After all their caterwauling about President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Democrats don’t seem to be too concerned about it. In fact, it appears that they are more fixated on promoting progressive policies at the state and local level than assisting those who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.
Fox News recently reported that “state and local governments are racing to spend millions in CARES Act funding before it reverts back to the federal government — and they’re finding unexpected ways to use it.” According to the report, Democratic officials are using the funds for their favorite pet progressive programs instead of the act’s intended purpose.
The CARES Act, which provides $139 billion in funding to state and local governments, are meant to help with issues like increased police budgets and to provide rent and utility assistance of residents who are struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic. But the Democrats seem to have decided that they can’t let this opportunity go to waste.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is reportedly using the aid to spend millions of dollars on free college for over 600,000 essential workers. The program, which is called “Futures for Frontliners,” will pay for the tuitions of essential workers in manufacturing, grocery stores, retail, nursing homes, and other fields.
“This initiative is Michigan’s way of expressing gratitude to essential workers for protecting public health and keeping our state running,” Whitmer said. “Whether it was stocking shelves, delivering supplies, picking up trash, manufacturing PPE or providing medical care, you were there for us. Now this is your chance to pursue the degree or training you’ve been dreaming about to help you and your own family succeed.”
Melvin Carter, the Democratic mayor of St. Paul, announced that he would implement a guaranteed income program for low-income families. He planes to use $300,000 of funds provided by the CARES Act to push this initiative.
Fox News pointed out that Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) pushed back against this decision in a letter, arguing that this move is not in compliance with the guidelines laid out by the federal government. “Without explicit federal approval, is the City prepared to take on costly litigation should the Trump administration challenge the legality of the pilot program?” she wrote.
Adam Michel, a tax and federal budget policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation told Fox News that misusing these funds could result in higher taxes for residents. “State and local bailouts create an incentive for state and local leaders to expand existing programs beyond sustainable levels, add new programs, and simultaneously underfund those programs in hopes of further federal support,” he said. “After the Great Recession, 28 states built their budgets around the expectation that Congress would renew expired funding.”
He continued, noting that “When the federal money runs out, states have historically increased taxes; each dollar of federal grant money sent to states results in 40 cents of state and local tax increases.”
It is expected that Congress will pass another COVID-19 relief package despite the fact that less than 25 percent of the funding provided by the initial legislation has been spent so far.
These two example are examples of how some progressive politicians will take advantage of federal funding to pursue their ideological agenda. Rather than using the money to lend support to residents who are suffering as a result of the pandemic, they would rather use it to increase the size of government. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Congress is taking this into consideration as it is poised to pass another federal aid bill.