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My thoughts on the stimulus negotiations.....

Warning: I'm gonna part with liberal orthodoxy on some of this.
My opinion is that this is not the time for stimulus. It is the time for a Manhattan-style program to defeat a specific problem (COVID), and for emergency assistance to those experiencing true hardship. The obvious driver of our recessionary economy is COVID-19. Economic conditions are not going to rebound to normalcy until we have COVID under control (through controlling the spread and developing effective vaccines and treatments). Therefore, our top priority in any spending bill should be to get COVID under control. We should spend as much as we need to on testing, tracing, research, vaccines, treatments, and giving schools the resources they need to safely re-open. Beating COVID is Job One. Once we control COVID, I expect the economy to rebound quickly, without stimulus. If it doesn't we can consider stimulus then.

Next, we need to help the Americans experiencing true hardship from this pandemic. We have programs in place designed to address much of this, namely unemployment insurance and the SNAP program. We added a new one, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers, entrepreneurs, etc who aren't covered by traditional unemployment. I favor extending these coverages beyond their normal term as long as COVID is a problem. And I support providing assistance for COVID-related medical costs. But I don't support these calls for extra payments, whether it is extending an extra $600/week, another round of $1,200 checks en masse, or a payroll tax holiday. These will send billions to too many people who don't really need it. We are $26.5 Trillion in the hole, and future generations will have to pay this money back. Let's mitigate true hardship, but we shouldn't be indiscriminately throwing in extra money to stimulate the economy. In fact, encouraging people to go out and spend is actually counter to our goal of defeating COVID.

I oppose any new PPP funding. It was poorly administrated in its first round, and we spent billions on companies that weren't truly in need of the help. It isn't efficient to pay business to pay workers to work in bars, restaurants, malls, amusement parks, etc. that are closed or on skeleton schedules anyway. It is more efficient to take care of those workers through unemployment insurance, and those business owners with the PUA program.

Corporate Bailouts. I appreciate the large # of jobs at stake in the travel, hospitality, entertainment, and other industries. If we bail them out (like the airlines), the govt needs to receive an ownership stake in the bailed out company, so that the taxpayer can be made whole post-COVID. We did this successfully with the auto bailouts and some of the TARP programs. Otherwise, we're doing what Bernie calls Socialism for the Rich. Airlines and their shareholders get rich in boom times (good for them, they provide a needed service), but then the govt picks up the risk in hard times.

Other Spending. I'm well aware that the Dems in Congress are proposing a bunch of new spending in other areas be included in this bill. I oppose this. While some of these programs may be good ideas, they shouldn't be jammed into this bill under the guise of COVID relief or stimulus. We Dems need to keep our eye on the ball. We have a real chance to win the WH and both Houses of Congress in 104 days. Do that, and we can debate new programs on their merits at that time.

To summarize:
1. Spend to stop/mitigate COVID
2. Extend the existing safety net to protect those experiencing COVID-related hardship.
3. Protect the taxpayer in any corporate bailouts.
4. No giveaways, free money, pork barrel spending.

[Post edited by Newport at 07/23/2020 5:28PM]

Posted: 07/23/2020 at 5:22PM


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