By the time this publishes, the stimulus package might have been passed, even over the bickering in Washington, D.C. Today the front page may say the House has agreed to the White House and Senate plan. Relief might very well be on the way. That is, the check's in the mail. And the bill goes on the national credit card.
In normal times, we might stress that last point with more emphasis. But these aren't normal times. There haven't been times like these since, oh, before women were allowed to vote in this country. The misnamed Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is about as close as America has to a precedent. A once-in-a-lifetime crisis allows for once-in-a-life solutions.
Which is why the federal government can go into debt, and should be allowed to. And why a Balanced Budget Amendment is a bad idea--but that's another editorial.
Of all the unedifying things done in Washington over the last few weeks, and there were many, the most unseemly may have been the effort to use the covid-19 pandemic to push certain agendas. It was enough to make Tom Cotton, of the Dardanelle, Ark., Cottons, a mite testy. According to the papers, he even let a bad word slip on the Senate floor. But in this environment, with this crisis, it's hard to blame somebody for wanting to give the money changers a good cussin'.
Why did the stimulus package take so long to pass? Why all the fussing, the delay? There is plenty of blame to spread around.
The Democrats were worried that a lot of the money would be used in a slush fund for the Trump administration to hand out to friends. The first proposals of the package created a half-trillion-dollar "rescue fund for corporations." And when the president goes to reporters and tells them, "I'll be the oversight" on this money, there were screeching sounds--as in the sounds of locked-up brakes--heard all over Washington.
But the loyal opposition created potholes, too. Wasn't it Rahm Emanuel who said never let a crisis go to waste? His party still believes that, apparently.
Here's a headline from a news source we saw on Tuesday:
Climate Change Push Fuels Split
On Coronavirus Stimulus
Here's the lede of that story:
"Clean energy and climate advocates say the huge stimulus bill Congress is negotiating should address not only the economy, but also climate change. But a split over that appears to have contributed to delays in passing the bill.
"'Democrats won't let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the Green New Deal,' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday.
"McConnell said Democrats were filibustering the $1 trillion-plus bill hoping to include policies such as extending tax credits for solar and wind energy."
Where could you find that headline and that story? Fox News? The Wall Street Journal? The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's editorial column?
It was on NPR.org.
While negotiations concerning the stimulus were ongoing, eight Democrats in the Senate called on lawmakers to tie aid to airlines to new requirements concerning carbon footprints.
Chuck Schumer told NBC News that he wasn't having these criticisms. He said sections of the bill to protect unions and labor "are not extraneous issues" but instead "a wish list for workers, nobody else."
According to other right-wing, wacko news sources--like USA Today and The Washington Post--Democrats used much of the week to negotiate other nuggets for their favorite causes, such as the mandatory $15 minimum wage and the canceling of student debt. If you're reading this after the stimulus has passed, it's a wonder the two parties made any progress at all. Who says these aren't the days of miracles?
This stimulus was supposed to be a quick-fix shot in the arm for those who needed it the most. But their representatives in Washington didn't want to let this quick action pass without some quick additions for their push-cards come November.
Nor, apparently, did they want this crisis to go to waste.
Editorial on 03/26/2020
Print Headline: Lessons learned