Have you seen Joe Biden’s stimulus plan?

He’s calling it the “American Rescue Plan” and it comes in at $1.9 trillion.
In a nutshell, Biden wants to stimulate the economy with a bunch of government spending paid for by borrowing and more Federal Reserve money printing. Here are a few highlights.

  • Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans
  • Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September
  • $350 billion in state and local government aid
  • $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education
  • $50 billion toward Covid-19 testing
  • $20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes

It even includes a $15 per hour federal minimum wage.

There’s a bit of a problem though.

There is no $1.9 trillion. The U.S. government is broke. There isn’t even a dime stuffed in the couch cushions at the Treasury Department. So, even if government spending could “rescue” an economy (and it can’t – this is a Keynesian fantasy) there is no money to spend.

But the Republicans can’t make this case. They can’t argue that the government can’t spend America into prosperity. And they can’t argue for fiscal responsibility. They just signed off on a $900 billion stimulus plan a month ago. And the GOP ran a budget deficit of $3.1 trillion last year, by far the biggest in history. So, they’re going to look a little silly claiming stimulus doesn’t work or arguing that government has to be “fiscally responsible.”

They abandoned that principle.

And now they have nothing to stand on.

I guess they can argue that it “costs too much.” But that’s not a very compelling argument. If stimulus works and $900 billion borrowed wasn’t “too much,” why not $1.9 trillion? More is better, right?

It’s the same thing with gun control. The Republicans long ago conceded that a little bit of federal gun control is A-OK. But if the feds can regulate machine guns and ban bump stocks, why can’t they outlaw “high-capacity” magazines? Why not ban “assault rifles.” The Second Amendment principle was thrown out the window long ago. There’s nothing left to stand on.

This is why you need to always hold fast to principle. When you abandon it, you have nothing left but matters of degree. And that’s a slippery slope downhill.

This is exactly why the founding generation insisted on a written Constitution with clear boundaries on government power. Unfortunately, that’s been abandoned too.

Mike Maharrey

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