It’s hardly a secret that the Republicans, once the stalwarts of fiscal responsibility, have let the deficit rise exponentially since Drumpf became President and since the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.1
The problem with having such a huge budget deficit is that it completely reduces the flexibility of the federal government to spend money to protect people in times like this, where we have a pandemic on the loose in the United States.
The kind of things that we need to do to protect people and businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic:
- Provide unemployment for workers affected in industries (like restaurants and food service) who can no longer go to work.
- Extend unemployment for those who are already on it and cannot find a job in the middle of a pandemic.
- Provide free testing for the Coronavirus.
- Provide free health care for this infected by the Coronavirus.
- Provide rental and mortgage assistance to those unable to work.
- Provide financial assistance to small businesses hit hard by the Coronavirus.
These are just some of the things that government should do right now. They would not be easy to implement, and they would be expensive. But they are needed.
To see how a government can handle Coronavirus effectively, you need to look no further than Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan (two of which are city states) that did a fantastic job responding to the Coronavirus before it hit there hard.
All of those places have a much more positive orientation to government than we have here in the United States, of course. And the citizens of those places are generally much less rebellious when asked by their government to do something. Asian societies are generally much more pro-social than Western societies, where we worship individualism.
This is one time where individualism is not really going to work.
- The Act did indeed produce tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, for corporations, for non-profits, and for those inheriting large sums of money. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “lower income groups will incur costs, while higher income groups will receive benefits: “Overall, the combined effect of the change in net federal revenue and spending is to decrease deficits (primarily stemming from reductions in spending) allocated to lower-income tax filing units and to increase deficits (primarily stemming from reductions in taxes) allocated to higher-income tax filing units.”