Harmful COVID Relief Bill is passed by Democrats

$1.9 trillion is added to national debt instead of ending social-distancing restrictions

Liam Smith, Staff Writer

Illustration by Gabrialla Cockerell

The COVID-19 pandemic has left the economy in tatters. Many Americans are feeling loneliness, pain, depression, and grief associated with the devastating consequences of the pandemic.

In an attempt to remedy the economic damage, Congress has introduced numerous different stimulus bills aimed at supporting the economy.

Two main stimulus bills were already passed by the end of last year: the CARES Act in March 2020 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act in Dec. 2020. These bills combined injected $3.1 trillion into the economy in the form of stimulus checks, low-interest loans, coronavirus testing funds, and vaccine research.

Despite the massive spending, $3.1 trillion is not enough for President Biden. Upon the first day of the new Administration, President Biden rolled out his version of a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

The bill passed by the United States Senate this past weekend includes many things. The bill grants a $1,400 stimulus check to most Americans, additional money to fund unemployment insurance, and money for state and local governments disproportionately allocated to Blue-states. In my view, the stimulus plan should not be signed into law.

This additional bill should not be signed for various reasons. The bill gives money to people who are not in need, the additional debt incurred will hurt Americans in the long run, and there are states such as Florida and Georgia that have managed to reopen their economies successfully without oppressive economic restrictions that harm businesses.

Over the last year, there is a lot of evidence to show that parts of the massive government stimulus money appropriated have gone to people who are not in need.

According to research done by the University of Chicago, “between April and July 2020, 76% of workers eligible for regular Unemployment Compensation have statutory replacement rates above 100%, meaning that they are eligible for benefits which exceed lost wages. The median statutory replacement rate is 145%.”

For four months most people on unemployment made 45 cents more for every dollar they made working. This program continued long after the four-month period, just at a rate of an additional $300 a week instead of $600.

Subsidizing workers one and a half times their normal wage to not work is irresponsible economic policy. Doing so will create no incentive or necessity for young, healthy workers to return to work and creates no incentive for state governors to re-open their states and allow people to get back to their regular lives.

The Biden COVID relief bill will extend additional unemployment insurance until September. An extension of these benefits is costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars to subsidize young healthy people who are capable of working but choose not to.

Furthermore, this massive government spending bill is hurting Americans in the long run. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the current national debt sits at just under $28T. To put that in perspective, that is about $84,000 per citizen.

Current and former policymakers on Capitol Hill from both sides of the political aisle have recognized the national debt emergency. However, no majority in either party has had the wherewithal to make anything change.

This COVID relief bill added two trillion dollars to the $28T national debt. To pay this debt back it is likely that the federal government will have to rapidly increase taxes or decrease the value of the dollar by printing more money, causing rapid inflation.

This Biden stimulus bill is unnecessary because there are states that have reopened their economies safely since the pandemic began to rage in March of 2020. For example, the State of Florida, under the leadership of Gov. Ron Desantis, has had massive success when looking at virus statistics versus the overall economy of the state.

According to Worldometers, a website that tracks coronavirus deaths by geographical location using data released by health departments and hospitals from all over the world, Florida has seen rates of death from COVID-19 that are lower than other states like New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. 

New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts by comparison all have COVID-19 deaths 2,000 people for every one million residents. Florida has a death rate of around 1,400 people for every one million residents. This is despite Florida having the highest population in the country of older residents, who are statistically more likely to die from COVID-19.

Unemployment numbers in Florida are better than that of New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate in Florida stands at 6.1%. This is despite Florida’s reliance on tourism and leisure travel. Florida’s unemployment rate is lower than other states like New York (8.2%), New Jersey (7.6%), and Massachusetts (7.1%) that imposed stricter lockdown measures and have worse virus numbers. The lockdowns did little to prevent deaths in New York as both New York and Florida share similar death counts while Florida never locked down.

Because Florida is doing better economically than other states, the need for a stimulus bill for Floridians is not as great as for New Yorkers. The problem is New Yorkers are making Floridians foot the bill for lockdown policies that did little to prevent additional deaths from COVID-19 in New York. 

From the outset of the pandemic, Florida never fully shut down its economy as New York did. The self-inflicted economic burden of New York should not have to be incurred or subsidized by the citizens of Florida. Instead, New York might want to learn from Florida and govern accordingly.

If all states took the necessary precautions to protect vulnerable individuals as Florida did, we could have returned to normal and not need the Biden Blue-State Bailout stimulus bill.