Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ Administration Hikes Medicare Premiums

“Biden blames the pandemic for the rise in Medicare costs.  A pandemic which became a political weapon to force people to get jabbed. Biden then ‘mandated’ getting vaxxed or  lose your job. A pandemic the media then pushed to the limits with some Americans just accepting it without truly understanding or questioning the scientific truth behind it. It’s not a pandemic, its really a PANICdemic to take control of we the people’s lives!” – Dr. Rich Swier, DrRichSwier.com


New Democrat slogan: Fuck y’all.

Biden Administration Boosts Medicare Premiums, Blames Drug Costs and Pandemic

Zachary Stieber, November 13, 2021

The Biden administration announced on Nov. 12 that it’s raising Medicare premiums, a move that it blamed in part on the cost of drugs.

The Medicare Part B standard monthly premium will rise by nearly $22 to $170.10 in 2022, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The increase in the Part B premium for 2022 is continued evidence that rising drug costs threaten the affordability and sustainability of the Medicare program,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the agency, said in a statement. “The Biden–Harris Administration is working to make drug prices more affordable and equitable for all Americans, and to advance drug pricing reform through competition, innovation, and transparency.”

The move also stemmed from the limiting of the monthly premium increase in 2021 in the Continuing Appropriations Act and from “spending trends driven by COVID-19,” according to the agency.

“It also reflects the need to maintain a contingency reserve for unanticipated increases in health care spending, particularly certain drug costs,” CMS said in a statement.

One drug, in particular, was a major factor. Officials said the uncertainty surrounding the potential use of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm by people covered by Medicare meant that they needed to store away a higher level of reserves. In July, CMS began analyzing whether Medicare would cover the drug, but hasn’t finished the analysis.

In addition to the monthly premium, the annual deductible will rise to $233 from $203. Also, Medicare Part A inpatient deductibles will jump by $72 to $1,556 in 2022, and Medicare Part A daily coinsurance and skilled nursing facility coinsurance will both increase by at least $9.

Officials noted that many Americans covered by Medicare will see a net increase in Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration announced in October that recipients will get a 5.9 percent increase in benefits.

However, the 14.5 percent increase in Medicare premiums—the highest since 2016—will eat up the entire adjustment for Social Security recipients with the lowest benefits, according to The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan seniors group.

“Social Security recipients with higher benefits should be able to cover the $21.60 per month increase, but they may not wind up with as much left over as they were counting on,” Mary Johnson, a policy analyst for the group, said in a statement.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for Americans aged 65 and older. Americans can start receiving Social Security as early as age 62, although t

They receive more if they wait until full retirement age……

Read the rest……

RELATED ARTICLE: Granholm Says Biden Is ‘All Over’ Gas Prices, Can’t List Any Policies To Lower Prices

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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BIDEN’S BUILD BACK BETTER: Defund Americans & Fund Illegal Aliens

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels

“My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars.” – President Biden tweet @POTUS


We are now in a true culture war!

If you don’t believe me then you either aren’t seeing what is happening, ignoring what is happening or your a registered Democrat.

Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) agenda is anti-American and pro-Illegal Alien. Why? For two reasons:

  1. It is anti-American because BBB is defunding we the working people.
  2. It is pro-illegal alien because BBB is funding those who are breaking America’s immigration laws.

It’s the Cultural War, Stupid!

Culture War: a cultural conflict between social groups and the struggle for dominance of their values, beliefs, and practices.

There’s a culture war going on the likes of which we have not seen before. Biden, his administration and the Democrats in Congress want to fundamentally transform the culture in America. The anti-white, anti-black conservatives, anti-straight male and female and anti-anyone who disagrees with the Democrats is palatable.

Bill Clinton famously stated, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That has now changed under Biden to, “It’s the cultural war, stupid.”

The economy is being used to punish the American working class.

Let’s watch a new video from Johan Norberg, which looks at the impact of minimum wage increases in San Diego, California.

As Daniel J. Mitchell reported,

“And some state and local politicians continue to mandate higher minimum wages (see hereherehere, and here), even though that means workers have fewer job opportunities.”

Does this minimum wage craze really help or hurt working Americans? A number of European nations have no mandated minimum wage. As explained in this video, that’s an approach we should copy.

The bottom line is Americans are seeing their job prospects shrink as Democrats work relentlessly to impose the so called “minimum wage” anywhere and everywhere. The problem is that the minimum wage hurts the working class, particularly those just entering the job market and minorities.

Defunding Americans

Democrats are defunding Americans. How are they doing this? Here are some examples since Biden was sworn in:

  1. Shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline. This has lead, along with Biden’s anti-fossil fuels policies, to higher gasoline prices. This is a direct tax on each and every American that drives an internal combustion engine vehicle. This also applies to those who have purchased all electric vehicles as well. You see, under Biden, the cost of electricity has risen.
  2. Closing businesses to stop the Covid pandemic. We saw early on that Democrats in states like New York and California, literally shut down businesses in order to reduce the number of Covid infections. As we now know, those states that kept businesses open did not see a long term spike in Covid infections and by keeping their businesses open helped their working class keep their jobs, health insurance and prosperity.
  3. Mandating that government and healthcare workers get jabbed. This has lead to massive lawsuits against the Biden vaxx mandate. From police, to fire fighters, to healthcare workers to the military the pushback is growing.
  4. Mandating that companies with 100 or more workers get jabbed. This has lead to more lawsuits including 21 states that have sued to stop this mandate because it it hurting the working class.
  5. Mandating children ages 5 years to 11 years old get jabbed. This has caused parents to rebel. We have see the results of this and the idea that parents have no say in their children’s’ education flipped the state of Virginia from blue to red.

All of these Build Back Better policies have harmed ordinary working Americans.

But it gets worse as Biden’s immigration policies are now hurting working Americans even more.

Funding illegal aliens

RJ Hauman in a FAIR Take article titled, “Democrats Inch Closer to Passing Largest Amnesty in American History” wrote:

Late Friday, the House cleared a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and took a major step toward passage of the $1.85 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which contains amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.

While BBB did not receive a final vote due to overall cost concerns, President Biden and House leaders said they are confident that will happen the week of Nov. 15.

House Democrats did approve on a party-line 221-213 vote a rule that sets the terms for debate when the BBB comes to the floor.

Over the past few weeks, Democrats worked tirelessly to insert an amnesty for up to 7.1 million illegal aliens into BBB. The Senate Parliamentarian rebuffed similar efforts twice, yet they continue pushing for sweeping immigration changes completely unrelated to federal spending or budget matters.

While the current BBB amnesty provision does not include a pathway to citizenship for those eligible, it is still an amnesty, providing protection from deportation and work authorization.

Amnesty is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “A pardon extended by the government to a group or class of persons, usu. for a political offense; the act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted.” (emphasis mine).

Read the full column.

In the FAIR Take column “Biden Flip-Flops, Supports Payouts to Illegal Aliens” Preston Huennekens wrote:

On October 28, the Wall Street Journal broke the story that the Justice Department planned to give some illegal aliens payments of $450,000 each. The eligible illegal aliens are those who the U.S. government “separated” in 2018 when the Trump administration initiated its so-called “zero tolerance” policy that criminally prosecuted all illegal aliens for crossing the border. The total cost to taxpayers could tally well over $1 billion.

[ … ]

The press held President Biden accountable as well. Peter Doocy from Fox News asked President Biden whether the reporting was accurate. The President said “that’s not going to happen,” referring to the reported payments. However, the White House backtracked on those comments days later. Then, on November 4, a White House spokesperson said that President Biden is “perfectly comfortable” paying illegal aliens $450,000 each.

So now Biden is funding illegals but defunding Americans.

Conclusion

As I wrote in my column “Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ Big Lies,”

Political satire has now become public policy under Biden. But is anyone laughing? We think not. People are waking up and we are seeing civil disobedience protests against Biden and his policies growing, not just in the U.S. but globally.

Biden is just another in a long line of tax and spend big government socialists. From FDR to Carter to Clinton to Obama. They’re all birds of a feather who flock together to tax the rich and every single working American to death. Some have even characterized the Biden administration as Obama 2.0!

It’s now clear that Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is causing crimes to be committed against humanity both foreign and domestic.

Gird your loins. Pray! Our only hope is to retake one or both houses of Congress in 2022.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) gets it in this interview.

Lawless and feckless. What a combination. A disaster since Biden’s inauguration.

We hope Democrats wake up and smell the BBB garbage in time. But don’t hold your collective breaths.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Georgia Seeks to Grant In-State Tuition For Illegal Aliens, Florida To Repeal It

RELATED VIDEO: Biden’s flailing agenda, a defeat of his own making.

Clyburn: There’s ‘No Way to Pay’ for Biden’s ‘Zero Cost’ Spending Plan

Friday on MSNBC’s Craig Melvin Reports, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn confessed that “there’s no way to pay” for President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” spending package, which the Biden administration ludicrously claims will come with “zero cost” to the American people.

“I don’t think that anyone ever thought that after doing the rescue plan of over a trillion dollars, that we would come back with a $6 trillion program,” Clyburn stated. “The question is, how do you pay for that? Because we’re committed, Democrats are committed to paying for what we do. We saw the Republicans do a nearly $2 trillion tax cut and pass it onto our children and grandchildren to pay for it sometime in the future. That’s not our philosophy. Our philosophy is, let’s do what we need to do, but let’s pay for it. And so, there’s no way to pay for a $6 trillion program.”

He continued, “And you may recall, I questioned as to whether or not $3.5 trillion could be paid for. In fact, I said at the time that I thought that somewhere between $1.5 and $3.5, we’ll be able to find a sweet spot. And that, it seems to be what’s taking place now. We are close to finding the sweet spot. And it will be between those two numbers.”

Regardless of the final number, the Democrat spending agenda will be disastrous for the country, because it will be oriented toward a far-left, social justice agenda, including the environmentalist boondoggle, the “Great Reset.”


James Clyburn

39 Known Connections

Contempt for President Trump

In an August 16, 2017 interview on CNN, Clyburn said that the United States was becoming more like Nazi Germany with a Hitler-like Donald Trump as president. “We are approaching a place that we’ve been before,” he stated. “We remember from our studies what happened in the 1930s in Germany. I told a business group down at Hilton Head several weeks before the election, that what I saw coming was a replay of what happened in Nazi Germany.” Clyburn then asserted that both Trump and Hitler were elected by the people: “The fact of the matter is Hitler was elected as chancellor of Germany. He did not become a dictator until later when people began to be influenced by his foolishness. We just elected a president and he’s got a lot of foolishness going on, and I’m afraid that too many people are being influenced by that foolishness.”

To learn more about James Clyburn, click here.

EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Food Prices Hit Highest Level in a Decade Crushing Ordinary Americans

Gas is at a level not seen since the disastrous Obama years. But not to worry, the Democrat elite are getting richer and richer on the backs of the American worker.

Food Prices Hit Highest Level in a Decade

Food prices across the world have risen to their highest levels in a decade on the back of tightening supply conditions coupled with robust demand, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

By:  The Epoch Times, October 11, 2021:

The FAO’s food price index, which measures world food commodity prices, has surged by 32.8 percent in the 12 months through September, coming in at a reading of 130 points, a level not seen since 2011. On a month-over-month basis, the index rose 1.2 percent.

Accounting for the bulk of the rise in the index were higher prices of most cereals and vegetable oils.

The FAO vegetable oil price index was up 60 percent in September from a year earlier, and 1.7 percent higher than in August. The cereal price measure was up 27.3 percent over the year last month, and 2 percent from August.

Dairy and sugar prices also rose in September by an over-the-year 15.2 percent and 53.5 percent, respectively, while the meat price index was up 26.3 percent above its year-earlier level.

While much of the inflation story has been focused on surging energy costs and products affected by the semiconductor chip shortage such as used cars, rising food cost signals are increasingly flashing red.

As the U.S. economy rebounds, packaged food companies are grappling with inflation, with Conagra Brands Inc. saying on Oct. 7 that it would increase prices again on its frozen meals and snacks.

Conagra said it was facing rising costs of ingredients including edible oils, proteins, and grains, forcing it to increase prices on frozen goods by 3.5 percent and on staple meals by 3.3 percent.

Food-makers General Mills, Campbell Soup, and J.M. Smucker also have raised wholesale prices in response to rising ingredient and freight costs.

Pork and beef prices have surged in the past few months, while the Labor Department’s August inflation report showed that meat, poultry, fish, and eggs were up 8 percent over the past year and 15.7 percent from prices in August 2019, before the pandemic. Beef prices jumped 12.2 percent over the past year, and bacon was up 17 percent during the same period.

Experts say increasing energy costs around the world could exacerbate the problem.

“It’s this combination of things that’s beginning to get very worrying,” Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, told Bloomberg in a recent interview. “It’s not just the isolated food-price numbers, but all of them together. I don’t think anyone two or three months ago was expecting the energy prices to get this strong.”

Food price inflation is also driving up consumer expectations for future price increases.

The New York Fed’s August survey of consumer expectations showed that Americans anticipate food prices to rise by 7.9 percent in a year, higher than the overall inflation expectation of 5.2 percent.

Federal Reserve officials have repeatedly characterized the current bout of inflation as “transitory” though they have increasingly expressed concern about the risk of a de-anchoring of inflationary expectations. That’s where confidence in the “transitory” narrative falls and people start to believe and behave as if inflation will be far stickier than previously believed, impacting wage and price-setting behavior and potentially even sparking the kind of upward wage-price spiral that bedeviled the economy in the 1970s.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Prices Are Continuing to Surge: Here’s What’s Becoming the Most Expensive

Biden White House Warns American Consumers Of Empty Shelves Come Christmastime

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Quick note: Tech giants are shutting us down. You know this. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Adsense, Pinterest permanently banned us. Facebook, Google search et al have shadow-banned, suspended and deleted us from your news feeds. They are disappearing us. But we are here. We will not waver. We will not tire. We will not falter, and we will not fail. Freedom will prevail.

Subscribe to Geller Report newsletter here — it’s free and it’s critical NOW when informed decision making and opinion is essential to America’s survival. Share our posts on your social channels and with your email contacts. Fight the great fight.

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Remember, YOU make the work possible. If you can, please contribute to Geller Report.

RINO ALERT: LIST Of 11 Republicans Who Voted With Democrats To Raise the Debt Ceiling by $480 Billion

“Compromise is the art of losing slowly.” – LTC Rich Swier, U.S. Army (Ret.)


Senator Rand Paul: We’re Accumulating Debt at Rate of Over $2 Million per Minute

Stop donating to the RNC. Stop supporting the party that never misses an opportunity to stab us in the back.

BREAKING: Here Are The 11 Republicans Who Just Voted With Dems To Raise the Debt Ceiling

BY: Noah, WLT, October 8, 2021:

RINO alert!

How much more are we going to take folks?

We all know Mitch McConnell has repeatedly sold out America over and over and over again — someone should look into the situation with his wife….

And we know it often feels like there are more RINOs that Republicans with a spine and a brain.

Way more.

I am very sad to report 11 Republicans once again just sold us out.

Sold out you, me and America.

And our future.

Under NO circumstances should we have raised this debt ceiling!

Let the Biden Regime FALL under its own weight!

Let it be crushed under its own money printing!

Why are we raising their limit?

Does that make sense to anyone?

I guess it did to these 11 RINOs…..

And here is the list:

Make those names famous and VOTE THEM OUT!

Write them down.

Remember them.

Vote them out.

Here’s more from Politico:

Here are the Senate Republicans who walked the plank: Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) all voted in favor of cloture. None are expected to vote for final passage.

Next steps: Senators move onto final passage of the bill that would raise the debt ceiling through early December. It needs just a simple majority, and Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to swoop in to break the tie.

And from Mediaite:

Enough Republicans joined Democrats on a procedural vote Thursday night to advance the debt ceiling deal, 61-38.

60 votes are needed to overcome the filibuster, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of 10 Republicans who voted to proceed.

In addition to McConnell, Senate Minority Whip John Thune, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Rob Portman, Senator John Barrasso, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Senator Roy Blunt, and Senator Mike Rounds voted to advance the measure.

NATIONAL POLL: Would You Like To See “The Squad” Voted Out of Office?

The deal itself will be voted on later and is expected to pass.

Some Republicans were publicly critical of McConnell before the vote. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham slammed him for caving.

Your thoughts?

VOTE THE TURTLE MAN OUT!

To be clear, Mitch McConnell looks…..like…..a turtle.

But he votes like a RINO.

Make those names famous and VOTE THEM OUT!

Write them down.

Remember them.

Vote them out.

Here’s more from Politico:

Here are the Senate Republicans who walked the plank: Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) all voted in favor of cloture. None are expected to vote for final passage.

Next steps: Senators move onto final passage of the bill that would raise the debt ceiling through early December. It needs just a simple majority, and Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to swoop in to break the tie.

And from Mediaite:

Enough Republicans joined Democrats on a procedural vote Thursday night to advance the debt ceiling deal, 61-38.

60 votes are needed to overcome the filibuster, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of 10 Republicans who voted to proceed.

In addition to McConnell, Senate Minority Whip John Thune, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Rob Portman, Senator John Barrasso, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Senator Roy Blunt, and Senator Mike Rounds voted to advance the measure.

NATIONAL POLL: Would You Like To See “The Squad” Voted Out of Office?

The deal itself will be voted on later and is expected to pass.

Some Republicans were publicly critical of McConnell before the vote. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham slammed him for caving.

Your thoughts?

VOTE THE TURTLE MAN OUT!

To be clear, Mitch McConnell looks…..like…..a turtle.

But he votes like a RINO.

RELATED ARTICLE: President Trump BLASTS McConnell for ‘Folding’ to Democrats Over Debt Ceiling

RELATED TWEET:

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Quick note: Tech giants are shutting us down. You know this. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Adsense, Pinterest permanently banned us. Facebook, Google search et al have shadow-banned, suspended and deleted us from your news feeds. They are disappearing us. But we are here. We will not waver. We will not tire. We will not falter, and we will not fail. Freedom will prevail.

Subscribe to Geller Report newsletter here — it’s free and it’s critical NOW when informed decision making and opinion is essential to America’s survival. Share our posts on your social channels and with your email contacts. Fight the great fight.

Follow me on Gettr. I am there. It’s open and free.

Remember, YOU make the work possible. If you can, please contribute to Geller Report.

Can The Government Mint a $1TRILLION Coin to Pay Its Bills?

Here’s why the fantastical notion of a trillion-dollar coin appearing out of thin air to pay the bills is so appealing—and perilous.


Gridlock in Washington, DC continues amid a fight over raising the debt ceiling, the legal limit on how much the federal government can borrow. Right now, the federal government will be unable to pay its bills on October 18 if the limit isn’t raised, which would prompt a default with disastrous economic ramifications. The most likely outcome is that Congress, in one way or another, comes together to raise the limit. But the deadlock is leading some progressives to push for an extreme and unusual solution.

What if the Treasury Department simply minted a $1 trillion platinum coin, deposited it, and used it to pay its bills without taking out new debt? Yes, seriously. The idea sounds fantastical, but is gaining traction.

“[President] Biden does have an ace in the hole if Congress doesn’t suspend the debt limit,” left-leaning economist Dean Baker wrote for CNN.com. “Due to a technicality in the law, the Treasury Department can print a platinum coin and assign a huge value to it—say, $1 trillion—and sell it to the Federal Reserve Board. This would get around the need to borrow.”

Others share Baker’s view. Writing for the Washington Post, Zachary D. Carter described the solution as “perfectly painless” and “economically meaningless.” New York Times columnist and left-wing economist Paul Krugman has endorsed the idea, as have members of Congress including Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Jerry Nadler.

But if this admittedly novel solution sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.

In fact, there’s an intense debate over whether the federal government actually has the legal authority to pursue such a scheme. Florida Atlantic University economist and monetary policy specialist William J. Luther told FEE in an interview that he believes minting a $1 trillion “token” coin would be unlawful. (For wonky legal reasons explained in this thread.)

More importantly, it’s a bad idea on the policy front. For one, it undermines citizen accountability for the federal government’s spending policies.

“We don’t want bureaucrats at the Treasury circumventing the rules established by Congress,” Luther says. “If Congress wants to spend more without raising taxes, it needs to raise the debt ceiling. If it does that, voters can hold these elected officials accountable. But if you don’t have that vote, it’s hard to hold people accountable.”

Moreover, the economic ramifications of minting a $1 trillion coin are grave.

One of the most glaring concerns people raise with the idea is that minting a $1 trillion coin would lead to inflation by increasing the money supply while the economy otherwise is unchanged. But Luther explains that the Federal Reserve would likely counteract this effect.

“The Fed would neutralize the monetary effects of this coin by selling some of its treasury holdings back to the public and destroying the money it received,” the economist said. “On the one hand you have the Treasury creating a $1 trillion coin, on the other hand you have the Fed contracting the money supply by $1 trillion… so there’s no net monetary effect.”

This means inflation isn’t necessarily a worry—but also reveals why the $1 trillion coin is not actually “painless” or “economically meaningless.”

“Yes, it’s a way around the debt ceiling,” Luther explained. “[But] a trillion dollars that used to be in the private sector is now in the public sector.”

“There is a real resource constraint,” he continued. “Typically, if the government does more, the private sector does less… with some exceptions. [Generally], markets do the best they can with the resources they have. So, if the government bids more of those resources into its own projects, it is necessarily bidding those resources away from the alternative projects they would have been used to pursue. It doesn’t matter how they’re funded… those real resources are in the economy, the question is whether they’re going to be used by the public sector or the private sector.”

“We’re going to spend that $1 trillion on something,” Luther said. “If you spend a portion building a road, you’re going to have to hire employees, which means you’re bidding them away from other pursuits. You’re going to have to acquire machinery, which means you’re bidding away machinery from other projects. Those real resources are not going to be available for other purposes. Whenever the government is using real resources, that necessarily means someone else in the economy—the private sector—is not using those resources.”

Odds are, the bureaucratic and inefficient federal government will make worse investments with these resources than the private sector would have. After all, the free market allocates resources where they’re needed most in accordance with price signals. The government allocates resources based on lobbying and politics. So, it’s not even just a 1-1 trade-off facing us in the coin-minters’ fantasy, but likely even more lost in economic fallout.

Why does this matter? Well, progressives pushing this scheme are desperate to find a way they can fund their endless government spending ambitions and expansions of the welfare state without having to pay the price or deal with any consequences. That’s why the fantastical notion of a trillion-dollar coin appearing out of thin air to pay the bills is so appealing.

But there’s simply no getting around the basic economic reality of trade-offs and scarce resources, no matter how clever the scheme. Ultimately, government spending has costs that cannot be avoided—no matter how many trillion-dollar coins the Treasury mints.

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

WATCHNew Biden Vax Mandate Doesn’t Make ANY Sense (Here’s Why)

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

Does Biden’s $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Include a Mileage Tax?

Here’s a dismaying prospect: Paying 6, 8, or 10 cents in new taxes for every mile you drive. It may sound small, but at an 8 cent rate, that would be $1,144 in new annual taxes for the average American, who drives about 14,300 miles a year. Yikes!

Some on social media are claiming that this punitive tax scheme has been slipped into President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending legislation—which, after all, is nearly 3,000 pages and is chock full of unrelated waste and partisan pet projects. But are they right to be concerned about a mileage tax soon becoming reality?

No. At least, not yet.

The infrastructure legislation does not include a mileage tax or another form of driving tax. What it does include is a pilot program to study and test the idea. The legislation authorizes $125 million in taxpayer funding for this test initiative. (A lot of taxpayer money for an experiment, no?)

“People would volunteer to be part of the test,” fact-checkers at local New York news outlet WGRZ-TV report. “The test would require volunteers to record their miles, pay the fees, and then be reimbursed by the government. This pilot program would go through the year 2026 and at that point, if Congress and the president like it, they would have to pass another bill making it into law. This infrastructure bill simply creates the program.”

We can certainly question the wisdom of this endeavor. But rest assured that if the infrastructure legislation ultimately passes—a likely if not certain outcome—you won’t get a new per-mile bill from the IRS. However, this move does represent a shift toward mainstreaming and advancing the idea of a per-mile driving tax.

Such a tax would be highly regressive, meaning that it would disproportionately burden low-income Americans. So, too, the costs would fall harder on rural Americans who drive more than their city-dwelling counterparts. That said, proponents argue it simply funds highway infrastructure by taxing those who use it. They also note that it could replace the gas tax, which currently attempts to do the same yet fails to capture usage by electric vehicles.

Still, the prospect of sizable new taxes levied on working-class Americans solely for the privilege of being allowed to drive your own car isn’t an attractive one. Luckily, we aren’t actually facing this as an immediate reality, even if it is slowly being advanced into the mainstream.

WATCHNew Biden Vax Mandate Doesn’t Make ANY Sense (Here’s Why)

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

Manchin: Schumer ‘will not have my vote’ on $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill

Bernie Sanders and the Democrats seeks to inject socialism into America with this monstrosity of a bill. In addition, it has been discovered that this bill would allow the IRS to monitor bank transactions, potentially violating the 4th Amendment. The bill will also grant amnesty to millions of people who have entered the United States illegally. And the bill would provide free community college to Americans, while funding  radical “green” projects in the years ahead. This bill must be stopped. Keep calling Senator Manchin and tell him to vote no.

Manchin: Schumer ‘will not have my vote’ on $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill

By Fox News, September 12, 2021

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Sunday that he will not vote in favor of his party’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, which is a central part of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and needs the support of all 50 Democratic senators to pass.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Manchin was asked by anchor Dana Bash to respond to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who said Democrats were moving “full speed ahead” on the package for which Manchin previously called for a “pause.” Manchin, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said his main issue with the package is its hefty price tag.

“He will not have my vote on 3.5 and Chuck knows that,” he said, adding that it should be more like $1.5 trillion. “It’s not going to be three and a half I can assure you.”

Manchin said the bill that Democrats should be primarily focused on is the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in the Senate and is awaiting House action. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said a vote on that bill would be held on Sept. 27, but progressives have threatened to vote against it if the reconciliation bill is held up in the Senate.

Manchin said there is “no way” the reconciliation will pass this month, and he said progressives are making a big mistake if they follow through on their threat.

“They have to do what they have to do,” he said. “And if they play politics with the needs of America, I can tell you America will recoil.”

Appearing later on ABC’s “This Week,” Manchin criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after the senator declared on Twitter the day before: “No infrastructure bill without the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.”

“I just respectfully disagree with Bernie,” Manchin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “I’ve never seen this in legislation. I never thought the purposes of the progress we make in legislation was basically to hold one hostage over the other.”

Sanders, who appeared later on the same show, fired back, saying “the real question” is whether it is “appropriate for one person to destroy two pieces of legislation.”

Sanders said that regardless of the party infighting, he expected both bills to eventually pass.

Budget reconciliation rules prevent Republicans from filibustering the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, so Democrats only need a simple majority to pass it. With a 50-50 Senate, Democrats need every senator in their party to vote yes, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

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Bernie Sanders calls Manchin’s refusal to back $3.5 trillion spending plan ‘absolutely not acceptable’

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Sign the Petition – Tell Bank of America to Focus on Finances, Not Race Division

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO BANK OF AMERICA


Bank of America (1.00)  used to help you with checking, savings, and loans. The company was dedicated to making your money work for you.

Today, that’s all changed. Bank of America has become another arm of the woke agenda, declaring that white people should “decolonize” their minds and “accept that white supremacy and institutional racism are real.”

We don’t believe this racist agenda, and nor should you. Therefore, 2ndVote has signed onto the National Center for Public Policy Research’s petition urging Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan to get back to banking. From the petition:

Bank of America’s new reeducation program teaches white employees that “regardless of one’s socioeconomic class background or other disadvantages,” they are “living a life with white-skin privileges.”

It is time to put an end to Bank of America’s radical and divisive “racial justice” initiatives. Will you stand with us today to put pressure on Bank of America to stay true to its name and stop this un-American racially divisive reeducation program? 

And from a letter to Moynihan the Center is asking Americans to sign:

I do not agree that the United States is a “racialized society” using “race to establish and justify systems of power, privilege, disenfranchisement and oppression.” Your racial reeducation program sows division and hurts your reputation with customers and shareholders.

I ask you today to uphold true American ideals and stop sponsoring these programs — whether alone or with other organizations — and to stop distributing them to your employees.

Until Bank of America starts putting banking and customers first, conservatives should put our 2ndVote elsewhere. Open accounts with financial companies like Goldman Sachs (3.87) until Bank of America lives up to its name: a bank that is “of America,” supporting values of equality and freedom.

Use your voice. Contact companies like Bank of America through our website to remind them of their American values and to be our bank of America, not a bank encouraging woke culture. Not only do you have the power in your pocket with your money to make change, you have the power in your voice!

EDITORS NOTE: This 2nd Vote column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

One of the Biggest Welfare State Expansions in U.S. History Just Got Approved By the House

And the whopping $3.5 trillion price tag could even be an underestimate.


It’s another day that ends in y, so, Congress just nonchalantly voted to spend trillions of taxpayer dollars. On Tuesday, the House approved a $3.5 trillion spending resolution on a party-line vote, with Democrats backing the measure and Republicans uniformly opposing it.

“House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution on Tuesday, 220-212, advancing the party’s effort to pass a sweeping economic package that would expand the nation’s social safety net,” Axios reports. “Democrats now will be able to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a bill — likely later this fall — by a simple majority, tackling key priorities like health care, child care and climate change.”

The so-called “Human Infrastructure” plan paves the way for further bills allocating these trillions toward enormous expansions of the welfare state across many different areas and industries. It includes education measures like taxpayer funding for “free” community college and “universal” pre-school, as well as healthcare expenditures like expanding Obamacare subsidies—even for the wealthy—and adding more people to government healthcare programs. It also has climate schemes like huge electric vehicle subsidies, the creation of a “Civilian Climate Corps” to supposedly create “green jobs,” and much, much more.

It would honestly be easier to list what’s not in the proposal than what is.

The expense here is truly mind-boggling. Remember that this spending plan comes on the heels of more than $6 trillion in ostensibly-pandemic-related welfare spending and in addition to a $1+ trillion transportation infrastructure bill. And this is all in light of a $28.6 trillion—and counting—national debt. This additional $3.5 trillion bill amounts to, roughly estimated, about $24,400 in new spending per federal taxpayer.

If enacted, this plan would be one of the biggest expansions of government and the welfare state in American history. To put it into context, consider President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the legendary set of government programs enacted in the 1930s that created Social Security and many other forms of welfare still with us today.

Well, the New Deal cost $41.7 billion at the time. And, roughly translated, that’s about $875 billion in today’s dollars. So, the welfare spending plan House Democrats just approved is several times bigger in total cost than the inflation-adjusted New Deal!

The crazy thing is that the $3.5 trillion price may actually be an underestimate.

One of the major provisions in the spending plan is further extending the recently-expanded “child tax credit,” an expensive welfare program that sends regular checks with taxpayer money to families based on how many kids they have.

The $3.5 trillion resolution, when eventually fleshed out into full spending legislation, is likely to reauthorize the tax credit for 2 to 4 years. However, the White House and leaders in Congress have openly said they want to make it permanent. So, we can expect them to simply re-extend it in a few years. They are most likely only doing a shorter extension in this bill to keep the sticker price of the legislation down.

According to American Enterprise Institute senior fellow and Rowe scholar Matt Weidinger, this means the spending plan could ultimately cost up to $1 trillion more than currently advertised. That’s right: the already-exorbitant $3.5 trillion price tag could really be more like $4 trillion or $4.5 trillion in practice.

“If they only extend something for two years but want to make it permanent, all that means is that in two years, someone else is going to have to figure out how to pay for the extension,” Weidinger told me in a phone interview. “But it’s no less of an expectation that they want to make it permanent… they can just only squeeze so much sugar into this 5-pound sack that they’ve created for themselves today.”

Yet, given the sad normalization of profligate spending in Washington DC, some people might unfortunately be unfazed by the prospect of trillions more going out the door. But we should still be alarmed.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees, and somebody has to pay for this,” Weidinger argued. “Whatever the spending promises are today, they will be matched by some tax hikes—including in this legislation—but not nearly enough to actually cover the true cost of this. So, if you want bigger government, more disincentives for people to be working and supporting themselves, and if you want to leave bigger bills for our children and grandchildren to pay, you’re going to love this plan. [If not], you should be quite skeptical of this plan.”

Of course, the headlines and Americans’ attention are understandably concentrated elsewhere, as chaos grips Afghanistan and the pandemic persists. But we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that Congress is all the while voting away trillions from our pockets and expanding the scope of the welfare state to unprecedented new heights.

COLUMN BY:

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

Democrat Autocrats Prep Massive Infrastructure Bill, Plan to Push Through Before Most Can Read It

The one-party totalitarians are now pushing to pass bills that haven’t even been written or finished, a bill that will certainly bankrupt and ruin this nation.

One Payoff in the Infrastructure Deal Is So Blatantly Corrupt That You Almost Have to Respect the Hustle

From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Schumer wants to rush the bill through so he can move on to Bernie Sanders’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution that he will then sprint through on a party-line vote. He wants to pass both before the Senate’s August recess. Amendments will often be offered and voted on while the nation sleeps to meet this artificial deadline that is convenient for the political class but not for informing the public. Both parties operate this way now. But it isn’t the right way to run a democracy, and no wonder Americans hold Congress in such low regard (WSJ).

From Ben Shapiro: Total number of people in Congress who will read this before voting: (Twitter).

Dan McLaughlin: At this stage, even the staffers may not read the thing (Twitter).

Another story notes

The new $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill contains billions of dollars to upgrade border crossings — but no money at all for the southern border wall, which President Joe Biden abandoned, despite an ongoing surge of illegal migration (Breitbart).

Democrat Joe Manchin hasn’t said if he’ll vote to approve (Washington Times).

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Here’s the List of the Top 20 States Getting ‘COVID’ Bailout Money [And Why It Raises a Giant Red Flag]

It’s simply naïve and ignorant of human nature to expect people—especially the kind of people who become politicians—to dole out trillions of dollars without any hint of favoritism or impropriety.


President Biden is taking a victory lap after signing his $1.9 trillion ‘COVID’ spending bill. “Help is here,” he wrote in a tweet promoting his plan.

But Americans who are initially glad to hear that more ‘COVID’ relief is supposedly on its way may be surprised when they learn that the latest legislation funnels $350 billion in unneeded taxpayer money to flush the coffers of state and local governments.

In the president’s telling, this is much-needed aid that will allow municipal governments facing massive COVID-related revenue pitfalls to pay their front-line emergency responders and essential personnel. But the facts reveal a different story.

While it’s plausible on its face to think that COVID would have led to a revenue drop for state and local governments, this never materialized in most places. According to JP Morgan, state revenue was “virtually flat” in 2020 nationwide while 21 states actually saw slight revenue upticks.

Cato Institute economist Chris Edwards noted that while there was a significant downturn in state revenue in the second quarter of 2020, overall it was balanced out by an uptick in the third quarter. “There is no need for more federal aid to the states,” he concluded.

So, the $350 billion in state “aid”—which cost roughly $2,442 per federal taxpayer—Congress  just passed wasn’t actually necessary. What’s the driving motivation behind it, then? This becomes clearer when we consider which states are getting the most taxpayer cash.

Here are the 20 states receiving the most money from the latest spending legislation.

  1. California: $42.3 billion
  2. Texas: $27.3 billion
  3. New York: $23.5 billion
  4. Tribal Governments: $20 billion
  5. Florida: $17.3 billion
  6. Illinois: $13.5 billion
  7. Pennsylvania: $13.5 billion
  8. Ohio: $11 billion
  9. Michigan: $10.1 billion
  10. New Jersey: $10 billion
  11. North Carolina: $8.7 billion
  12. Georgia: $8.17 billion
  13. Massachusetts: $7.96 billion
  14. Arizona: $7.48 billion
  15. Washington: $6.94 billion
  16. Virginia: $6.68 billion
  17. Maryland: $6.21 billion
  18. Tennessee: $6.12 billion
  19. Colorado: $5.9 billion
  20. Indiana: $5.7 billion

At first glance, it’s hard to decipher a clear pattern on this list. It’s not ordered by population, otherwise Florida would be above New York and Georgia would be above New Jersey. So, how did they divvy up the money?

Curiously, the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress factored in not just population but also the number of unemployed citizens. This had the direct effect of skewing the bailout benefits toward states that enacted harsher lockdowns and punishing states who prioritized preserving economic activity.

It must be noted that the list is skewed to include more “blue” states that voted for Biden, 13, than “red” states that voted for Trump, 6. It was, in many cases, Republican governors who opted for lighter restrictions and abandoned harsh lockdowns. In states like Florida, this has averted the unemployment and social destruction other states experienced—without producing noticeably worse COVID deaths.

One could argue that perhaps focusing on the unemployment rate is meant to ensure the aid goes to the states shortest on revenue. But why not use actual revenue shortfalls, then? Indeed, California tops the list for bailout money, yet the Golden State is actually running a budget surplus!

The only conclusion left to draw, however disappointing, is that Democrats crafted this bailout’s structure to favor states who pursued the COVID-19 policies they agree with—aka, states run by Democrats. Suffice it to say that political favoritism should never determine how limited taxpayer money is spent.

But, unfortunately, cronyism and favoritism are features, not a bug, of big government spending programs. As economist Ludwig von Mises once explained, big government programs concentrate enormous spending power in the hands of a few political officials; all but ensuring that favoritism follows.

“There is no such thing as a just and fair method of exercising the tremendous power that interventionism puts into the hands of the legislature and the executive,” Mises wrote.

It’s simply naïve and ignorant of human nature to expect people—especially the kind of people who become politicians—to dole out trillions of dollars without any hint of favoritism or impropriety. So, while Americans will understandably be angered by the way Congress has carved out hundreds of billions for state governments that don’t need it, they’d be wrong to think this is a one-time mistake.

Corruption and dysfunction are baked into the cake when we entrust the government with vast economic powers.

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Opinion Editor at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

#RetailMadeMe Tik Tok Trend Blames Capitalism For Waste. It Should Blame The Government

Companies have all kinds of incentives to be charitable. Unfortunately, retailers often face regulations that force them to destroy their merchandise instead of donating it.


Kids say the darndest things, and these days they say them on TikTok, the popular video social media platform with 850 million active monthly users.

A new trend called #RetailMadeMe took off on the platform this month after one popular account asked users to reply with a time their employer forced them to destroy perfectly usable merchandise.

The trend seems to have struck a nerve as hundreds of videos sharing personal accounts began to pour in. Many of the users expressed anger, guilt, and feelings of frustration as they described their own experiences.

Commenters directed their disdain at corporations for such wasteful, selfish, and environmentally negligent practices. Some told of having to destroy clothing that merely needed a good wash or a button sewn on, and pointed out that these items could have been donated to women’s shelters instead of being cut up and wasted.

Many of the replies focused on retail specifically, but another category quickly took off with other users recounting their experience in the food industry. They discussed policies that forced them to throw good food away, even when they themselves were experiencing food insecurity or knew it could be given to those in need.

Notably, many of the responders included additional hashtags with their videos that expressed their scorn for capitalism, which they clearly seem to blame for these egregious practices.

These stories would be upsetting in the best of times. But as lockdowns continue to ravage our economy, and as millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet as a result, it is unsurprising that these anecdotes have ignited a social media wildfire.

But, while the anger behind these videos is understandable, and while it is right to be critical of careless waste, it seems the majority of the social media users in this case haven’t done their homework.

It has become fashionable to blame capitalism for bad behavior and corruption as of late, at least among some demographics. But dig beneath the surface for even five minutes and you will typically find that the source of the problem is actually some government regulation.

Such is largely the case with companies destroying their products instead of choosing to donate them, especially when it comes to food.

“A mix of federal, state and local laws,” wrote Harvard Law professor Jacob Gersen in a 2016 article for Time, “make it almost impossible to get food that would otherwise be wasted to those who could use it. If you donate food to someone and they get sick or even die, then you could be legally liable for their injury. That risk, however small, means that when choosing between giving away and throwing away food, the least risky choice is to toss it.”

Some lawmakers have recognized this problem and passed provisions that limit the liability companies face, but only if they go through a third party charitable organization first. That makes the donation process costly and time-consuming for busy business owners.

Furthermore, a 2014 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless found that 21 cities implemented additional regulations that block food-sharing with the homeless explicitly. One health department even went so far as to dump bleach on perfectly good barbeque (in 2016) when contestants of The American Royal’s World Series of Barbeque attempted to donate excess food from the event.

On top of all of that are other laws, like occupational licensing, that prohibit everyday Americans from sharing excess food they may prepare or possess. Local health laws ban the direct donation of food items, especially if they are prepared in an unlicensed kitchen.

Regulators and government bureaucrats will attempt to say that all of this is done in the name of public safety. But that argument doesn’t wash. In fact, restaurants—which are stringently regulated—are twice as likely to give someone food poisoning compared to meals cooked at home.

Other retailers face similar government regulations that force them to destroy their merchandise instead of donating it.

CVS, which has garnered the particular attention of the #RetailMadeMe trend, responded to the criticism with a statement that expressed as much:

“We work with numerous nonprofit organizations to arrange for damaged or near-expired goods from our stores to be donated to people in need … Our product disposal guidelines and procedures comply with applicable state and federal regulations, and they are consistent with that of the retail industry.”

To be fair, there are other reasons companies choose to destroy goods, and for some of these they deserve criticism. Sometimes the policies are in place so that employees do not have an incentive to damage products (in order to get a reduced price or obtain them for free). And some companies, especially luxury brands like Burberry, destroy their leftover products so as to not decrease the value of their brand on the gray market.

In this regard, pushback from consumers works marvelously and applies pressure on these companies to adopt more sustainable practices. Such is the case with the latter where in response to condemnation, high-end brands like Gucci and Balenciaga have joined initiatives that convert raw materials into yarn for other fabrics and garments.

But more often than not, it is bad government policy that leads to waste—not the free market.

Companies have all kinds of incentives to be charitable. It buys them good (and often free) publicity, builds their brand, and buys them good will. It increases the morale of their employees, and they can usually write off the donations on their taxes.

So contrary to the assertions on Tik Tok, free market capitalism actually provides ample reasons for companies to be philanthropic. It’s time to stop blaming an economic system you don’t understand when the government is actually at fault.

COLUMN BY

Hannah Cox

Hannah Cox is a libertarian-conservative writer, commentator, and activist. She’s a Newsmax Insider and a Contributor to The Washington Examiner.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

New Study Pegs COVID-19 Crisis Costs at $16 Trillion—So Far

The word “lockdown” never appears in the Summers-Cutler study, but the costs are clearly visible.


Estimated costs of the coronavirus pandemic are in. The results are not pretty.

A new study co-authored by Harvard economist David M. Cutler and former World Bank chief economist Lawrence H. Summers places the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic north of $16 trillion.

“The estimated cumulative financial costs of the COVID-19 pandemic related to the lost output and health reduction are shown in the Table,” write Summers and Cutler. “The total cost is estimated at more than $16 trillion, or approximately 90% of the annual gross domestic product of the US.”

As the authors explain, roughly half of the costs stem from the global recession, which was triggered by government-imposed lockdowns around the world. The remainder is the result of economic losses stemming from shorter life spans and health deterioration.

These losses are unprecedented in modern history. According to Summers and Cutler, the costs exponentially exceed previous recessions and recent conflicts in the Middle East and beyond.

“Output losses of this magnitude are immense. The lost output in the Great Recession was only one-quarter as large,” the authors write. “The economic loss is more than twice the total monetary outlay for all the wars the US has fought since September 11, 2001, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.”

It’s a sobering analysis. The numbers are so enormous they are difficult for the human mind to grasp, but they will have very real effects on American families and others around the world.

As the authors point out, the losses translate to about $200,000 for a family of four. These losses will hurt American families, but poor families around the world will be hit even harder. A recent World Bank study estimated that as many as 150 million people around the world will fall into extreme poverty—defined by living on less than $1.90 per day—by 2021.

Cutler and Summers write that “the immense financial loss from COVID-19 suggests a fundamental rethinking of government’s role in pandemic preparation.” They recommend establishing permanent government infrastructure for testing, contact tracing, and isolation of the sick.

This seems, to be kind, misguided. After all, it was the government’s botched response to the pandemic and its proactive role in shutting down society that caused the bulk of the unprecedented economic damage.

It’s important to remember that throughout history humanity has experienced no shortage of pandemics and deadly viruses. Many have noted that the 1957-58 pandemic bears striking similarities to that of 2020. The 1957-58 pandemic claimed the lives of 1.1 million people worldwide (including 116,000 Americans). The case-fatality rate for that pandemic was 0.67, researchers estimate, which is almost certainly higher than that of COVID-19.

Despite the similarities, some of the differences are even more striking. The economic fallout from that pandemic was barely noticeable. (The same can be said of the Spanish Flu of 1918.)

What made the COVID-19 pandemic so unique was not the virus itself, but our collective response to it. In an effort to protect the population from an invisible virus, governments adopted a blueprint for government-enforced social distancing, a plan whose genesis stems from a 14-year-old girl’s science project and a library trip by George W. Bush.

In favor of this approach, the long-standing conventional wisdom of how to mitigate the spread of a deadly virus was abandoned by most nations, and by April dozens of governments around the world had quarantined tens of millions of healthy people and ordered the closure of millions of “non-essential” businesses.

Prior to February 2020, when China ordered the largest mass quarantine in human history, such an action had never been taken. (It’s worth noting that before they became a partisan issue, media organizations such as NPR and the New York Times expressed serious doubts about the strategy of government-imposed quarantines.)

And now we know why: pandemic lockdowns are a strategy born of hubris. The strategy rests on the misguided idea that central planners can create a more perfect social order by removing decision-making from individuals and replacing it with their own top-down mandates.

Economists from Hayek to Mises and beyond have warned that this hubris poses one of the great risks to modern man.

“If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible,” Hayek noted in his Nobel Prize speech.

“The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society – a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization…,” he continued.

Central planners failed to heed Hayek’s “knowledge problem” warning. In their zeal to control society, they destroyed the global economy on a scale the modern world had never seen.

Somehow, the word “lockdown” never appears in the Summers-Cutler study.

This will not do. If we cannot acknowledge a basic truth—government lockdowns failed—we are bound to make the same mistake again.

Once we have come to grips with this basic truth— one the World Health Organization and some European nations appear to have gleaned—we can begin to rebuild the economy. And the recipe for success is simple: economic freedom.

“In order to reverse this serious setback to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will need to prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labor, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors,” World Bank Group President David Malpass writes.

Free markets and free people is the formula for a brighter future in a post-COVID-19 world.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: WHO Reverses Course, Now Advises Against Use of ‘Punishing’ Lockdowns

Even as the WHO calls on nations to refrain from imposing lockdowns, many governments continue to use this strategy.


For months, an overwhelming majority of the planet’s population has been subject to cruel and unnerving lockdowns: businesses closed, travel restricted, and social gatherings kept to a minimum.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have sunk our economies, kept loved ones apart, derailed funerals, and made personal and economic liberty a casualty as much as our health. One report states it could cost us $82 trillion globally over the next five years – roughly the same as our yearly global GDP.

Many of these initial lockdowns were justified by policy recommendations by the World Health Organization.

The WHO’s director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, writing in a strategy update in April, called on nations to continue lockdowns until the disease was under control.

But now, more than six months since lockdowns became a favored political tool of global governments, the WHO is calling for their swift end.

Dr. David Nabarro, the WHO’s Special Envoy on COVID-19, told Spectator UK’s Andrew Neil last week that politicians have been wrong in using lockdowns as the “primary control method” to combat COVID-19.

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” said Nabarro.

Dr. Michael Ryan, Director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, offered a similar sentiment.

“What we want to try to avoid – and sometimes it’s unavoidable and we accept that – but what we want to try and avoid is these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to society and to everything else,” said Dr. Ryan, speaking at a briefing in Geneva.

RELATED ARTICLE: Income Is Determined by the Scarcity of Your Contribution, Not the Value of Human Worth

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.