You never let a serious crisis go to waste, as Rahm’s Rule says. Never was there a more concise summary of both the promise and dysfunction of American politics.
Every time the country faces a crisis, real or perceived, there is a rush in Congress to pass massive bills that go far beyond responding to the matter at hand. These phonebook-sized (if I can use an anachronism) emergency acts are too long and detailed for any legislator to read and fully comprehend, but you can bet they are stuffed with gimmicks, giveaways, sweetheart deals and ill-advised policies with no bearing on the crisis itself.
The latest example is the newly-introduced House version of the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act,” intended to afford stimulus and stability in the face of the economic crisis fomented by COVID-19. The bill my provide some form of succor to the economy, but in the words of Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), the crisis is also “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” In other words, coronavirus gives good cover to impose progressive requirements on stricken businesses and a society eager to see government simply act. And fast.
Liberal special interests
The 1119-page bill is Christmas in March for liberal special interests. It imposes racial and gender pay equity provisions, diversity on corporate boards, increased use of minority-owned banks by federal offices, and a grab-bag of other diversity-themed requirements. It increases the collective bargaining power for unions and cancels all the debt owed by the U.S. Postal Service to the U.S. Treasury. For the global warming crowd there are increased fuel emission standards and required carbon offsets for airlines, plus tax credits for alternative energy programs. For the kids there is a provision for student loan payment deferment, and for the education bureaucrats who overcharge them a $9.5 billion giveaway to colleges and universities. It gives $100 million to juvenile justice programs, and suspends various aspects of enforcement of immigration laws.