lost your job, you’re getting generous unemployment, maybe more than you got working, so you don’t need it.

    I think we have entered the Tocqueville Zone.

    1. Nazi Government LOVES to automatically put the entire citizenry on Gov-Welfare (i.e. Communism). This is NOT the USA anymore and these are NOT welfare programs. They are Nazi Policies (def; National Socialism).

      What ever happened to people with “need” visiting their LOCAL welfare office? Did those offices disappear or WHAT?!?!?!

  21. The people (and computers) have spoken.
    The fascists won the election, and this is the result.
    Quit bitching and go start helping the republicans win back the house and senate. Not because they will do a better job, but because that will cause gridlock and at least nothing this stupid will be done for two years.

    Disclosure: I will accept and spend my check.

    1. Accept and spend? Oh no no no. Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t sit there and complain and then hold your hand out.

      Get your bootstraps son. That is the only way. Send that money straight back to Washington.

      1. ^Lefty Projection… Considering “The People’s” Bank Robbing you’ve supported and cheered for on here like a 5-yr old spoiled-brat princess; Lecturing ‘ethics’ would make you #1 on the hypocrite meter.

  22. Typical reason garbage- “Many states aren’t doing poorly at all, with California, for instance, reporting a $15 billion budget surplus. ”

    Heaven forbid Cali is doing well and getting some money back from the feds given they are a perennial net donor who is always bailing out those fiscally profligate red states like Kentucky, etc.

    But hey, I agree- if we were living in a just society, the morons and dullards in those states would get jack shit from the govt back while places like Cali who can manage to send so much money to the feds would get their fair share back instead of constantly being shit on and taken advantage of.

    1. …And the #1 State receiving the MOST federal funding over the last Decade???
      Goes too…….. California; receiving $436 BILLION/yr
      So a surplus of STOLEN money. Yep, sounds like CA alright.

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  24. This is a very good thing for the treatment of COVID-19. The Biden government has done this very wisely. Only in this way will it be helpful for the treatment of COVID-19. I hope that in the future, COVID-19 will disappear in our world. In this way, people can go shopping in the mall, buy Bandage Dresses, buy watches, buy things they like

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