By Don Frost
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” advised Rahm Emanuel, former Chicago mayor and chief of staff to Barack Obama. He went on to elaborate, “What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before.”
The country is reeling under the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic. Americans are missing paychecks. Medical supplies are in desperately short supply. The stock market is in a tail spin. Retirement accounts are being wiped out. Store shelves are bare. People are dying.
In the face of this Democrats in Congress took Emanuel’s advice. They tried to pack the relief bill with a “liberal’s” wish list, a cornucopia of provisions that have zero to do with helping people; zero to do with combatting the virus; zero to do with bolstering the economy.
Whether they were successful or not only time will tell. The massive bill – now a law when President Trump signed it – has yet to be fully explained. As the infamous House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said as Obamacare was working its way through Congress, “Pass it. Then we’ll find out what’s in it.”
Still it is noteworthy that Congressional Democrats were all about trying “to do things [they] could not do before.” Theirs was a naked attempt to take advantage of people’s financial troubles; of people’s fears; of people’s lives. They have no shame.
Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, House whip, wasn’t even mildly embarrassed by his party’s playing politics with the virus crisis. The pandemic, he said, “is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
Imagine the nationwide outrage, the headlines stoked by a Left-leaning press, if a Republican had said that: “GOP admits they’re playing politics with the pandemic.”
Pelosi’s proposals for the relief package included a bailout for the Postal Service, relaxed voter registration rules, expanded bargaining rules for unions, money for “juvenile justice programs” (whatever that may be), money for PBS and the arts; the suspension of some immigration law enforcement, Green New Deal nonsense beloved by the Left, new race- and gender-based regulations on business, and funding for wind and solar energy.
How all these add ons were supposed to help anyone (besides vote-hungry Democrats) remains a mystery. One thing that is not a mystery is the cost. The proposed relief bill was projected to cost $2 trillion. Pelosi’s extras would boost it to $2.5 trillion. It ultimately rose to $2.2 trillion. Does the “liberal” wish list account for the extra cost above the original $2 trillion estimate? Time alone will tell when unelected clerks throughout government decide what Congress actually meant, and then they begin implementing the spending.
State and the federal governments are cracking down on retailers who take advantage of the pandemic to engage in price gouging. But Democrats in Congress remain free to take advantage of the pandemic to pander for votes, to sneak pet legislation into a relief bill, to bolster their political agenda.
Don Frost blogs at www.commonsense931.wordpress.com