April 18th, 2024


The spending addiction

Cal Thomas

By Cal Thomas

Published Feb. 9, 2021

The spending addiction
The problem with free money is that it leads to an addiction much like an addition to drugs. In the case of the $1.9 trillion "relief" bill that has no Republican support, Congress is the supplier, while those on the receiving end become increasingly addicted to government and less self-reliant.

In my lifetime, the U.S. has gone from a creditor nation to a debtor nation. History shows that massive national debt is a major cause of decline, even extinction, of nations that refuse to live within their means. The quickest way to help the economy is to re-open businesses utilizing pandemic precautions re-opened businesses have taken.

The bill includes, in addition to the usual unrelated pork, $1,400 checks to individuals (what happens when that money runs out and why should the well-off be getting any?), $130 billion for public schools (many of which teachers' unions won't allow to open despite the science that kids can be kept safe), $350 billion in aid to state and local governments (most of which have been poorly run by members of guess which party?) and a lot of transfer payments.

A Wall Street Journal editorial quoted from a House Budget Committee report: "$1 trillion from last year's bills hasn't been spent, including $59 billion for schools, $239 billion for health care and $452 billion in small business loans. State and local governments added 67,000 jobs in January. They don't need more federal cash."

Increasingly positive economic news, the Journal editorial says, "suggests that the economy is poised for a strong rebound as the pandemic eases even without new federal spending."

Let's take just one component of this massive bill – aid to renters — to illustrate why it is overkill and unnecessary. According to The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, "Based on 43 million renter households, the data suggest an increase in monthly delinquencies of between 0.9 and 1.3 million each month. A $30 billion aid package ostensibly to cover costs associated with this slight rise amounts to between $23,000 and $33,000 over the course of one year for each of these delinquent units. This aid is grossly disproportionate to the apparent increase in renters unable or unwilling to make their payments."

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

The analysis continues: "Delinquencies do not appear to have substantially increased since the start of this extended period of COVID-19 shutdowns. The latest Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey tracking the impact of COVID-19 on financial health indicates that 21 percent of renters failed to pay rent in December. This is up only slightly from the 18 percent reporting failure to pay or deferral in the month of March 2020 — just as the impact from the pandemic began. Data from the National Multifamily Housing Council, which tracks more than 11 million professionally managed apartment units, likewise shows only a minimal deterioration in rental payments year over year. In December, 93.8 percent of units had made a rental payment by the end of the month. This was down just slightly from 95.9 percent in December of 2019 before the pandemic."

These and other facts don't matter to Democrats, who base their strategy on feelings and intentions, not results. That's why it's good to be a Democrat. One never has to actually solve a problem, only throw money at it.

We continue to ignore the wisdom of the Founders, who consistently warned against the evil of national debt.

Scripture says it is more blessed to give than to receive. That is meant to be personal. When government gives, it becomes a curse for the giver as well as the receiver and ultimately a curse on the nation.


Cal Thomas, America's most-syndicated columnist, is the author of 10 books.