Peter Suderman: The $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Has Almost Nothing To Do With Covid

Joe Biden's spending bill is a Democratic Party wish list masquerading as a public health measure.


The American Rescue Plan Act is hurtling toward final passage, but only a few percentage points of its massive $1.9 trillion price tag is specifically geared toward, you know, addressing the pandemic. How little? House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.) says just 9 percent of it goes "directly to toward Covid-19 relief." The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Budget puts the number even lower, declaring, "Only about 1 percent of the entire package goes toward COVID-19 vaccines, and 5 percent is truly focused on public health needs surrounding the pandemic."

Most of it is instead a pre-existing Democratic Party wishlist of increased spending on virtually every aspect of government, including bigger unemployment benefits, even more money for schools, a gigantic child tax credit, and subsidies for Obamacare insurance policies that would phase out only at a household income of more than $580,000. This legislation comes on the heels of the $4 trillion in coronavirus-related spending passed last year.

Peter Suderman, features editor at Reason, joins Nick Gillespie to discuss his cover story in the new issue of the magazine, which is titled "Josh Hawley's Toxic Populism," a deep dive into the anti-libertarian platform of the Missouri senator who is one of the Republican Party's rising stars. They also walk through the nearly $2 trillion of new spending—passed along strict party lines—that is about to be signed into law by President Joe Biden.