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Assault on America, Day 481: Round and round COVID-19 goes, but it stops at state bailouts

Cuomo and McConnell
Much as we’d like to believe otherwise, the government can’t keep spending at this pace

“Round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.”

The saying can mean a lot of things. Singer Edgar Winter famously applied it to the concept of love, but it just as readily pertains to a roulette wheel or a slot machine or a solar powered science project… or a six-shooter during a Russian roulette game… or government spending way out of control. It goes without saying a lot of folks are thinking about the “round and round” nature of current events these days with authorities at all levels grappling with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus and what to do about it.

Our elected leaders bandy about proposing and arguing over various fixes for the citizens most impacted by the virus -- not only for the sick in need of treatment but the millions upon millions of “regular” folks whose lives were turned upside down and round and round in the past couple months due to voluntary -- and mandatory -- self-quarantining orders. The trickle-down nature of bad economic fortune makes for a nearly impossible dilemma to grasp let alone solve at home or in the workplace. It’s like crawling through a huge darkened room in search of a single hairpin hidden in shag carpet.

President Donald Trump continues with his regular updates on the progress of the federal task force, providing a reassuring presence that leadership is pushing all the right buttons and resources are being allocated to the proper places. No doubt many prayers are directed skyward that it’s Trump heading the effort rather than Hillary Clinton -- or Joe Biden. Love Trump or hate him, an honest person would concede he’s an effective no-nonsense organizer and thrives as the man in charge. Even for supporters, however, the question is… where does it stop?

Nobody knows. And if anyone insists they know, they’re lying.

Last week Senator Mitch McConnell added his input, saying the federal government’s money train stops before reaching the state and local government stations. David Sherfinski reported at The Washington Times, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [last week] said that after nearly two weeks of delay, Democrats failed to attach a ‘blank check’ for state and local governments in the latest round of coronavirus relief legislation.

“The Kentucky Republican said it’s an ‘indisputable fact’ that Democrats blocked a clean extension of funding for a small business lending program that quickly exhausted its funding from an earlier $2.2 trillion package.

“’They wanted to extract other things. Fortunately, what they wanted to extract the most I refused to go along with, and the White House backed me up, and that was we’re not yet ready to just send a blank check down to state and local governments to spend any way they choose to,’ he told radio host Hugh Hewitt.”

One can only imagine where it would lead if Democrat governors and mayors were granted free rein to stock the local pantry with federally paid-for goodies for all their leftist constituencies, which include subsidy consuming limousine liberals, LGBTQ “rights” groups, single-issue abortion-pushing feminists, wacked out greenie fanatics, various race hustlers and corporate shakedown artists, trial attorneys, and, of course, the lazy entitlement crowd with so much time on their hands that they wear off the prints on their fingers dialing for Democrat grassroots campaigns. Oh yeah, Antifa and sanctuary shelters for illegal aliens, too.

In the interview, McConnell specifically mentioned state pension programs, which would obviously be a big, big, ticket item. States like California, New York and Illinois with extremely strong and powerful public unions would all extend their hands as far as they can reach to grab a big chunk from the federal trough for their pampered state employee members. Work for a couple decades and retire on the taxpayers’ dole for the “privilege” of having served. The union heads have little empathy for entrepreneurs and small business owners cashing in their life’s savings to try and meet payroll. They would have no such worries, especially if the power of the federal government were behind them.

Judging by the tens of millions who’ve filed for unemployment recently, the effort to remain afloat is failing. A wave of bankruptcies can’t be far behind. Who’s going to deal with it?

It’s no secret that states with the biggest fiscal problems are those with exceedingly generous benefits packages for public employees. It seems like a distant memory now, but remember the huge 2011 leftist protests of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when he and the newly elected (in the 2010 Tea Party election) Badger State conservative-controlled legislature proposed requiring teachers and other state workers to contribute more towards their healthcare and pension plans? You would’ve thought the world was coming to an end as Walker and colleagues stayed the course and passed reform legislation that helped Wisconsin get back on its fiscal feet.

The liberal teachers unions were so enraged at the thought of giving members an opt-out (Right to Work) clause that they tried to recall Walker, which also spectacularly went down in flames (anyone recollect the hilarious video of Hitler throwing a gasket over Walker’s victory? Certainly worth revisiting -- click here!), helping to turn the state semi-reliably red and definitely contributing to President Trump’s triumph in 2016.

Simply put, bailing out state and local governments would remove any semblance of accountability for bad governance. While it’s safe to say there’s national sympathy for places like New York City that were so devastated by the coronavirus, tons of money was already appropriated to help with the local situations. That coin comes from all over the country, too, including locales like Wyoming that’ve only had a token few virus-related deaths. As far as a serious revenue deficit from lost tax receipts, that’s a local problem. States should’ve been saving for the possibility of a widespread work stoppage and tax receipt shortfall.

If Democrats governors are afraid this is a partisan issue, the federal government shouldn’t bail out so-called “red” states either. We’re all in this together, right?

It's not that hard to figure out. If you don’t have a job, you’re not earning money. Government checks help with the necessities -- food, rent and toilet paper. But if you’re not getting a paycheck, there’s no taxes coming out of it. There’re no income taxes withheld and no social security or Medicare deductions or money for the worker’s compensation fund. Lest we forget, Uncle Sam isn’t getting paid in this scenario either and we don’t see Trump banging on the blue -- and red -- states’ doors to send him a larger share of tribute.

Picture the mythical “Social Security Trust Fund” which is not only losing money (the general fund had to start plugging the gap long ago), there’s a lot less coming in. For the years where Congress stole the surplus collections and spent (or wasted) them, this is a heck of a time to regret it now. Entitlement spending has been out of control for decades -- round and round, remember?

Even a month or two lay-off from these standard collections will result in significant underperformances in every jurisdiction, not just the ones hit with COVID-19 emergencies. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s argued that states and localities need bailouts from the federal government because the mass shutdowns have eroded or destroyed their tax revenue streams. For once, Cuomo’s right. But when does the backstop -- a.k.a., the federal government -- stop being a backstop because it has its own difficulties in printing checks with nothing of value to back them up?

The chickens have come home to roost, and peeing on the money tree won’t help

Americans -- and the world -- have big enough problems trying to ascertain methods that work to contain and ultimately cure the Chinese-based pandemic. The last thing we need now is for states and localities to request a blank federal waiver to cover for their largesse and poor management practices during times of prosperity and abundance. Voters should’ve grasped the consequences of electing ideological crusaders without a shred of common sense. The chickens have come home to roost!

My brother (who lives in Wyoming) perhaps encapsulated it best. “We’re all socialists now, collectively peeing on the government money tree to see if some fertilizer can stimulate the growth of more money. But all that’s really happening is we’re burning the roots with too much pee. When the money tree falls, it may crush the pee-ers. How’s that for a visual image?”

Vivid, the type of “imagery” that might possibly make a difference in the future. For far too long states, like the federal government, passed budgets with overly optimistic notions of being able to count on consistent revenues (or bailouts) to mask their unwillingness to tackle spending problems at the moment. Public employee associations pushed and pushed and paid off all the right lobbyists and politicians, while bargaining with “leaders” that were dependent on union campaign contributions for their offices. Now look at the mess we’re in. Sorry, the treasury is shut and locked.

How many of the big blue state politicians were supportive of Republican governors who’ve optimistically initiated the process of businesses reopening (and hence, start receiving tax payments again)? How many are willing to take a chance on their own citizens’ common sense to do their part to stop the spread (and for the most vulnerable to continue keeping their distance)? This can’t go on forever.

Round and round it goes, where it stops… somebody better figure it out. Pronto.

Biden campaign takes a pint from Nancy “Antoinette” Pelosi’s freezer

With an almost certain new emphasis on fiscal prudence and responsibility to come, it doesn’t look good for Grampa Joe Biden’s campaign people to be purchasing the vastly overpriced ice cream from the same vendor that supplied Nancy Pelosi her self-quarantine sugar fix.

Emma Colton reported at The Washington Examiner, “Joe Biden’s presidential campaign spent nearly $11,000 on gourmet ice cream that is also a favorite of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's.

“The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign spent $10,600 on Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams between May 2019 and March 2020. The ice cream was listed as donor gifts, according to Federal Election Committee data.

“Pelosi has taken a lot of heat since last week when she joined James Corden on his late-night comedy show and showcased her freezer packed with ice cream. Among the selection were pints of Jeni’s Splendid. ‘I don't know what I would've done if ice cream were not invented,’ she said via video conference from her home.”

So much for the millions out of work who can’t afford the basic necessities let alone ice cream that costs a (estimated) dollar a spoonful. Here’s thinking the Biden campaign never anticipated its choice in dessert purchases would draw special attention to their spending habits, but all’s fair in love, war and… politics.

For those state and local officials who argue that Uncle Sam should provide a fill-in pot o’ gold for their lost tax revenues, why don’t they go ask Grampa Joe how he justifies dropping over $10K a year for frozen delights? Here’s thinking if you went down the list of Biden campaign expenditures that there’d be a lot of interesting things on the ledger that are hardly related to getting the political message out to the voters.

Americans aren’t likely to be as forgiving (as they were in the past) for hypocritical politicians -- and their hirelings -- who live like kings and queens while the blighted populace stands in line waiting to sign up for unemployment benefits. For those who claim this topic isn’t fair game, why isn’t it?

While it’s not possible to predict exactly where the coronavirus conundrum stops, we at least recognize where it started (China) and what we shouldn’t be doing (dumping federal money on state and local governments) to beat it in the interim. With the world changing before our eyes, someone needs to mind the store.

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