Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Biden’s Rescue Act Targets Americans’ Freedoms | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on August 4, 2021

The Biden administration is bringing the same solution to America that previously failed in Afghanistan. After Barack Obama decided to “surge” U.S. troops into Afghanistan, the Christian Science Monitor noted in 2010, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) “created an atmosphere of frantic urgency about the ‘burn rate’—a measure of how quickly money is spent. Emphasis gets put on spending fast to make room for the next batch from Congress.” One Kabul-based analyst employee lamented, “As long as you spend money and you can provide a paper trail, that’s a job well done. It’s a perverse system.”

James Bovard

Since the 1800s, surly Americans have derided politicians for spending tax dollars “like drunken sailors.” Until recently, that was considered a grave character fault. But Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act shows that inebriated spending is now the path to national salvation.

It was a common saying in America in the 1930s that “we cannot squander our way to prosperity.” But that was before the latest “best and brightest” crop took the helm of the federal government.

The rescue act is based on blind faith in government spending—the revival of the “Magic Bean School of Political Economy.” When he signed the bill on March 12, Biden declared, “We have to spend this money to make sure we have economic growth, unrelated to how much it’s going to help people.” The act’s $1.9 trillion price tag is proof of its beneficence. Biden boasted that he would be sending federal “stimulus” checks to more than 100 million Americans in the following ten days. The White House called the bill “the most progressive piece of legislation in history.”

The biggest fear in Washington is that federal agencies will not be able to throw tax dollars at citizens, businesses, and local and state governments quickly enough. The Washington Post frets that “the sheer volume of new programs threatens to swamp federal agencies.” This is the sixth federal COVID bailout since last spring, and “a slew of other efforts to help struggling businesses … have been trapped in the federal bureaucracy.”

The purpose of this rescue act is to rescue faith in Big Government. In his televised address, Biden declared that in order to “beat this virus,” Americans must “put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people…. We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. We, the people.” At the time of Biden’s speech, the U.S. Capitol was surrounded by high fences topped with razor wire. Thousands of National Guard troops prowled the grounds of the Capitol and elsewhere in the District of Columbia to deter any unpleasantness from uppity citizens. Luckily, most of the Washington media continued to vouch that the political class was dutifully serving Americans behind closed doors.


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James Bovard

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

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