We can thank the American Rescue Plan for “Bidenflation”

Timothy Carney
Conservative Opinion

Timothy Carney

Timothy Carney, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
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The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate is, I’m sure, a fine institution, even if its had trouble paying its own bills. 

What I don’t understand is why paying down the debt of this Ted Kennedy legacy should be part of coronavirus relief. 

Yet it’s just one of many examples of states and localities spending federal COVID-relief money on frivolity or expenses that have no national importance or connection to the pandemic.

President Biden and the Democratic Congress, immediately upon taking over after the 2020 election, spent $1.9 trillion on the “American Rescue Plan.” Biden has bragged that this was the salvation of the economy.

Biden State of the Union:

(date: Mar 1, 2022)

That’s why one of the first things I did as President was fight to pass the American Rescue Plan.  

Because people were hurting. We needed to act, and we did. 

Few pieces of legislation have done more in a critical moment in our history to lift us out of crisis. 

It fueled our efforts to vaccinate the nation and combat COVID-19. It delivered immediate economic relief for tens of millions of Americans.  

Helped put food on their table, keep a roof over their heads, and cut the cost of health insurance.  (end Biden clip)

Here’s the thing: Back in 2020, there was a real need to get money out the door. 

Downtowns had gone silent, and employers had no money coming in thanks to stay-at-home orders 

and general fear about the virus. One-time federal funding, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, 

kept employers from shutting down or having to lay everyone off during the weeks or months that the businesses couldn’t operate. 

States and counties saw huge new costs, as they had to increase social services and take up arms against the pandemic. Other 2020 bipartisan spending bills helped those who lost a job, or helped schools or businesses fight COVID, say by improving ventilation or adding testing capacity.

But come 2021 it was a different story. President Biden and congressional Democrats passed the “American Rescue Plan” simply to spend more money. 

Some candidates had run for office on the promise of delivering more free money, and so the party passed the $1.9 trillion raft of spending 

even though unemployment was already going down, lockdowns were mostly over, and states and counties were actually sitting on healthy budgets.

So how did cash-rich states and localities spend their Biden-era COVID aid? On whatever the heck they wanted to.

Massachusetts lawmakers earmarked $5 million to pay down the debt of the Edward M. Kennedy Center. 

Dutchess County, New York set aside $12 million from American Rescue Plan to upgrade the stadium of the Hudson Valley Renegades, a farm team of the Yankees.

Forest Lakes, Minnesota, is upgrading its golf clubhouse with the cash. 

Loma Verde, California, is building a new rec center.

Why should we begrudge Forest Lake golfers or the Hudson Valley Renegades’ fans nicer digs?

Because the massive spending by these counties and states is a huge driver of our current inflation. 

These unneeded projects unrelated to COVID are bidding up the costs of supplies and labor, adding to shortages and making life much more expensive for the rest of us. 

Bidenflation is driven, in large part, by the American Rescue Plan, which cannot reasonably be considered a rescue of anything or anyone.

Washington lawmakers like to bribe local politicians and businessmen with other people’s money, knowing that you—the consumer and taxpayer—will pay the price.


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