Coronavirus relief bill shows why we need to constrain government spending

The recent debate over emergency funding legislation to battle COVID-19 is another example of why we need to constrain government spending.

Both the House and Senate see this much needed relief for America as another chance to add unnecessary spending items to a bill that the president will sign to present good financial news to the stock market and keep our economic institutions vibrant and strong.

You would think this is a time to set aside political differences and have all our senators and members of the House of Representatives work together for the benefit of the nation.  I guess it is too hard for them.  If they can't, the rest of us should think of ways to constrain their antics.

Let us look at it from the elected officials' point of view.  It's not their own money they are spending.  Groups receiving the funds will help them advance their careers.  And currently, because the re-election rate of incumbents hovers around 90%, legislators have no real incentive to be good stewards of taxpayer resources.

Let's look at some of the proposed ideas to the stimulus package:

  • Impose racial and gender pay equity provisions.
  • Mandate diversity on corporate boards.
  • Increase use of minority-owned banks by federal offices.
  • Increase the collective bargaining power for unions.
  • Increase fuel emission standards and required carbon offsets for airlines
  • Prove more tax credits for alternative energy programs.
  • Provide close to a billion dollars to colleges and universities. 
  • Suspend various aspects of enforcement of immigration laws.
  • Impose requirements on states for early voting, and voting by mail
  • Require mailing of absentee ballots to everyone,
  • Require online voter registration and same-day registration
  • Reduce student loan debt by $10,000 per borrower
  • Permanently expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium subsidies
  • Forgive all the U.S. Postal Service's debt
  • Bail out multi-employer pension plans that were failing prior to Covid-19 coming to America

You may agree or disagree on these items.  But they do not belong in a COVID-19 stimulus bill.  Those advocating their inclusion should be ashamed of themselves and probably lack the courage to go through the regular congressional order.

This is just the latest example of why we must do more to constrain congressional spending.  You can understand why trust in government continues to fall.  Congress dithers with additions to the bill that have nothing to do with COVID-19, and the rest of America watch their jobs eliminated, investments decline, and small businesses shutter.

Dr. David Rehr is a professor and director of the Center for Business Civic Engagement at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.  He hosts the Advocacy and Influence podcast, available on all podcast platforms.

The recent debate over emergency funding legislation to battle COVID-19 is another example of why we need to constrain government spending.

Both the House and Senate see this much needed relief for America as another chance to add unnecessary spending items to a bill that the president will sign to present good financial news to the stock market and keep our economic institutions vibrant and strong.

You would think this is a time to set aside political differences and have all our senators and members of the House of Representatives work together for the benefit of the nation.  I guess it is too hard for them.  If they can't, the rest of us should think of ways to constrain their antics.

Let us look at it from the elected officials' point of view.  It's not their own money they are spending.  Groups receiving the funds will help them advance their careers.  And currently, because the re-election rate of incumbents hovers around 90%, legislators have no real incentive to be good stewards of taxpayer resources.

Let's look at some of the proposed ideas to the stimulus package:

  • Impose racial and gender pay equity provisions.
  • Mandate diversity on corporate boards.
  • Increase use of minority-owned banks by federal offices.
  • Increase the collective bargaining power for unions.
  • Increase fuel emission standards and required carbon offsets for airlines
  • Prove more tax credits for alternative energy programs.
  • Provide close to a billion dollars to colleges and universities. 
  • Suspend various aspects of enforcement of immigration laws.
  • Impose requirements on states for early voting, and voting by mail
  • Require mailing of absentee ballots to everyone,
  • Require online voter registration and same-day registration
  • Reduce student loan debt by $10,000 per borrower
  • Permanently expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium subsidies
  • Forgive all the U.S. Postal Service's debt
  • Bail out multi-employer pension plans that were failing prior to Covid-19 coming to America

You may agree or disagree on these items.  But they do not belong in a COVID-19 stimulus bill.  Those advocating their inclusion should be ashamed of themselves and probably lack the courage to go through the regular congressional order.

This is just the latest example of why we must do more to constrain congressional spending.  You can understand why trust in government continues to fall.  Congress dithers with additions to the bill that have nothing to do with COVID-19, and the rest of America watch their jobs eliminated, investments decline, and small businesses shutter.

Dr. David Rehr is a professor and director of the Center for Business Civic Engagement at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.  He hosts the Advocacy and Influence podcast, available on all podcast platforms.