The Latest COVID-19 Bill Does Little to Address America’s Problem

The latest COVID-19 Relief Bill, the first to be endorsed by newly-elected President Joe Biden, passed with a slim majority in the U.S. Senate on Saturday, March 6. Upon its passage, Biden hailed the bill as a “giant step forward,” and pledged to sign it into law. While many Americans rightfully demand action from the government during this time of crisis, the action taken by the Democratic politicians who passed the bill is woefully misdirected. Rather than allowing Americans the ability to find success on their own terms, the Biden administrations and its supporters in Congress have decided to placate a frustrated American populace rather than addressing the problem at the core of this crisis: state governments with no regard for the freedom and wellbeing of the American people.

There is a clear reason that people on both the left and right wings have clamored for change with respect to the nation’s COVID-19 response. Since the emergence of the pandemic in the United States, most states have been crippled by overwhelming restrictions on every facet of public life. Restaurants and small businesses have been forced into operating at lower capacity, if they can continue to operate at all. Millions of Americans have been forced to remain cooped up in their homes, sending the nation’s rates of drug abuse, depression and suicide skyrocketing. Tragically, while perfectly healthy citizens have been rendered unable to live their lives with any degree of liberty, long-term care facilities were required to admit COVID-19 positive seniors, leading to an untold number of deaths in some of our most populous states. Meanwhile, politicians continue to violate their own laws with stunning regularity, and many have even gone as far as to cover up their mismanagement. While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been the first to suffer any meaningful public reckoning for his actions, several other governors, including New Jersey’s Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, responded similarly and have faced few repercussions. To add further insult to injury, financial reimbursements for these damages have appeared incredibly chintzy, especially given the fact that these lockdowns were, in fact, induced by the government. This entire situation is untenable and something needs to change.

Like its predecessors, the CARES Act and the Dec. 2020 Omnibus Bill, the so-called “American Rescue Plan Act” is doomed to change little about the monumental failure that has been the COVID-19 lockdown policy. This is because the authors of this bill have learned absolutely nothing from the previous acts’ failures. While direct cash payments may help hold over some unemployed individuals for the time being, the lasting effects of such payments as a “stimulus” will likely be inconsequential; the average personal income in America hit a record high in 2020 partially due to the COVID-19 bills, yet Americans spent 3 percent less in the fourth quarter of 2020 than in the comparable part of 2019.

Beyond failing to address the many problems that existed in the previous two packages, the “American Rescue Plan Act” somehow manages to be substantially worse. An important failure of the original CARES Act and the subsequent omnibus bill that the “American Rescue Plan Act” exacerbates is the awe-inspiring amount of pork barrel spending included. As Senator Ted Cruz noted, a mere nine percent of the “American Rescue Plan Act” is directed toward “actual and urgent COVID relief.” This astonishing statistic should lead one to question where the other 91% of the bill is going. Though the bill is not always clear on the answer to this question, much of the remaining funds are being directed toward bureaucracies in education and labor, who will be given more money than they know how to spend and the state and local governments that have completely mismanaged their responses. Yes, rather than punishing the state governments that subjected their citizens to inhumane lockdown policies, the act rewards their bad governance with massive bailouts. This bill is truly a Swamp masterpiece.

In summary, the “American Rescue Plan Act” is emblematic of everything we hate about Washington. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of pork barrel politics and irresponsible deficit spending that fails to even address the problem it claims to solve. Most of all, it is a classic example of the politician mentality toward problem solving: if you throw enough money at a broken system, it will suddenly start working. This is simply not how the world functions. If the Biden administration hopes to resolve this crisis anytime soon, they need to prioritize the country’s reopening and allow people to return to a free and normal life as soon as possible.