On Friday, March 27th, President Trump signed H.R. 748, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act.” It is an emergency assistance stimulus package to combat economic turmoil created by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The bill costs American taxpayers $2 trillion, or about one-tenth of the nation’s gross domestic product. This is the most extensive economic rescue package in history, making the 2009 Recovery Act seem laughable in comparison.
The bipartisan plan’s key features cover numerous facets of the American economy in its 880 pages. These features range from the airline industry to student loans. However, the key provision of the measure is a payment of $1,200 to each American that makes $75,000 a year or less. After this, the “tax rebate” is then diminished for individuals making greater than $75,000, but less than $99,000 per year. Furthermore, parents can also receive up to another $500 per child they claimed as a dependent.
No spending bill on Capitol Hill is without pork-money spent in a particular area to get political advantages. Even in these unparalleled times of economic hardship, politicians are still looking to gain political points in their districts by further drowning the nation in debt. Likewise, bureaucratic bickering has also seen significant additions to the relief package. The total cost of the bill has been ramped-up by billions of non-existing taxpayer dollars as a result. Here are some examples:
The Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development received $78,000 to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Although this does have to do with the coronavirus, the better question is what a cultural development center has to do with this task?
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts received a $25 million taxpayer bailout to pay employees and other operating expenses during its closing until May 10th. However, members of the National Symphony Orchestra were told that they would no longer be paid just a few hours after Trump signed the bill into law.
The Food and Drug Administration was not allotted a specific dollar amount. However, they are now permitted to review new, more innovative ingredients for over-the-counter sunscreen. Although this has nothing to do with the coronavirus, it is further exacerbated by the question of whether these new sunscreen products will see use soon due to fears over the pandemic.
The “Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” or NPR and PBS, will receive a grant of $75,000,000. However, this amount of money could have bought over 555,000 test kits. Allocated to a fund called “Migration and Refugee Assistance,” another $350 million was designated to help illegal aliens settle during the pandemic. Despite the partisan nature of this section, some news outlets have turned a blind eye to this provision.
Whether people agree or disagree with some of the “pork” in the bill, the money could have undoubtedly gone to better places. Purchasing items such as N95 masks or test kits will be vital to combating the coronavirus in the long run. The political points won by politicians will only be temporary.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.