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Here’s What The Swamp Stuck In The Stimulus

Here’s What The Swamp Stuck In The Stimulus

In the latest version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, less than half of those allotted taxpayer dollars seem intended to actually go towards COVID-19 related provisions, which prompts the question: What else has the swamp stuck in the stimulus?

Politicians are making sure they’re not letting the coronavirus crisis go to waste by ballooning the cost of the current round of COVID-19 stimulus. Under the bill’s current form, which is 591 pages long, half of the coronavirus stimulus package will go towards government programs and projects that are tangentially related to the COVID-19 pandemic, if at all, according to the Wall Street Journal editorial board. Some of the provisions to fight the virus’s impact on public health and the economy have even been found to serve the long-term detriment of the taxpayer, but the Democrat-controlled government seems set on pushing forward.

The $1,400 stimulus checks make up a large bulk of the spending and carry a $413 billion price tag, The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote. Vaccinations, treatments, COVID-19 testing, and medical supplies will receive around $75 billion. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) receives a boosted $7.2 billion and $15 billion for economic injury disaster, the bill’s text says. According to the Journal’s editorial board report, restaurants, bars, and live venues will receive $26 billion. Payroll support for airlines will total $15 billion.

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The bill also extends additional federal unemployment benefits. It increases the total from $300 to $400 for individuals until August, according to ABC7, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says “could increase the unemployment rate as well as decrease labor force participation.” CBO estimates also project the extension of federal unemployment benefits will cause federal deficits to increase by $246 billion.

State health departments and community health centers would get $19 billion from provisions devoted to “public health,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board noted. According to the bill’s text, the Indian Health Service would receive just over $6 billion, and another $4 billion would go towards mental health.

Beyond the aforementioned provisions, which total around $825 billion, the bill provides $350 billion for various state and local governments, CNN reported.

The $220 billion for states directly rewards self-inflicted economic damage via lockdowns and other detrimental pandemic economic policies by allocating resources based on the average unemployment rate in a three-month period that ended in December 2020, the Journal’s editorial board argued. States with higher unemployment rates, such as the lockdown-happy New York and California that had 8.2% and 9% unemployment, would receive more taxpayer dollars. According to the New York Post, under the plan, New York can expect to receive $50 billion.

Around $130 billion is directed towards elementary and secondary schools, the bill’s text says, regardless of whether they are open to in-person learning. American higher education receives $40 billion. However, the CBO found that much of the already allocated $113 billion for schools during the pandemic “remain[s] to be spent.” Around 95% of the money given to schools in the current round of coronavirus stimulus will be spent between 2022 and 2028, the CBO estimated.

$15 billion is also targeted towards a five percentage-point increase in the federal Medicaid match for states that expand the program’s eligibility. The goal, it seems, is to convince holdout states to hitch their wagons to ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion programs. ObamaCare gets its fair share of cash, too. An increase of subsidies totaling $35 billion are to cover some of the premium increases Americans have seen under ObamaCare. It also does away with the income cap on individuals who qualify for subsidies, which sits currently at 400% of the poverty line, CNN reported.

Expensive pension plans are also getting bailouts in the COVID-19 stimulus package. Around 185 multi-employer pension plans insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. will be getting $86 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is expected to get $50 billion, the bill outlines.

The bill’s text also says child care will be funded to the tune of $39 billion; public transit gets another $30 billion; rental assistance and mortgage help account for another $29 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Another $3.5 billion is for food stamps, the Wall Street Journal also reported. $1.5 billion is for Amtrak.

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Head Start and world food assistance each get $1 billion, and “socially disadvantaged” ranchers and farmers will have loan help at the tune of $1 billion as well, Fox News reported.

The bill also includes a provision to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, which would lead to 1.4 million in job losses while pulling 900,000 above the poverty line.

From the Daily Wire

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