The recently passed $1.9 trillion aid package has been named “The American Rescue Plan.” A good case can be made that this package is urgently needed by the middle class and especially by millions of Americans who earn relatively low incomes. The Rescue Plan has concentrated on providing significant help to low-income families. Part of that help will be a direct payment of $1,400 to Americans who have suffered particularly from an economy that has been hobbled by the coronavirus and the steps taken to deal with it, such as closing restaurants and advising American consumers to stay home and away from crowds.

The bitter irony is that taking steps to lessen the pernicious effects of this disease has directly led to severe economic problems. Those problems have been and will be exacerbated by the attempts of various levels of government to make them less severe. Most health experts would agree that there are no easy ways to modify the deadly effects of this virus, which has already taken more than a half-million lives in the United States. There is no question that more lives will be lost before funds get into the hands of Americans. Now, extending payments for unemployment benefits into September 2021, and making the first $10,200 of the benefits nontaxable for those households earning less than $150,000 will help those who have been battered by the coronavirus. In addition, state and local governments will receive $350 billion to help them with their own economic problems.

One of the problems the current fiscal mess created is the rapidly growing federal debt. The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan agency that keeps Congress alerted to the latest trends and problems with the economy, now projects that the federal debt will grow to 202 percent of gross domestic product by 2051, the result of increasing expenditures for health care and inevitably for debt service. The CBO projects the federal debt to be 102 percent of gross domestic product in 2021. That level has been exceeded only twice before in this nation’s history – in 1945 and 1946 – the result of increased spending to help win World War II. No doubt in the near future there will be louder calls for plans to reduce the federal debt and place the nation’s federal budget on a sounder fiscal footing.

One controversial proposal that was dropped from this bill was an attempt to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour. However you look at this proposal, it collided with a basic economic truth: if the price of something you want increases, you will demand and purchase less of that good. The debate over the increase in the minimum wage (the good we are writing about) is the price of labor. Increases in the minimum wage mean that the labor you employ costs you more; therefore, you will purchase less of it.

While the debates over the minimum wage move through Congress, those in favor of increases will remind those who are skeptical that the federal minimum wage has not been changed since 2009. What will happen now on this issue is that bipartisan talks will be held and we can expect to see some increase in the minimum wage occurring in the near future.

The signing of the plan reflects the significant shift that has occurred in the political realities. Democrats now hold more power. We will see what they try to do with it.

Author and educator Dave Kaplan writes from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif.

(23) comments

David Collins

Yup , a spending spree that is 10% about relief and 90% about totally unrelated stuff the D’s want to force upon us . A liberal wish list designed to make us into something we were never intended to be . More like Europe , ugh . Plus there is so much more coming down the pike , so , hope you are getting what you wanted , cause you voted um in . Just don’t choke on it when it negatively affects you .

dc

With gas prices headed no where but up along with taxes and everything else that stimulus doesn't mean much now and will mean much less to those working and paying in the future.

mpjeep

“In order to open these doors, we do not say ‘open sesame, we say ‘open Biden!’ That’s our magic word!” Pelosi then grins and giggles like she’s out of her mind. “Open Biden, I love it!” 

drewski

LAWD! Have mercy, they know not what they do or say.

Trump starts his administration with 2 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy. The GOP sycophants applaud. Then they do a stimulus for another 1 trillion, with the fraud riddled ppp program that was Supposed to be for small biz, but was quickly sucked dry by large corporations including the trump and kushner organizations. The GOP faithful applaud again. The federal debt is at its highest point ever, the federal budget deficit is as well.

Now the other party is in power, passes a stim with 0 republicans supporting it, and the GOP faithful are suddenly worried about deficit spending. Nary a word said for 4 yrs about debt, nothing but praise for juicing the stock market with nightly infusions of debt money.

Now, Joe Biden is personally responsible for the price of gas. In fact I saw him changing the price of gas at the handy house myself!

Those dirty, commie dems stealing from our greatgrandchildren!!!

There must be a word to describe doing something yourself then finding fault (and constant whining) with others who do the same thing?..

JusticeForAll

Think it was "deplorable?"

dc

Yeah, Nancy & Chuck were holding him up as he changed the prices. They helped him open the gates too. Who was that helping pass out the cash as they came through? Well, maybe they'll help enrich the biz sector with what's left over from paying cartels & sending a little back home. They don't need that Chinese & Ukraine mega $ some high class folks like.

mpjeep

Yep, once the Post got caught with their pants down, they fessed up.  And of course, after Trump’s impeachment attempt which many Dems quoted and used false info against him.  Guess we just have a different definition of honesty.

drewski

Lol actually the nyt released the actual tape. Unlike maga media, real news outlets frequently make corrections..

The words were slightly different but the meaning was just what the post reported. The far right will nitpick anything in their real or imagined quest to provide the outrage de jour. We see here repeated ad nauseum in the comments.

They already attacked bidens dog for not being presidential enough. How sad is that? Bidens dog!

mpjeep

Now, this is deplorable: Biden calls his second in command “President Harris.”

David Collins

He finally said something truthful ? Ugh .

mpjeep

Yep, The Post admitted they totally made up a story about Trump and the Georgia secretary of state in an effort to continue their fake news and character assassination of President Trump.

The Biden administration, along with their biased media, is loaded with professional liars.

I’m now tired of watching President Dementia fumble his way through a speech, seeing deplorable Democrats get away with sexual harassment, murder in nursing homes, and of all the left's anti-American, woke, economy-killing policies!

drewski

That is delusional if you actually beleive it. The post did not make " totally make up a story" they reported the gist of the call(s) that are in fact under investigation,,and made a correction when the verbatim words were avail.

The golden statue of trump at cpac says it all. It was made in Mexico to add some delightful irony.

dc

What's sad is his dog would be a better president. At least his dog would do no harm.

David Collins

You ain’t seen nothing yet !

klacy

It works both ways - both parties are guilty of wasteful spending - they just waste it in different directions. In the first Covid19 relief bill implemented last year, Republicans included a tax deduction for hedge funds and real estate businesses that was worth an ave of $1.7M for EACH of America’s 43,000 wealthiest tax payers. Little bit more than $1400 for the commoners. Will cost all tax payers $90B the first year. And this was COVID related - not. The debt increase under Trump during his one term surpassed that under Obama across two terms.

mpjeep

Apples to Oranges.....no Covid under Obama.

David Collins

Obama did not much of anything but apologize for his time in office and did not have the Covid to deal with . At least Trump tried to fix some things and that costs money . He also was under attack for his whole term and constantly being undermined by those hired to work with him and for him , career civil servants , so no wonder things went poorly . Ever tried to fire a civil service employee ? Pretty much impossible . Money being wrongly allocated to various groups of folks is Congresses fault . They control the purse strings , always have . Any president can be over ruled . Happens all the time .

mpjeep

Federal appeals court judge Laurence Silberman has issued a written dissent about mainstream media’s bias saying:

The supreme court should revisit a ruling that grants the media protection for being sued by public officials.

Considerations have arisen that make the NY Times a threat to American democracy---It must go.

The increased power of the press is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions.

The NY Times and Washington Post are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets.

Silicon Valley has filtered news in ways favorable to the Democratic Party and suppressing The NY Posts reporting of Hunter Biden.

The serious efforts to muzzle outlets like Fox News are the first step to an authoritarian or dictatorial regime to gain control of communications.

We should all want a free and objective press irrespective of political affiliation. An objective press should serve as another form of checks and balances against the power of government.

Unfortunately, this very basic concept gets lost on those who allow their political ideology to cloud their ability to see the harm a very one-sided press can do to the nation.

There is a reason freedom of the press is in the First Amendment of our Constitution. I have to believe the framers of our Constitution, in their wisdom, understood the harm a biased media could do even back then.

drewski

Rather then say the NY times has to go, because you don't like their reporting ( cancel culture) how about a newspaper with only articles about how Jesus hates dems, and trump saved a puppy? Call it maga times? Need a slogan for the front page though. Hmmm... something catchy with no poly syllables....hmmm suggestions?

mpjeep

Actually, I didn't say NYT must go (my retirement pension is from them), the judge said it.[smile]

noitall

Mr Kaplan seems ready to punt from the Red Zone of beautiful Santa Barbara Ca. But he does not get it. Money is passe as the say in Paris Tx. Biden needs cash,so he hits his Fed Reserve. App Fed and places an order. Ms Yelson returns from a long lunch , opens her pc to the free stuff,spread sheet, hits a few keys and there it is - money

drewski

Oh it's a dictatorial press and one party rule...the sky is falling. I have come to expect dismissive answers oh the favored TDS. Taking non stop potshots at biden while excusing any and all behaviors of demi God trump.. since some folks seem to live in maga fantasy world..as Marshal Taylor used to say " don't that beat all"

mpjeep

All of my info above is from a judge and his opinion..[smile]

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