WASHINGTON — Laura Herd says she sleeps better because her state’s governor, Michigan Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, imposed one of the nation’s strictest stay-at-home orders to combat the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump’s actions are another story.
“His goal is to get the economy back up so he stands a chance in November,” said Herd, 36, of Traverse City, Michigan, who works for an environmental news service. “But he’s not willing to listen to the experts about what that really means.”
Herd’s skepticism about Trump’s desire to push the country back toward normal isn’t uncommon, especially among her fellow Democrats and many independents. That’s prompting concern by public health professionals that voters will use partisan lenses to decide which policymakers they heed as communities consider easing restrictions that have smothered normal life — a potentially dangerous dynamic.
“You’ll get more people sick and run the risk of more people dying, because you’ll have such confusion because people won’t know what to do,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, which represents professionals and organizations in the field. “They’ll selectively pick the advice that aligns with their ideology.”
Underscoring that people’s political views are already guiding opinions on state-imposed restrictions, MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporters, gun rights advocates and backers of right-wing causes have demonstrated outside governors’ mansions and state Capitols in several states, demanding that the curbs be eased.
In a remarkable action by a president, Trump fired out three tweets on Friday urging his followers to “LIBERATE” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. Each are states where conservative demonstrators have demanded that Democratic governors relax curbs they’ve imposed on families, business and travel.
Trump has wanted states to relax restrictions by May 1 and has inaccurately claimed “total” authority to decree how that happens. Many governors, mostly Democrats, have long made clear they’ll ease restrictions at their own pace.
Trump had seemed to retreat on Thursday, when the White House issued vague guidelines for gradually returning to normal activities that left final decisions to the states.
“From a public health point of view, you want a unified position from government regarding what’s the best way to protect people,” said Robert Blendon, a health policy professor at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
AP interviews around the country found voters navigating the pandemic on their own and dubious about advice from the other party’s leaders. Many expressed confidence in top public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, fixtures at Trump’s press briefings.
Fauci is the government’s top infectious disease expert and Birx is the White House coronavirus task force coordinator.
Ted Hill of Asheville, N.C., a Republican and retired accountant, praised Trump and said local officials’ restrictions have gone too far.
“Good Lord, if you go into a supermarket without a mask, they look at you like you have two heads,” he said. Hill said Trump “surrounds himself with good people” and gets good results.
Niki Waldron of Vallejo, Calif., said she’s glad Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed an early stay-at-home order. But she worries about friends and family living in Trump-friendly areas and thinks advisers like Fauci and Birx must guard against angering Trump.
“I don’t feel like the rest of our federal government is necessarily basing their judgments on sound science,” Waldron said.
David Barr, 53, who said he usually votes Republican, said Whitmer’s restrictions were hurting businesses like golf courses that he said could operate safely.
“We don’t need a month to start reopening the economy,” said Barr, who works for a group of radio stations in northern Michigan. He said Whitmer’s “credibility is questionable.”
A confused public reaction to whether they should begin stepped up activities could do more than complicate efforts to keep people safe and revive the dormant economy. The question of whose advice voters follow — and whether it proves wise or disastrous — could be a major political battlefield for this November’s presidential and congressional elections.
Trump’s reelection prospects would be badly damaged if today’s Depression-era levels of unemployment and failed businesses don’t improve. He invited numerous congressional Republicans and Democrats to join a White House task force on rebooting the country, which he could use to shield himself from blame by arguing he is relying on bipartisan advice.
A fresh push by Trump to loosen restrictions would be especially potent in GOP-leaning states, where “there’ll be a lot of pressure on those states’ politicians to lighten up,” said Joseph Antos, a health policy expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
“If there’s a big fight with the governors versus Trump, it would be really bad for public health,” said Drew Altman, president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The public won’t know what to believe.”
Fact-checkers have documented thousands of falsehoods by Trump since he became president. Since the pandemic began, polls have underscored how poorly he’s trusted to handle the disease and how views of his competency are divided along party lines.
In a late March survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 44 percent overall approved of Trump’s handling of the outbreak. Those high marks came from around 8-in-10 Republicans, but less than 2-in-10 Democrats and about 4-in-10 independents.
Federal public health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local officials are more trusted than Trump for handling the outbreak, polls show.
And a poll this week by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of people are more worried about states moving too quickly to lift restrictions, rather than too slowly. That sentiment was expressed more strongly by Democrats than Republicans.
Looking to maximize public faith as the economy reopens, business groups have urged the White House to make clear that its guidelines are endorsed by trusted authorities, not just Trump.
“People will be more comfortable if they see the advice is from public health officials,” said Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief policy officer.
Flesher reported from Traverse City, Michigan. Associated Press writer Andrew Seligman in Chicago contributed to this report.
COVID-19's 'politics of humiliation': A chance for the US to lead — or to lose control | TheHill – The Hill
Mohamed Bouazizi did not seize the world’s imagination because he was handsome or rich or powerful. Instead, the Tunisian fruit vendor, whose self-immolation kicked off the “Arab Spring” in 2010, inspired tens of millions of Arabs because they empathized with his despair and sense of humiliation.
We often think of politics in binary terms: right versus left, rural versus urban, north versus south. However people come to identify themselves, their political identities are products of circumstance and belief, with some sort of calculation at their core.
Widespread humiliation gives rise to a different kind of politics, one with far less calculation and much more emotion. Today, as COVID-19 guts global economies and takes an especially grim toll on those with the least security all across the world, the politics of humiliation will rise globally. And the impacts of these politics will last for years.
What is at issue is not the politics of the poor. The world’s perpetually immiserated often suffer in silence, as the toll taken by years of struggle for mere survival breeds passivity and disengagement.
The humiliated are, by their nature, not passive. They recall an earlier status, or they aspire to a sharply better one. Their humiliation can follow a massive change — for example, a defeat in war, or exile, or economic collapse — or a rising consciousness. The humiliated may suffer individual traumas, such as the torture that al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and former ISIS head Abu Musab al-Zarqawi suffered in prisons.
Whatever the cause, part of what drives the humiliated is a deep belief that their low status is a product of injustice. Their humiliation ignites an emotional reaction that, like a wildfire, burns hot and burns wide through communities. When enough people in any given populace feel humiliated, their humiliation spreads into politics. There, they not only raise the temperature of politics; they raise the stakes. The politics of the humiliated quickly become existential.
Given the depth and global nature of the current economic slowdown, even optimistic scenarios put normalcy as being months away. We will not reach a new equilibrium for quite some time, and it will be different from what came before. In the meantime, and even afterward, suffering will be widespread.
It is hard not to imagine that there are whole classes of people — in the United States and around the world — for whom the COVID-19 pandemic will be a humiliating flame. As uncertainty and restrictions linger for months or years, sharply rising unemployment among service workers — in food service, hospitality and retail — will throw middle-class families into poverty, and poor families into crisis. Government subsidies will run out, and financial markets will soften. Governments will face budget crises, their capacity will diminish, and their ability to afford the sorts of infrastructure and construction projects that often undergird economic stimulus programs will evaporate. Millions could liquidate their lifetime savings, lose their housing, and go hungry.
What hits hard in the Western world will hit even harder in the developing world. There, social safety nets are even weaker, and even larger segments of the workforce either work for small businesses or in the “informal” sector. They have tighter margins, and there is even less assistance on which to fall back. Even more so, governments lack the ability of their Western counterparts to ease burdens, to save jobs and to provide shelter.
We already have seen governments such as India’s back off coronavirus-related restrictions because the economies cannot handle a nationwide shutdown. In places such as Iran that were slow to impose restrictions until the disease was well dispersed, the economies are reopening despite sharply rising infection rates. The seeds of the future crisis are already being sown.
It is optimistic to think that the politics that will emerge from COVID-19 will be gratitude toward infectious disease experts and public health experts whose admonitions saved societies from even further despair. Technocrats always hope that their wisdom will be appreciated.
Much more likely will be an emotional political search for those responsible for widespread misery. Governments are likely to be on the receiving ends of that rising hostility.
Governments that can afford to do so will seek to co-opt the humiliated, acceding to their demands for greater benefits. The U.S. government has so far committed $6 trillion to recovery, and the government of Japan recently devoted $1 trillion to the effort. They will hope to take the emotion out of politics.
Governments that cannot or will not commit such sums may seek to harness the emotion that has been unleashed, diverting the blame to some other scapegoat, surviving to fight on. Some governments likely will seek to be increasingly repressive, hoping that the humiliated will transition into being merely immiserated, recognize that resistance is futile, and struggle for survival rather than for changing the system.
For the United States, the domestic landscape is likely to be different, and the global landscape even more so. Here, political polarization is likely to increase, as shrinking government resources and growing demands pit interest groups against each other and squeeze state and local governments. Sustained restrictions on immigration will be enacted. The international outlook that the United States adopted reluctantly in the midst of World War II and embraced robustly in its aftermath will diminish. Meanwhile, a reckoning is ahead for U.S. military spending, and for U.S. commitments around the globe.
Overseas, wealthier countries are likely to muddle through, while most middle-income and poorer countries will suffer from rising misery and political turmoil. Politicians will seek to rally constituents around common enemies, be they sectarian, religious, national or ideological. We could see a resurgence in both civil wars and cross-border wars, and with that, a rise in terrorism.
Overall, most of these changes serve to raise China’s global influence while diminishing that of the United States. Governments in trouble will look admiringly to China’s authoritarian model, and the benefits of associating with the United States — economically, politically and militarily — will diminish. The Chinese government makes few demands of its partners, and it has few qualms about how they operate internally. As a country with literally no allies and a generally pessimistic view of human nature, a Hobbesian global future is one for which China feels prepared.
The United States cannot prevent such a future, but it can make it less likely. The United States needs to grasp the present circumstances and refocus on the unique abilities the United States possesses to influence the global environment. No country or collection of countries has the leverage of the United States, both in terms of coercion and co-optation. For decades, the United States has been unfocused about its interests and its means to advance them.
The opportunity available now to the United States is not about money or guns – the obvious tools that U.S. government officials seek to deploy around the world. The opportunity is about the ability to lead, the ability to define, and the ability to inspire. The United States needs to be about something bigger than itself, and it needs to point toward a future to which billions of other people aspire, and also see a pathway to achieving. The United States is not seizing this opportunity, and if missed, the results will echo for decades to come.
Jon B. Alterman is senior vice president, Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank focusing on defense, national security and international relations issues.
Why Politics Keeps Tanking a Bailout Idea that Works – POLITICO
The last time the American economy tanked and Washington debated how to revive it, White House economists pushed one option that had never been tried in a big way: Send truckloads of federal dollars to the states.
When President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 during the throes of the Great Recession, tax revenues were collapsing and state budgets were hemorrhaging. The Obama team was terrified that without a massive infusion of cash from Congress, governors would tip the recession into a full-blown depression by laying off employees and cutting needed services. So the president proposed an unprecedented $200 billion in direct aid to states, a desperate effort to stop the bleeding that amounted to one fourth of his entire stimulus request.
But the politics were dismal. Republican leaders had already decided to oppose any Obama stimulus. And even Washington Democrats who supported their new leader’s stimulus weren’t excited to help Republican governors balance their budgets. Most politicians enjoy spending money more than they enjoy giving money to other politicians to spend. And since state fiscal relief was a relatively new concept, the Obama team’s belief that it would provide powerful economic stimulus was more hunch-based than evidence-based.
Ultimately, the Democratic Congress approved $140 billion in state aid—only two thirds of Obama’s original ask, but far more than any previous stimulus.
And it worked. At least a dozen post-recession studies found state fiscal aid gave a significant boost to the economy—and that more state aid would have produced a stronger recovery. The Obama team’s hunch that helping states would help the nation turned out to be correct.
But evidence isn’t everything in Washington. Now that Congress is once again debating stimulus for a crushed economy—and governors are once again confronted with gigantic budget shortfalls—a partisan war is breaking out over state aid. Memories of 2009 have faded, and the politics have scrambled under a Republican presidential administration.
Democratic leaders have made state aid a top priority now that Donald Trump is in the White House, securing $150 billion for state, local and tribal governments in the CARES Act that Congress passed in March, and proposing an astonishing $915 billion in the HEROES Act that the House passed in May. Republican leaders accepted the fiscal relief in the March bill, but they kept it out of the last round of stimulus that Congress enacted in April, and they have declared the HEROES Act dead on arrival. Though they’re no longer denouncing stimulus as socialism, as they did in the Obama era, they’ve begun attacking state aid as a “blue-state bailout.”
Polls show that most voters want Washington to help states avoid layoffs of teachers, police officers and public health workers, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Fox News personalities, and other influential Republicans are trying to reframe state aid as big government Democratic welfare spending. President Donald Trump doesn’t want to run for reelection during a depression, and he initially suggested he supported state aid, but in recent weeks he has complained that it would just reward Democratic mismanagement.
“There wasn’t a lot of evidence that state aid would be good stimulus in 2009, but now there’s a lot of data, and it all adds up to juice for the economy,” says Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi. “It’s baffling that this is getting caught up in politics. If states don’t get the support they need soon, they’ll eliminate millions of jobs and cut spending at the worst possible time.”
The coronavirus is ravaging state budgets even faster than the Great Recession did, drying up revenue from sales taxes and income taxes while ratcheting up demand for health and unemployment benefits. But as Utah Republican senator Mitt Romney pointed out earlier this month: “Blue states aren’t the only ones who are getting screwed.” Yes, California faces a $54 billion budget shortfall, and virus-ravaged blue states like New York and New Jersey are also confronting tides of red ink. But the Republican governors of Texas, Georgia and Ohio have also directed state agencies to prepare draconian spending cuts to close massive budget gaps.
Fiscal experts say the new Republican talking point that irresponsible states brought these problems on themselves with unbalanced budgets and out-of-control spending has little basis in reality. Unlike the federal government, which was running a trillion-dollar deficit even before the pandemic, every state except Vermont is required by law to balance its budget every year. State finances were unusually healthy before the crisis hit; overall, they had reserved 7.6 percent of their budgets in rainy day funds, up from 5 percent before the Great Recession.
But now, governors of both parties are now pivoting to austerity, which means more public employees applying for unemployment benefits, fewer state and local services in a time of need, and fewer dollars circulating in the economy as it begins to reopen. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who has approved a plan to buy up to $500 billion worth of state and local government bonds to help ease their money problems, recently suggested that direct federal aid to states also “deserves a careful look,” which in Fed-speak qualifies as a desperate plea for congressional action.
Nevertheless, some Republicans who traditionally pushed to devolve power from the federal government to the states are now dismissing state aid as a bloated reward for liberal profligacy. Some fiscal conservatives have merely suggested that the nearly trillion-dollar pass-through to states, cities and tribes in the House HEROES bill is too generous given the uncertainties about the downturn’s trajectory. McConnell actually proposed that states in need should just declare bankruptcy, which is not even a legal option. Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wrote a New York Times op-ed titled “Don’t Bail Out the States.” Sean Hannity told his Fox viewers that more fiscal relief would be a tax on “responsible residents of red states,” while Florida Senator (and former Governor) Rick Scott said it would “bail out liberal politicians in states like New York for their unwillingness to make tough and responsible choices.”
It was not so long ago that governors like Walker and Scott were burnishing their own reputations for fiscal responsibility with federal stimulus dollars. Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a bold experiment in using federal dollars to backstop states in an economic emergency, and its legacy hangs over the debate over today’s emergency.
By the time Obama won the 2008 election, the U.S. economy had already begun to collapse, and his aides had already given him a stimulus memo proposing a $25 billion “state growth fund.” The goal was anti-anti-stimulus: They wanted to prevent state spending cuts and tax hikes that would undo all the stimulus benefits of federal spending increases and tax cuts. The memo warned that states faced at least $100 billion in budget shortfalls, and that “state spending cuts will add to fiscal drag.” Cash-strapped states would also cut funding to local governments, accelerating the doom loop of public-sector layoffs and service reductions, pulling money out of the economy when government ought to be pouring money in.
The memo also warned that the fund might be caricatured as a bailout for irresponsible states and might run counter to the self-interest of politicians who enjoy dispensing largesse: “Congress may resist spending money that governors get credit for spending.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California wasn’t keen on creating a slush fund for her state’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina was even more suspicious of his GOP governor, Mark Sanford, an outspoken opponent of all stimulus and most aid to the poor.
After President-elect Obama addressed a National Governors Association event in Philadelphia, Sanford and other conservative Republicans publicly declared that they didn’t want his handouts—and many congressional Democrats were inclined to grant their wish. Even Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was worried about the politics of writing checks to governors who might run against Obama in 2012 on fiscal responsibility platforms.
There were plenty of studies suggesting that unemployment benefits and other aid to recession victims was good economic stimulus, because families in need tend to spend money once they get it, but there wasn’t much available research about aid to states. Congress had approved $20 billion in additional Medicaid payments to states in a 2003 stimulus package, but that aid had arrived much too late to make a measurable difference in the much milder 2001 recession.
Still, Obama’s economists speculated that state aid would have “reasonably large macroeconomic bang for the buck.” And the holes in state budgets were expanding at a scary pace, doubling in the first week after Obama’s election, increasing more than five-fold by Inauguration Day; Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities remembers giving the Obama team frequent updates on state budget outlooks that seemed to deteriorate by the hour.
Obama ended up requesting $200 billion in state fiscal relief in the Recovery Act, eight times his team’s suggestion from November, 10 times more than Congress had authorized in 2003. Emanuel insisted on structuring the aid through increases in existing federal support for schools and Medicaid, rather than just sending states money, so it could be framed as saving the jobs of teachers and nurses. (One otherwise prescient memo by Obama economic aide Jason Furman suggested the unwieldy title of “Tax Increase and Teacher & Cop Layoff Prevention Fund.”) Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the entire stimulus, so Democrats dictated the contents, and they grudgingly agreed to most of their new president’s request for state bailouts.
“State aid was the part of the stimulus where Obama met the most resistance from Democrats,” Greenstein says. “It had such a huge price tag, and nobody loved it. But we can see how desperately it was needed.”
The Obama White House initially estimated that each dollar sent to states would generate $1.10 in economic activity, compared to $1.50 for aid to vulnerable families or infrastructure projects that had been considered the gold standard for emergency stimulus. But later work by Berkeley economist Gabriel Chodorow-Reich and others concluded the actual multiplier effect of the Medicaid assistance in the Recovery Act was as high as $2.00. In addition to preventing cuts in medical care for the poor, it saved or created about one job for every $25,000 of federal spending—and the help arrived much faster than even the most “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, landing in state capitals just a week after the stimulus passed.
“There were at least a dozen papers written on the state aid, and the evidence is crystal clear that it helped,” says Furman, who is now an economics professor at Harvard. “Unfortunately, it was incredibly hard to get Congress to do more of it, and that hurt.”
After all the bluster about turning down Obama’s money, the only Republican governor who even tried to reject a large chunk of the federal stimulus was Sanford, who was overruled by his fellow Republicans in the South Carolina Legislature. Sarah Palin of Alaska did turn down some energy dollars, while Walker and Scott sent back aid for high-speed rail projects approved by their Democratic predecessors, but otherwise the governors all used the cash to help close their budget gaps. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana appeared at the ribbon-cutting for one Recovery Act project wielding a giant check with his own name on it. Rick Perry of Texas used stimulus dollars to renovate his governor’s mansion—which, in fairness, had been firebombed.
Nevertheless, the Recovery Act covered only about 25 percent of the state budget shortfalls, and Republican senators blocked or shrank Obama’s repeated efforts to send more money to states, forcing governors of both parties to impose austerity programs that slashed about 750,000 state and local government jobs. In 2010, 24 states laid off public employees, 35 cut funding for K-12 education, 37 cut prison spending, and 37 cut money for higher education, one reason for the sharp increases in student loan debt since then. In a recent academic review of fiscal stimulus during the Great Recession, Furman estimated that if state and local governments had merely followed their pattern in previous recessions, spending more to counteract the slowdown in the private sector, GDP growth would have been 0.5 percent higher every year from 2009 through 2013.
The Recovery Act helped turn GDP from negative to positive within four months of its passage, launching the longest period of uninterrupted job growth in U.S. history. But there’s a broad consensus among economists that austerity in the form of layoffs and reduced services at the state and local level worked against the stimulus spending at the federal level, weakening the recovery and making life harder for millions of families.
“The states would’ve made much bigger cuts without the Recovery Act, but they did make big cuts,” says Brian Sigritz, director of fiscal studies at the National Association of State Budget Officers. “We’re seeing similar reactions now, except the situation is even worse.”
It took a decade for state budgets to recover completely from the financial crisis. 2019 was the first year since the Great Recession that they grew faster than their historic average, and the first year in recent memory that no state had to make midyear cuts to get into balance. Rainy-day funds reached an all-time high.
And then the pandemic arrived.
The government sector shed nearly a million jobs in April alone, which is more jobs than it lost during the entire Great Recession. The fiscal carnage has not been limited to states like New York and New Jersey at the epicenter of the pandemic; oil-dependent states like Texas and tourism-dependent states like Florida have also seen revenues plummet. The bipartisan National Governors Association has asked Congress for $500 billion in state stabilization funds, warning that otherwise governors will be forced to make “drastic cuts to the programs we depend on to provide economic security, educational opportunities and public safety.”
So far, Congress has passed four coronavirus bills providing about $3.6 trillion in relief, including $200 billion in direct aid to state, local and tribal governments for Medicaid and other pandemic-related costs. Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts says the aid has come in handy in fighting the virus—not only for providing health care and buying masks but for helping communities install plexiglass in consumer-facing offices and pay overtime to essential workers. Massachusetts had more than 10 percent of its expected tax revenues in its rainy-day fund before the crisis, but its revenues have dried up, putting tremendous pressure on the state as well as its 351 local governments.
“You don’t want states and locals to constrict when the rest of the economy is trying to take off,” Baker said. “So far, we’ve gotten close to what we need, but the question is what happens now, because no one knows what the world is going to look like in a few months.”
In the initial coronavirus bills, Democrats pushed for state aid, and Republicans relented. But in the most recent stimulus that Congress enacted, the $733 billion April package focused on small-business lending, Democrats pushed for state aid and Republicans refused. McConnell has said he’s open to another stimulus package, but he has ridiculed the $3 trillion Democratic HEROES Act as wildly excessive, and rejected its huge proposal for state relief as a bailout for irresponsible blue states with troubled pension funds. Sean Hannity expanded the critique, warning Fox viewers that they were being set up to help Democratic states pay off their “unfunded pensions, sanctuary state policies, massive entitlements, reckless spending on Green New Deal nonsense, and hundreds of millions of dollars of waste.”
In fact, the state with the most underfunded pension plan is McConnell’s Kentucky, which has just a third of the assets it needs to cover its obligations, even though it had unified Republican rule until a Democrat rode the pension crisis to the governor’s office last fall. In general, red states tend to be more dependent on federal largesse than blue states, which tend to pay more taxes to the federal government; an analysis by WalletHub found that 13 of the 15 most dependent states voted for Trump in 2016, with Kentucky ranking third.
Trump initially suggested state aid was “certainly the next thing we’re going to be discussing,” before embracing McConnell’s message that state bailouts would unfairly reward incompetent Democrats in states like California. But California’s finances were also in solid shape before the pandemic, with a $5 billion surplus announced earlier this year in addition to a record $17 billion socked away in its rainy-day fund. Some of the partisan arguments against state aid have been flagrantly hostile to economic evidence; Walker’s op-ed actually blamed the state budget shortfalls after the Great Recession on “the disappearance of federal stimulus funds,” rather than the recession itself, as if the stimulus funds somehow created the holes by failing to continue to plug them.
But plenty of Republican politicians support state aid, especially in states that need it the most. The GOP chairmen of Georgia’s appropriations committees recently asked their congressional delegation to support relief “to close the unprecedented gap in dollars required to maintain a conservative and lean government framework of services.” Some Republicans believe McConnell’s opposition to state fiscal relief is just a negotiating ploy, so he can claim he’s making a concession when it gets included in the next stimulus bill.
“Some aid to states is inevitable and necessary,” says Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers. “I suspect McConnell just wants to set a marker, and make sure aid to states doesn’t become aid to pension funds and public employee union coffers.”
That said, it’s not just Republican partisans who are skeptical of the Democratic push for nearly a trillion dollars in state and local aid. The current projections of state budget gaps range as high as $650 billion over the next two years, but some deficit hawks question whether it’s necessary to fill all of them before it’s clear how long the economic pain will last, and before the Fed has even begun its government bond-buying program. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, was already disgusted by the trillion-dollar deficits that Washington ran up before the pandemic, and while she says it makes sense to add to those deficits to prevent states from making the crisis worse with radical budget cuts, she doesn’t think federal taxpayers need to cater to every state-level request.
“We have a little time to catch our breath now, so we should make sure that we’re only getting states what they need,” MacGuineas says. “It’s not a moment to be padding the asks.”
Tom Lee, a Republican state senator and former Senate president, says it’s impossible to know how much help states will need without knowing how quickly the economy will reopen, whether there will be a second wave of infections, when Americans will return to their old travel habits, and at what point there will be treatment or a vaccine for the virus. More than three-quarters of Florida’s general revenue comes from sales taxes, so a lot depends on when Floridians start buying things again, and how much they’re willing to buy. Lee says it’s reasonable to expect Washington to help in an emergency, since the national government can print money and Florida can’t, but that the federal money store can’t be open indefinitely, since Florida’s finances were in much better shape than Washington’s before the emergency.
“No question, we need help, but we can’t expect the feds to make us whole,” Lee says. “We’re going to have to tighten our belts, too.”
That’s exactly what Keynesian economic stimulus is supposed to avoid: the contraction of public-sector spending at a time when private-sector spending has already shriveled. A recent poll by the liberal group Data for Progress found that 78 percent of Americans supported $1 trillion in federal aid to states so they can “avoid making deep cuts to government programs and services.”
But Obama White House veterans say they learned two related lessons from their experience with state fiscal relief: It’s better to get too much than not enough, and it’s unwise to assume you can get more later. Stimulus fatigue was real in 2009, and it seems to be returning to Washington. Republicans who spent much of the Obama era screaming about the federal deficit have embraced a free-spending culture of red ink under Trump, but lately they’re starting to talk more about slowing down—not only with state aid, but especially with state aid.
“We’ve already seen how state contraction can undo federal expansion,” Furman says. “This is the one part of the economy where we know exactly what needs to be done, and we don’t need to invent a brand new creative idea. But I worry that we’re not going to do it.”
Informative New Book Answers Important Questions Around Politics and Climate Change as Related to the Spiritual World – GlobeNewswire
SUISUN CITY, Calif., June 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — “The Sweet Mystery of Humankind and Climate Change” by Bible teacher Ed Moore presents the answers that were written over many centuries ago with divine precision to questions such as: Why are we here? Why are things in our world so opposed to our well-being and happiness? Why do we have wars? What happens next? Can we save the planet?
Moore details in his book that only God can provide these answers as his ancients described things in a way that cause people to search for them. He also explains how these mysteries have been revealed by recent scientific discoveries in which the ancients could not have possibly understood themselves, even as they wrote about them, such as the invention of computers.
“I wrote this book to cause people to think about the real-world system and what it is doing to them,” said Moore. “Everyone can escape the great tribulation that is coming soon through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Climate change is coming, applied by God. It is bad, but it is good for us when God changes it for us.”
Moore recently explained how the COVID-19 pandemic was predicted in the Bible in Matthew 24 verse 7 as it discusses pandemics as plagues and mentions in Isaiah Chapter 2 the Day of the Lord is going to happen and is a tribulation that is coming up. Additionally, the pandemic is discussed in Isaiah Chapter 2 verses 12 and 14 how pleasure crafts, which equate to modern day cruise ships, contained people plagued with the pandemic who had difficulty finding a place to dock. Moore continues with the question of how would they know about pleasure ships/cruise ships over 2,500 years ago? The answer to this question and more can be found in his book “The Sweet Mystery of Humankind and Climate Change.”
About the Author
Ed Moore is an associate engineer, trained and employed by major oil companies. He was also a designer for the Alaska Pipeline project and taught at a community college for the University of Alaska. Now retired, he teaches Bible classes while continuing Bible research and is also the author of “You Can Understand the Book of Revelation.” Moore is currently working on his next book and resides in Suisun City, California.
WestBow Press is a strategic supported self-publishing alliance between HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Author Solutions, LLC — the world leader in supported self-publishing. Titles published through WestBow Press are evaluated for sales potential and considered for publication through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. For more information, visit www.westbowpress.com or call (866)-928-1240.
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