Why have the Democrats in Congress decided to punish small businesses?
Make no mistake, that is exactly what Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the congressional Democrats are doing in their latest politically tone-deaf move by denying funding for the small business loan program. As of last week, the program officially ran out of money, leaving millions of small business owners and their employees wondering how they’ll survive the government-mandated lockdowns.
It makes you wonder why Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues would possibly risk being so out of touch with the needs of our country’s small businesses—despite small businesses being the driver of the American economy. Well, the answers are right there in the left’s playbook: following the advice to “never allow a crisis to go to waste.” Many in Congress seem to have decided that this is an opportunity to take advantage of the fear, uncertainty, and chaos by advancing one of their chief policy objectives—turning America into a welfare state.
Their slogan: Make welfare big again.
If you have any doubt that this is their goal, consider the last time Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer held America hostage, just a few weeks ago. That standoff resulted in several damaging policies from their socialist policy menu getting included in the original COVID-19 relief bills. Among other things, the previous COVID-19 relief bills included a provision that literally will not allow a state to remove someone from Medicaid, even if they commit fraud or become ineligible for the program. For states, that means their Medicaid program has become Hotel California—they can check people in, but they can never leave.
How soon until that “no vacancy” sign lights up? How soon until Medicaid programs are too broken to serve even the truly needy?
It didn’t end there. After giving an unprecedented free $1,000 or more a week in unemployment (a 2,300 percent hike over the unemployment benefits increase in the Obama stimulus package in 2009), Congress also decided that this income should be ignored when determining welfare eligibility. Here’s how this plays out: People can now earn more by not working than they could with their original jobs, and they can collect taxpayer-funded welfare on the side. We’re already seeing this pan out, with more seeking to take advantage of this massive welfare expansion.
These policies will inevitably result in millions of Americans stuck on welfare long term—long after the COVID-19 crisis passes. Even as our country’s economy begins to recover, it will be more lucrative to be collecting welfare on the sidelines than to be working and self-sufficient.
For the left, that’s a feature, not a bug.
So, what comes next? Those provisions were just a little preview from the peddlers of poverty.
Here is what’s coming next: welfare for all.
First, Democrats will push for a requirement—or at least a strong incentive—for all states to expand Medicaid to all able-bodied adults. More than a dozen states leaders have had the courage to resist the pressure to expand welfare since 2014, including Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Missouri. They will have to resist even more, as pro-expansion forces try to foist it on them once and for all.
They will also try to bribe states to stop fighting welfare fraud by giving extra money to states that only use minimal program integrity standards. The extra money will be automatically tied to unemployment, meaning state Medicaid programs will benefit if they can keep people from going back to work.
Through it all, there’s a continued attack on work in this country. Can’t you almost hear the glee in the air when some TV reporters talk about the higher unemployment rate?
It’s gotten so bad that we’ve already heard proposals to make it illegal for states to require able-bodied adults on welfare to even look for work, work part-time, or volunteer for the next two years.
Speaker Pelosi and her allies will also attempt to preempt the Trump administration from correcting executive overreach in previous administrations and protecting the food stamp program for the truly needy.
There will be a push for an unrestricted, massive bailout of state budgets. Of course, states are going to be hurting and need help. They’ve already received billions from Congress and President Trump. But what Democrats want is a handout to pay for welfare programs they couldn’t afford even before the COVID-19 crisis.
The left’s welfare wish list goes on and on—and the numbers make less and less sense.
If you’ve watched welfare advocates angle for expansion of government programs for years, none of this will come as a surprise. But it should still be a shock to see some on the left seize a moment of true crisis to push destructive dependency policies on the nation.
I would encourage members of Congress to be vigilant and block any further attempts to expand the welfare state and impose socialism on Americans. “Make welfare big again” is not a slogan we need, nor is it a goal that will put America back on the path to economic recovery and prosperity.
Sam Adolphsen is a visiting fellow at the Opportunity Solutions project