"Back to normal" is something that could never happen under the latest Democratic coronavirus relief plan coming out of Washington.
Not even close. In fact, it’s a plan to Make America Un-Great.
The $3-trillion package that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., just pushed through the House of Representatives would upend the courts, finance, housing, employment, elections and a host of other bulwarks of American society.
This is the next wave of disruption, stacked on top of the shutdowns, lockdowns, and smackdowns imposed by state and local officials on people and businesses.
Just like those edicts, the House bill would "save us" from the COVID-19 pandemic by worsening an economic pandemic. In its weakened economic condition, America’s internal struggle would weaken us globally, as other countries take advantage of our disarray.
China, are you listening? Yes, of course they are.
Although the U.S. Senate will re-shape the bill, let’s take a look at the brave new world as proposed by House Democrats.
Another round of $1,200 per person checks would go out, this time also including persons not in the country legally. Work incentives would be weakened again, with an extra $600 per week added to unemployment benefits. And for "essential workers" (basically whoever politicians allowed to work the last couple of months) a bonus is given on top of their regular paychecks. They’ll get the equivalent of an extra $13 each hour for one year, courtesy of a new $200-billion federal program.
Lest that money be used for the necessity of paying rent, the Pelosi package makes it illegal for a year to evict anybody from their home or apartment, or from foreclosing any home mortgage. State and local laws to the contrary are suspended.
Landlords and lenders are out-of-luck, which serves them right for being capitalists.
So why does the bill also provide over $125-billion to pay for housing, if the tenants don’t have to pay rent for the next 12 months?
Some 30-million small businesses also get debtor-creditor laws turned upside down, with a prohibition on enforcing their business debts.
Yet it provides billions of dollars more in grants and loans to small businesses.
And what about a small business that can stay in business only if other small businesses pay their debts?
The House bill also overrides state election laws, protecting us from face-to-face voting by using easier-to-rig systems of voting by mail. And that provision required adding a $35-billion bailout so the struggling U.S. Postal Service can stay in business.
Also, to avoid laying off government workers, the state and local governments which killed their own revenues by shutting down commerce would get federal dollars to make up the difference.
But — who will pay for the lost federal taxes and the trillions of extra federal spending?
Younger Americans are rightfully concerned about inheriting the national debt.
Seniors should also care, because some projections say this fiscal mess could push Social Security into bankruptcy by 2030.
Suppose that Congress decrees a moratorium on Uncle Sam’s loan payments.
What would creditors like China say?
The only mention of China in that 1,800-page monster bill is a study of information technology from China. There also is language to study our dependence on "foreign" pharmaceuticals. But there’s nothing to hold China accountable for not candidly warning the world about the coronavirus pandemic.
Likewise, there is nothing to thwart China’s aggressive Belt and Road Initiative to control global trade by taking over the world’s seaways, ports and shipbuilding.
Fortunately, America’s Jones Act keeps China away by not letting them carry maritime freight within the U.S. The Jones Act essentially requires that domestic trade to use America ships with American crews. (Yet some want to repeal it, which would benefit China.)
If our economic, legal and political systems remain in disarray, we’ll have trouble holding back China’s ambitions. Speaker Pelosi’s latest "relief" does not bring America back to prosperity. Instead, it increases the disruptions and pushes us into more dependence on government. That would only embolden officials who want to boss us around "for our own good."
Ernest Istook worked on a vast breadth of issues as a U.S. Congressman. He now practices law, is a political science professor, and is a Distinguished Fellow at Frontiers of Freedom. Istook also is a former Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics, and a talk radio host. He is founder and president of Americans for Less Regulation. Find him on Twitter (@Istook), Facebook, or at Istook.com. Read Ernest Istook's Reports — More Here.
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