20 Jan 2021 Biden’s ‘Rescue’ Will Stifle Economy, End Personal Responsibility
Joe Biden’s plan for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus package throws the Hippocratic Oath, to “first do no harm,” to the curb. Billed as the American Rescue Plan, his proposal will cripple economic growth, undermine personal responsibility and create an immigration magnet —in the process harming minorities and the working class the most.
While the top focus is the push to provide an additional $1,400 per person to U.S. households, little attention is provided to the fact that the plan will include payments to illegal immigrants — whether they plan to stay in the U.S. or not.
Instead of using the bully pulpit to get states to reopen the way Texas and Florida have, this plan boosts unemployment assistance by $400 per week and dramatically expands eligibility as well as provides a 15% increase in food stamp assistance through September.
Biden’s plan flatly ignores the economists’ maxim that the more you subsidize something, the more you get of it.
This plan will signal to those who need to re-enter the workforce the most — those with limited skills and training — that they can play it safe by riding out the pandemic at home while staying out of the workforce. When the assistance inevitably runs out — and it will — those with limited skills will be further marginalized, making it nearly impossible to re-enter the workforce.
Compounding matters, the plan includes a $350 billion slush fund for state and local governments — an amount that’s twice the level that Democrats unsuccessfully pursued last fall.
Rewarding states like Michigan, Illinois, and New York, which ignored the science of pandemics throughout 2020 and have consistently mismanaged state resources for years, is great for state employees (a key progressive constituency) but crippling for small business operators — Black, white, and brown.
Unnoticed by elites on the coasts, a key area of economic vitality during the last four years has been the unprecedented growth in small businesses and the gig economy for working class minorities.
Crushing this group is cruel and will lead to greater resentment and charges that America is racially unfair.
A staggering $20 billion meanwhile will be provided to fund subway trains to ”nowhere” — trains that are losing money precisely because of the very shutdown policies advocated by progressives. And to cap off the plan, Biden is pushing for a $15 national minimum wage — a change during a pandemic about as helpful as offering a free Lone Ranger eye mask.
A one-size-fits-all national minimum wage literally makes no sense. Employers and their workforce grappling with the coronavirus pandemic need more flexibility, not less. In places where employees exceed $15 per hr. wages, there is no benefit.
But in places where employees typically receive significantly less, this wage increase could close the door on employment altogether.
In a struggling economy, government should make it easier to work, not harder.
Rather than a package to address the challenges our nation’s economy faces, this nearly $2 trillion proposal is far more likely to make Americans worse off, not better.
One of the signature accomplishments of the last four years has been the dramatic drop in food stamp utilization in America. Combined with record levels of full employment and notable spikes in wage growth, Americans of all stripes benefited — minorities and the working class most.
Yes, the reductions in welfare assistance brought savings for taxpayers, but far more importantly they represented independence and freedom for millions of Americans.
And these were good jobs with robust wages — a welcome change after nearly eight years of taxpayers envying government workers’ earnings which outstripped theirs during the Obama years.
After eight years of the ”frank and beans” policies of Obama and the left, millions of Americans — Black, white and brown — decided that they had had enough.
They charted a new course with Donald Trump.
In four years, the improvements in their lives were noticeable — indeed dramatic.
Tragically it’s just when they’ve begun to appreciate their gains — and became a vibrant part of the American Dream — that these new policies of the incoming president will reverse their circumstances.
For decades marginalized American workers were forced to subsidize foreign labor competitors (whose law-breaking allowed them to undercut American workers) with taxpayer support for schooling, healthcare and housing subsidies for these immigrants.
It was during the four years of the Trump Administration, working class whites, browns and Blacks received well-deserved breathing room from this unfair competition.
Now although minorities and the working class have been harmed most by shutdown policies across America during 2020, Biden’s plan will double down on job destruction.
This will preempt our economy’s recovery and likely lead to a double dip recession, pushing the working class and minorities to the periphery of the American Dream.
The Hippocratic Oath is the pledge of non-maleficence taken by physicians promising that while treating a patient they won’t undertake efforts that will harm or injure.
Would that Biden and his advisers had adopted this mantra for our economy.
Well, at least the jobless can ride on new subway trains.
New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.