The Stimulus Feeding Frenzy
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
Congress and the White House may be very close to agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package, but the details on what’s inside that monster bill are still sketchy.
And that’s a problem – because some of the proposals that have made their way into the daylight are jaw-dropping.
The Wall Street Journal reports that various industry lobbyists are taking full advantage of a “rare chance” to make it rain for their clients:
Lobbyists for restaurants are pressing Congress to include new caps on the transaction fees that stores must pay credit-card companies like Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. on consumer purchases.
The health-insurance lobby has asked lawmakers to add a proposal that would limit how much hospitals and doctors can charge patients for testing and treatment of coronavirus. And the fishing industry is pushing for changes in immigration laws to help ensure it can handle next season’s salmon catch.
Nevermind the public health threat, there’s bailout money, favors, exemptions, carve-outs and handouts there for the taking.
As bad as the examples above may be, there are worse. Consider the bailout the nation’s transit groups are asking for. According to Reason’s Christian Britschgi, transit advocates initially wanted $12.8 billion. Then the raised the ask to $16 billion. Then things got weird:
By Sunday, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) released a draft version of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, it budgeted $20 billion in emergency relief for public transportation. The language of the bill strongly encourages, but does not require, that transit agencies spend this money on COVID-19-related expenses.
Which is nice…expect the House version of the stimulus would give the transit agencies $25 billion.
At this rate, they may as well hold out for $50 billion, because Congress seems intent on giving these perennial money losers everything they want, and much more.