It Depends

The Wall Street Journal‘s editors are stewing about the Wuhan Virus relief bill that just passed the Senate. To an extent, the WSJ is justified in its concern; $2 trillion isn’t chump change (the editorial was written before the Senate voted the bill up, so details at the link might differ from Senate-passed reality). Couple things about the paper’s concern, though.

The bill includes $250 billion for $1,200 payments to Americans whether or not they’re affected by the virus. The cash will do little or nothing to help an economy closed by government fiat.

All Americans have been, and remain, economically affected by the virus and the government-mandated shutdown of our economy; the $1,200 isn’t for medical treatment. The rub here is whether the money arrives in individuals’ pocketbooks soon enough to do them any good in the immediate exigency. The Senate version of the bill (the Progressive-Democrat House won’t take the bill until today, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) is making noises like she’s in no hurry, and she still has roadblocks to throw down) promises the money as soon as possible, but in any case, no later than 31 December.

Assuming the money arrives soon enough, the editors’ concern about helping the economy seems overstated. Whether the money does anything for “an economy closed by government fiat” depends on the duration of the fiat. President Donald Trump has set an aspirational goal of “open by Easter,” but realization or further delay will depend on the medical facts extant at the time—facts that, contrary to journalistic and Party rhetorical implications, are constantly updated and considered.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi managed to earmark $25 million for, er, virus relief for Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

That is pork, and it’s a harbinger of the roadblocks to come now that the bill is in Pelosi’s House. On the one hand, though, no less a light than Congressman Jerry Nadler (D, NY) has identified the center as symbolic of New York City and so, of course, a Critical Item. On another hand, those $25 million are 0.00125% of the total bill; if Pelosi and Nadler really will rent themselves so cheaply, it’s not a deal worth blowing up national relief for. Thursday night hookers might be, relatively, more expensive.


Journalists will need weeks to cull through the pages and figure out what it all really means.

So will honest Americans and our businessmen. [/snark]

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