A bedtime scene:
- 7-year-old: Joe Biden is going to send us money.
- Mom: No. Joe Biden is going to take money from us and send it to other people. Our income is too high to qualify for the money that Joe Biden is sending out.
- 7-year-old: You and Dad should stop working then, so that you can get the money instead of paying the money.
Which reminds me… what is actually in this bill? It is supposedly about $1,400 checks for most Americans (do children, retirees, and those already on welfare get checks?)? But if we divide $1.9 trillion by 308 million (Census-estimated population of 330 million minus the 22 million undocumented who presumably won’t qualify for a federal program organized by Social Security number), we get $6,169 per documented American. Plainly, the majority of this $1.9 trillion is going somewhere other than into average Americans’ pockets.
(Does it make sense to pay the same amount to a government worker who has been paid in full to stay home and work a few hours per day as it does to a self-employed Uber driver whose income has been reduced and whose job requires leaving the house and being exposed to COVID-19?)
From the New York Times:
It would inject vast amounts of federal resources into the economy, including one-time direct payments of up to $1,400 for hundreds of millions of Americans, jobless aid of $300 a week to last through the summer, money for distributing coronavirus vaccines and relief for states, cities, schools and small businesses struggling during the pandemic.
Beyond the immediate aid, the bill, titled the American Rescue Plan, is estimated to cut poverty by a third this year and would plant the seeds for what Democrats hope will become an income guarantee for children. It would potentially cut child poverty in half, through a generous expansion of tax credits for Americans with children — which Democrats hope to make permanent — increases in subsidies for child care, a broadening of eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, and an expansion of food stamps and rental assistance.
The last part sounds like a continuation of the trend discussed in When and why did it become necessary to pay Americans to have children? (2015). Going forward, the childless will be mined out even more thoroughly and made to work even longer hours to take over what would have been the costs of rearing children. I also wonder if this will make being a family court entrepreneur more lucrative relative to working. State child support formulae won’t change. Having sex with a dentist, for example, should still yield $1-2 million in Massachusetts. But the plaintiff who collects child support and works a few hours per week will now also be entitled to additional tax credits and taxpayer-funded child care. Instead of building the spending power of a dentist by having sex with three dentists, it might be possible to obtain the spending power of a dentist by having sex with two dentists (especially if income tax rates also go up; remember that child support is not taxable). Going to dental school may not look so smart anymore.
How does this spending compare to the Collapse of 2008?
Its eye-popping cost is just shy of the $2.2 trillion stimulus measure that became law last March … Even with changes, the bill remained more than than double the size of the roughly $800 billion stimulus package that Congress approved in 2009, when Mr. Biden was vice president, to counter the toll of the Great Recession.
So Americans are spending more than 4X at the federal level on coronapanic compared to what we spent cleaning up after our unwise enthusiasm for subprime mortgages.
$130 billion to primary and secondary schools
Rewarding public schools’ lack of effort with $130 billion will certainly not encourage them to repeat their performance during the next wave of coronavariants! (Alternatively, why not give the $130 billion to the schools that actually reopened no later than, say, September 1, 2020?)
Fair to say that this $1.9 trillion spending package will address every bumper sticker on the back of this car? (from January 2020)Full post, including comments