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ICYMI: Greg Moore: Massive new spending package won’t boost coronavirus recovery

Feb 25, 2021 by AFP

Americans for Prosperity State Director Greg Moore | New Hampshire Union Leader Op-Ed

While Americans are working to beat coronavirus and rebuild a dynamic economy, lawmakers in Washington should have one priority: supporting our efforts to recover stronger. There are numerous reforms that can be enacted to get government out of the way, and they should be front and center in the debate in Washington.

We need the New Hampshire congressional delegation to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, for example, support bolstering the supply chain, improving data infrastructure, and ensuring that medical research institutions are equipped to adapt their COVID-19-related projects to account for new variants. Reforms such as these should be a part of the debate.

As is often the case, some policymakers seem more interested in trying to fund pet projects by linking them to the current emergency, and the result is a massive $1.9 trillion spending bill that at best wastes our money, and at worst may do more harm than good.

There’s little to like in the package currently being discussed in Congress, which is built on a partisan wish list that fails to address real problems. It’s a package with “relief” payments to many who have lost no income, offering tens of billions in direct subsidies to big insurance companies, and with massive new costs on struggling small businesses that will eliminate jobs.

This is a terrible approach. Congress should be providing timely, temporary, and targeted spending, with relief focused on those hit hardest by the pandemic. It should adopt reforms which we are confident will get people back to work safely, help our kids learn, and improve health care.

The bill also includes $350 billion in bailouts for poorly-managed state governments. In doing so, it ignores the fact that collective state and local tax revenues actually grew slightly in 2020, despite the pandemic. Even where they declined, many states saw losses that were smaller than expected, with tax revenues in 38 states down 5 percent or less according to the New York Times. Further, revenues will grow even more if the economy continues to rebound, as expected in 2021.

There’s no doubt people are hurting — especially in hard-hit sectors like the restaurant and hospitality industry. The slowdown means that it’s far harder to find employment than it was a year ago, women’s participation in the labor force has fallen to a 30-year low, savings have taken a hit, and some are struggling to cover rent or a mortgage. Targeted relief should be available for those individuals, families, and businesses.

But we shouldn’t be blind to the fact that in the face of hard times, Americans are adapting and innovating. Despite strong headwinds, the economy is recovering, and at a faster pace than many predicted last year. Congress should provide relief where it’s most needed, without undermining the recovery.

We’re counting on Senators Hassan and Shaheen to work with colleagues to eliminate wasteful spending and enact reforms that will keep taxes low, advance a personal health care option that ensures individuals and not the government control their own health care decisions, avoid costly bailouts, and help people get back to work safely.

Click here to read the entire op-ed.