President Joe Biden has signed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that gives money to almost everyone in the United States and every major Democratic electoral constituency.
The bill enjoyed widespread support among voters because — let’s face it — who would turn down a check for $1400 from the government? But voters’ gratitude should be tempered with the realization of the cost of this bill and how much of a mockery it makes of Joe Biden’s “unity” pledge.
The bill received no Republican support in the House or Senate. The GOP objected to several gargantuan payoffs to Democratic interest groups, especially the $350 billion earmarked for states — a no-strings-attached shameless bailout of Democratic governors in big states who criminally mismanaged their pension funds and budgets.
Republicans had other objections, not the least of which was the bill’s price tag. The $1.9 trillion only adds to the current CBO estimate of $2.3 trillion.
But Biden and the Democrats are only getting started.
The White House and Democrats are already talking about another stimulus measure, this one dealing with infrastructure. It could end up being more expensive than the pandemic relief bill. Very little in the way of specifics have leaked out of the White House but most congressional observers believe the bill could carry a $2.5 trillion price tag.
There’s climate change legislation in the legislative hopper and student loan relief, and some kind of Obamacare reform, although that may wait until after 2022 when the Democrats hope to maintain their majorities.
The sweeping bill, which Biden proposed in January before taking office, includes funding for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, vaccine distribution efforts, school reopenings, enhanced unemployment benefits through September and state and local governments, along with an expansion of the child tax credit and an expansion of ObamaCare, among other provisions.
The bill signing was originally planned for Friday afternoon, but was moved up a day after the bill arrived at the White House following the House vote on Wednesday.
Biden will address the pandemic’s one-year anniversary tonight in a prime-time televised address, so signing the bill before he went on TV was fortuitous. Biden will try to keep the partisan gloating to a minimum but that would be asking too much.
There’s no doubt that pumping $1.9 trillion into the economy — especially on the personal spending side — will prove a godsend for many retail businesses and restaurants. But at what cost? No one stopped to ask how necessary the spending was. But the “crisis” that precipitated this spending spree may finally be over.