Home U.S Liz Peek: Biden’s monster 'rescue' bill destroys campaign vows and endangers recovery 

Liz Peek: Biden’s monster 'rescue' bill destroys campaign vows and endangers recovery 

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Congratulations to President Biden, who just jammed his $1.9 TRILLION pork-stuffed “stimulus” bill through Congress with exactly zero Republican votes, smashing his campaign promise to govern as a moderate and unite the nation.  

The so-called “American Rescue Plan” is the largest bill ever passed in America’s history. It’s $1.9 with 11 zeroes, a number most of us can’t even grasp. 

Even as Democrats whittled away at some of the bill’s most controversial features – like unemployment benefits that would pay people more than their jobs and keep them from going back to work or checks to people with six-figure incomes – the sum total of the bill’s largesse never budged. Biden made it clear it was to be $1.9 trillion or zip. 

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Why such stubbornness? Why was Biden unwilling to negotiate with Republicans to arrive at a bipartisan compromise? Could it be that Biden had an especial need to have his bill top the $1.8 trillion Cares Act passed last spring under President Trump? A bill, we hasten to say, that the senate approved 96-0. Is Biden that petty? 

Given his recent attempts to claim credit for Trump’s extraordinary success with Operation Warp Speed, we say yes, he is just that petty. His false claims that there was no vaccine when he entered the White House and his administration’s repeated assertion there was no plan to roll it out got roundly panned, and rightly so. 

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Taking credit for someone else’s work is plagiarism. The president has a long history of stealing from others; indeed, Biden’s 1987 run at the White House collapsed when he was caught lifting a speech from another politician. The attempt to nab credit for the vaccine is just one more shoddy chapter.  

But, we digress. The important news is that Congress is set to pass a sloppy aid bill stuffed with $350 billion in handouts to blue cities and states and tens of billions for Dem-aligned special interest groups like the teachers unions. A bill that even left-leaning economists like Larry Summers warn is too big. 

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Republicans voted against the American Rescue Plan (ARP) not because they are hard-hearted or determined to undermine a popular president. That would be stupid and, despite Biden calling some Republicans Neanderthals, most politicians have a pretty keen sense of what their constituents want. 

No, the GOP opposed the ARP because there remains $1 trillion unspent from prior rescue packages, much of the money in the new bill won’t go out this year and only a slim portion impacts vaccine availability or other urgent needs. 

As important, we don’t need $2 trillion in additional funds injected into an economy that is rapidly recovering and which will grow even faster as the vaccines allow more businesses around the nation to open. This is indisputable, and backed by the latest jobs report, which showed 379,000 people going back to work in February, mainly in industries emerging from lockdowns. 

As Summers noted in an op-ed in the Washington Post, “Wage and salary incomes are now running about $30 billion a month below pre-COVID-19 forecasts, and this gap will likely decline during 2021. Yet increased benefit payments and tax credits in 2021 with proposed stimulus measures would total about $150 billion – a ratio of 5 to 1.” 

Though Biden thinks he is avoiding the pitfall that damaged the Obama economy, he is actually making the same mistakes.

Biden has dismissed the recent boom in homebuilding, strong retail sales, climbing manufacturing and the excess $2 trillion held by consumers, scared the good news will dampen voter enthusiasm for his gargantuan bill. 

His intransigence stems not only from a desire to best his predecessor, but also because leftist economists like Paul Krugman have convinced him that the disappointing recovery that haunted the Obama-Biden years was caused by inadequate government stimulus spending. They claim the $800 billion American Recover and Reinvestment Act was too puny.   

Early on, Biden argued we needed to “go big” to avoid making the same mistake. 

The irony is that Obama’s economic failures did not stem from an inadequate rescue bill; they flowed from an endless parade of costly rules, regulations and taxes, starting with the massively disruptive Affordable Care Act, all of which caused employers to pause hiring just as the economy was gaining steam. 

Ironically, though Biden thinks he is avoiding the pitfall that damaged the Obama economy, he is actually making the same mistakes. ObamaCare, too, passed only with Democrat votes, sapping Obama’s political capital. And, like Obama, Biden has a truckload of new regulations and programs – and taxes – he’s keen to enact that will cause massive uncertainty and stall the recovery.  

Speed bumps lie ahead. First, Americans may wake up to the costs of the American Rescue Plan and balk at the massive infrastructure bill that Biden has promised will soon follow. They may wonder why the president didn’t put rebuilding our airports and highways ahead of bailing out blue states.   

Second, as Summers wrote, “there is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation.” Even now, prices are rising for gasoline, food and other items. If it continues, Biden will be blamed. 

Joe Biden entered the White House with the easiest mission imaginable: preside over the rapid decline of COVID, which was already being vanquished by numerous vaccines, watch as the economy continued to take off, spurred by reopenings and the trillions in stimulus measures enacted in 2020, and bask in the warm glow of not being President Trump.  

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The nation was ready for a change, and seemingly content to let Biden hide out in the White House, just as for months he had taken refuge in his basement. The stage was set for a successful presidency.  

But, remember President Obama’s reported warning, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.” We will not. 

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