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Thomas Gallatin / Mar. 31, 2020

CARES Act Massively Expands Government

The relief bill is the largest one-day expansion of government power in U.S. history.

As the dust settles following Congress’s hurried passage of the emergency relief package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, spending details of the 880-page, $2.2 trillion behemoth are now becoming known, and it’s not a pretty sight. While billions of dollars go for needed virus relief, roughly $600 billion goes into government coffers. It’s the biggest one-day expansion of government power ever, with the vast majority going to increase the welfare state.

It’s clear that Big Government proponents, especially the Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, followed Rahm Emanuel’s advice and didn’t let this crisis go to waste. What may be an even greater danger than government expansion is the precedent this crisis action has produced. Now, even more Americans will look first to the government to bail them out of a crisis, costing billions and saddling them with all the more Liberty-limiting regulations as the bureaucratic state grows exponentially.

As The Wall Street Journal astutely notes, “Republicans waved much of this through, viewing it as the Democratic price for urgently needed business liquidity. But they should understand the left has every intention of making these spending levels the new normal. Long after this virus has passed, long after the economy is recovering, Democrats will cry foul at any cut. Should they win the presidency or the Senate this fall, the chances of rolling any of this back fall even further.”

The bill’s most glaring and dangerous aspect is that it fails to distinguish between that which is expected to be a temporary expansion of government from that which is permanent — exactly as the Democrats wanted it. The Journal observes, “Democrats successfully exploited the crisis to expand the power of government overall — perhaps for the long term. That’s especially perverse, given it was government that imposed the restrictions that shut down the economy, necessitating this rescue bill in the first place.”

Will Americans one day come to regret the Orwellian-named CARES Act and see it as the cure that was worse than the disease?

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