Trump Wants More Stimulus Spending. Biden Wants a National Mask Mandate. Both Are Wrong.
The 2020 presidential election is shaping up to be a choice between a man who wants to spend America further into oblivion to solve a problem that money can’t fix, and a man who believes being president gives him license to regulate the personal behaviors of more than 330 million people (and also wants to spend America into oblivion).
In the first corner is President Donald Trump, who is now trying to paper over his administration’s many, many early mistakes in handling the coronavirus by running the federal printing press at warp speed.
Trump on Wednesday agreed with Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that more stimulus spending is necessary. In May, Pelosi’s House passed a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill—that’s $3 trillion on top of about $4 trillion in emergency coronavirus spending already authorized, some of which remains unspent—but the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to pass it. Citing concerns about the size of the deficit, Senate Republicans have pushed for a smaller package that would cost about $500 billion.
Trump left no doubt where he stood on Wednesday.
“I like the larger amount,” he said from the podium in the White House briefing room yesterday evening. “Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that.”
Over 13 million Americans remain out of work in large part due to the pandemic. There may be a good argument for a limited federal response that helps those most hurt by the pandemic and by mandatory shutdowns. Another round of business-focused aid might be necessary as the crisis drags on. But the “higher number” that Trump prefers in the House-passed stimulus bill is a mess of special interest handouts and unnecessary aid to states that shouldn’t be looking to the deeply indebted federal government for help in the first place.
It is difficult to comprehend just how much money the federal government has already spent because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a useful illustration—compare the total government spending during this year to the 2009 stimulus, which looks like a tiny bump in comparison:
Continuing to spend like this is beyond reckless.
Meanwhile, Trump’s opponent in November’s election also made coronavirus-related news yesterday—but not in a good way.
During a news conference in Delaware, former vice president Joe Biden said he believed the president has the authority to issue a national mandate requiring
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