Thursday, December 24, 2020

Giving the Gift of...Fiscal Responsibility?


Friends, my real gift to you this Christmas is...another life-changing article, rich with the heady aromas of rightness.  We've had a lot of fun pontificating together this past year, and now is the time to give thanks, to acknowledge the omnipotence and grace of our Creator, and to steel ourselves for many more forthcoming battles with the forces of iniquity.  In the meantime, here are my reflections on the latest COVID "Relief Bill," and why it's a symptom of what ails this country...

President Trump is Right to Veto the COVID “Relief Bill”

President Trump has announced his intention to veto the new $900 billion so-called COVID Relief Bill. That is a decision that I wholeheartedly support, but Trump's stated reason is the wrong one. Trump says that the $600 payments that most taxpayers will receive are insufficient. He wants the payments increased to $2,000! He forgets that our country's financial resources are not unlimited. We have already dug ourselves an impressive fiscal hole in the context of the ongoing pandemic. The last thing we should do is to make that hole deeper.

This year our country will shoulder its largest deficit of all time: over $3 trillion. The excuse that our political masters offer is that we face an unprecedented pandemic, and this necessitates unprecedented federal intervention and massive stimulus.

The fact, though, is that the scattershot approach to “stimulus” that the federal government is following is grossly irresponsible. Yes, more than 300,000 Americans have died, but consider that in a typical year around 3 million Americans die (of all causes), and meanwhile the vast majority of us will, in any given year, including this one, be left among the living — and we will be on the hook for whatever prodigal stupidity politicians engage in.

We simply cannot endorse maximum spending in response to every crisis. Our spending should always be proportionate to the emergency that presents itself, and it should be carefully targeted to alleviate that emergency, rather than to exploit it for partisan or corrupt purposes.

Consider that the so-called COVID Relief Bill just passed by Congress throws money willy-nilly in all directions. It sets aside billions for foreign countries, for illegal immigrants, and for federal programs that have no conceivable relevance to COVID itself. It plows money into deep blue cities and states that have overspent wildly for years, because they expected that the federal government would ride to the rescue and bail them out. It pays many American workers more in enhanced unemployment benefits than they would earn if they returned to work, creating a perverse incentive for them to sit idle, thus keeping unemployment rates high and slowing down the nation's economic recovery.

These are the actions not of statesmen trying to rescue America from its plight, but of craven politicians trying to capitalize on the pandemic to purchase the good will of the voters, of special interests, and even of our allies overseas.

The worst feature of the so-called COVID Relief Bill, however, is the very $600 payments to taxpayers that Trump, illogically, wants to increase to $2,000. While it is true that money that suddenly appears in ordinary Americans' bank accounts is likely to be spent, and thus to stimulate the economy, the facts are these: the large majority of Americans have not contracted COVID and nor have they lost their jobs. They thus have no pressing need for a lump sum payment, and tens of millions of them won't spend it. The distribution of cash payments to every American making less than $75,000 per year, and to every couple making less than $150,000, is the bluntest possible instrument to accomplish the stated objective of economic stimulus. It also happens to be popular, because everyone enjoys receiving an unexpected windfall, and it is outrageously expensive, adding to the deficit and to the national debt.

Worse yet, payments like these spread the cancer of dependency. What the advocates of socialism want, more than anything, is for typical, hard-working Americans to become eager recipients of government handouts. Socialists want us to see the federal government as the source of an inexhaustible supply of “free money,” which we can tap whenever a “crisis” arises. Heaven forbid that we should have to tackle life's challenges with our own resources, or, as the old saying goes, “save for a rainy day”!

Alarmingly, spending proposals offered by “President-Elect” Biden and his team are even more extravagant: they include blank checks to cities and states flirting with bankruptcy, indiscriminate forgiveness of student loan debt, subsidized child care, “investments” in infrastructure, rent subsidies, an expansion to Obamacare, and a down payment on the “Green New Deal”. In other words, Biden would make our fiscal emergency into a fiscal catastrophe.

All this makes the plan to send a $600 check to every American a horrific mistake. I count myself as one of those tens of millions of Americans who will receive such a check despite the fact that I have no need for it. But I understand, as apparently few Americans do, that there is no such thing as a “free lunch”. Sooner or later, we, the taxpayers, will have to pay back the money that we are borrowing in 2020, and with interest. Interest rates are low, for now, and thus the temptation to spend wildly is strong, but we are approaching the point of no return after which reestablishing our country's fiscal health may be impossible. Soon, interest rates will rise, and our burden of debt may become insupportable.

Is this mere scaremongering? Consider the huge spike this year in the value of gold and of cryptocurrencies. These increases reflect a desire on the part of investors to find a refuge from the U.S. dollar, the future of which looks more and more shaky, given the fact that the “good faith and credit” of the federal government grows more illusory by the day.

We waste money by the trillions in America, and we have done so for years. In the context of the mass panic that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic, however, this profligacy has only grown worse.

President Trump is right to veto the so-called COVID Relief Bill, therefore. Congress should get to work on a replacement bill — but it should be one that is smaller, more targeted, and more fiscally responsible.

That may not please the politicians, or even the voters, but it will please our children and grandchildren — you know, the ones picking up the tab?

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480/106.9.


And here it is at Townhall: 



  2. Dr. Waddy, if you are going to attack the COVID relief bill, at least get your facts straight.

    Congress passed a $2.3 trillion spending package: a roughly $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill — consisting of 12 different bills to fund the government during fiscal year 2021 — and a separate, approximately $900 billion bill specifically for COVID-19 relief.

    It’s the $1.4 trillion part of the package that included funding for U.S. policies and priorities within the country and abroad, not the COVID-19 relief bill!

    I also find it disturbing that you downplay the loss of 330,000 lives. We set a record of deaths this year in this country because of COVID.

    I also get annoyed with the hypocrisy of so-called fiscal conservatives not being bothered by the additional $1 trillion added to the national debt because of the "tax reform" bill passed earlier in the Trump administration whose benefit went largely to the wealthy and businesses, and yet $900 million to allow people to economically survive is fiscally irresponsible.

    Finally, our economy is driven by consumer spending. If you have no money, like the 20 million currently unemployed, then you can't spend it. If you have no business, you can't pay people, who will then spend money. If people can't earn money, they can't pay taxes.

    The COVID relief bill is an investment in our country, not a sign of fiscal irresponsibility.

  3. What was it Stalin was supposed to have said about deaths? Was it "The Death of one person is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic"? We all know how much Stalin contributed to death don't we? We all know how much he cared don't we?

    While our politicians can hardly be compared to Stalin, I'm convinced most of them really don't care how many people have died from COVID. Why should they? Unless they lost friends or family to COVID how can they? Of course they have to say they care, and the higher up the politician the more they say they have to care.

    One thing for sure, most politicians in this country have used COVID to advance their own agendas and egotistical careers. I heard that one governor actually told people they should wear masks in between bites while eating. Seriously!

    But you know, out of a population of over 300 million, 330,000 is a dent. Obviously not to those who have lost friends and family, but to the average person who has not, their is no way people can really mourn for those they don't know, much less ever met. So what is 330,000 to a bunch of politicians?

    If COVID-19 doesn't kill you than something will. Everyone dies, and there are no exceptions. You can go from failure of any one of a number of bodily organs. You can get killed in a car accident, if cancer, diabetes, or heart failure or a stroke doesn't get you first. So why not COVID-19? So far, lots of lonely old people sitting around in nursing homes with medical issues and old age were vulnerable, and many died. But who else died? More people have recovered than died.

    So all that COVID-19 really did was to provide a bunch of asshole politicians to control and manipulate, and the medical community must love new diseases don't you think.

  4. I was unaware that Mr. Waddy is a college professor and can fill some eighteen-year-old's head with all his nonsense. I can counter with facts, reason, and logic.
    In 2015, when Trump ran for office, he was being only judged politically on what he promised. Everyone else was being judged on what they had produced- real or imagined. If Trump had lousy press coverage, it was a misery he had brought upon himself. Trump openly called the media "the scum of the Earth" on more than one occasion. Reagan had similar economic policies, but approached the press as the loveable grandfather; plus, Reagan worked with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil. "Democrats could game the system." Trump is 0-52 in voter fraud cases. Trump has lost two Supreme Court case(9-0).
    This also includes Trump's three Supreme Court nominees voting against Trump.
    Mr. Waddy: If there is this obvious voter fraud, why cannot be proved court? Trump did not win one state for voter fraud. Referring to mail-in ballots, the US Postmaster General was a Trump appointee; who was knowingly and willingly trying circumvent the Voter Rights Act.

    Yes. It was challenged in court. Mr. Waddy is advancing all this absurd nonsense. Why? One of the fastest ways to move up in academia is to advance these half-baked pseudo-intellectual theories, write a book and become "famous" for being "controversial". I am not sure where Mr. Waddy teaches, but this half-baked pseudo-intellectual rubbish would never be accepted at an elite American university.
    Were American voters supposed to ignore facts: 300,0000(and growing) people dead because of a poorly managed pandemic. . Millions in food lines A 4.2 trillion-dollar budget deficit. A national debt vs. budget deficit 136%. These are all record high.
    Mr. Waddy seems to feel we have no right to judge the moral character of Donald Trump. Trump bragged about sexual assault. Trump is a married man that has unprotected sex with a porn star and uses campaign money as hush money. As far as Russia is concerned, it is here Trump loses in court. The Muller Report produced 44 indictments and five convictions. Trump has pardoned the convicted.

    As far as Biden being "senile". Bidden participated in numerous Democratic debates and two debates with Trump.
    If Biden was such a bumbling senile old fool, how did Biden get through those debates. How did Biden get 7,000,000 more votes than Trump? In the debates, all Trump could do is blame – blame the media, blame the Democrats, blame China, blame RHINOS.
    Is Biden senile; or, is Biden drawing from his extensive years of experience in government?
    Please vote: Who agrees with my assessment of the 2020 election or agrees with Mr. Waddy's assessment ?

    1. By the way Mr. Polucci, it is DR. Waddy, not Mr. Waddy.

      Sounds like you are a real Trump hater. In fact you seem so good at it that I am going to award you the title of Trump Master Baiter and Hater.

      I think you meant RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and not RHINOS, which is an animal found in Africa, as you know.

      Anyway, welcome to DR. Waddy's blog, and the more opposition you can bring to the site, the better. I will enjoy DR. Waddy tearing you to shreds, but nicely.

      Merry Christmas. Just think, your hero Joe Biden might be President this time next year.

  5. Merry Christmas

    1. Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

  6. Ray, I fear America as a whole is already in danger of overdosing on anti-depressants... What a country! Richer and freer than any country that has ever existed, and yet more mopey than any of its peers -- past and present.

    Rod, you're right that it's a complicated bill. Way too complicated, in fact, but that's the point, after all -- to mix in some necessary and laudable spending with some outrageous pork, and challenge anyone to vote down a popular grab bag of spending. We've seen this play before, haven't we? Okay, people who are unemployed need relief...assuming they can't go back to work. Do I need relief? No. Do you? Probably not. Then why are we getting it???

    You make a lot of sense, Ray. Yes, every death is a tragedy...but not to a leftist or a politician!!! Only some deaths are USEFUL. Surely even Rod realizes that, in his lucid moments. Hiding behind the dearly departed is the oldest trick in the book, no?

    Welcome, John! In my view, Trump has not LOST in the Supreme Court. Texas' case was not taken up by the Court. That's hardly the same thing. Also in my view, Texas' arguments are airtight: an election that isn't run according to prevailing election laws ought to be void. Believe me, you'd feel the same way if Republican election authorities started making up new rules as they went along. Maybe we will, in future.

    John, you level so many charges against Trump that I hardly know where to begin. But I will say this: you're right that Biden didn't behave like a senile old fool in the debates. He did what he had to do. Again, though, is he under treatment for his mental decline? That we're not permitted to know.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    Cute video, Rod. Did you make it yourself? If so, you're songwriting at a third grade level now -- you're making progress, kiddo! :)

  7. Dr. Waddy. No. The video was made by someone else (as you can see, Dane Callstrom).

    If you have problems with the songwriting, take it up with multiple Tony-Award-Winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, of "The Heights" and a smaller play .. let's see ... oh, yeah, "Hamilton."

  8. Oh my. "Hamilton" was that bad, huh? Good thing I gave it a pass.

  9. Yeah. I guess the number of awards and record box office showed "Hamilton" was a real dud.

  10. I would say so. Cultural value often exists in inverse proportion to both commercial success and critical acclaim.