As we pass the one-year mark since the COVID pandemic virtually shut down the nation, we now face another 2021 COVID Relief Bill. The actual amount targeting COVID relief is less than 9% of the $1.9 trillion package. The pie chart shows where this bill has allocated the taxpayers’ money. If we add it to all the bills passed in 2020, they total $5.3 trillion—keep in mind there is nearly $1 trillion from the 2020 Relief Bill left unspent. Critics are concerned that this will plunge our country into crippling debt. This new bill is referred to as “the most progressive bill in American history” by White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki.
Here is the latest, though not exhaustive, breakdown of the “American Relief Bill.”
1- $465B provides roughly $1,400 per adult and child with additional tax credits of $3,000 per child. Children six and under receive $3,600 per child. While welcomed by most recipients, the taxpayer’s money is what many economists fear becomes a financial disincentive for the people who need to return to work.
2- $361B provides aid to state and local governments. The bill does not clarify who decides what each state receives and how it should be spent, or whether it needs to be spent on COVID-related expenses. The Feds are promising states with the highest unemployment the most money, and thus states which opened early, resulting in low unemployment, will be penalized.
3- $350B to increase unemployment insurance and extend emergency unemployment insurance through September. This unemployment bill is said to include an additional $570M for 15 additional weeks of paid leave for federal employees. According to the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Management, the federal government is the largest employer in America (2.1 million employees). Government employees presently have more paid days off than any other American organization in existence except for the teacher’s unions.
4- $160B in funding for vaccines, national vaccinations, testing, and other COVID containment efforts.
5- $170B to fund schools and colleges whether they reopen or not. This money is in addition to the 2020 billions already allocated their way. Schools early on were deemed essential yet have been closed for a year here in California. Public school teachers continue to receive full pay while schools are closed. In California, our property taxes largely pay for schools, teachers, and teachers unions, from janitors to administrators.
6- $85.7B allocated to multi-employer union pension liabilities to bail out union pensions.
7- $4B to the Secretary of Agriculture for grants and loans, including one billion earmarked for socially disadvantaged minority farmers. This money also provides for outreach and training along with additional loans to pay up to120% of their debt. This bill purports farmers of all colors do not suffer equally from the shared losses due to COVID.
8- $50M for Justice rants used to identify and address disproportionate risks to minority populations and low-income groups, as well as $10M to maintain indigenous peoples’ native language.
9- $270M for the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities, and $200M for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
10- $1.96B for 1.4 million prisoners. Here’s the breakdown: $1,400 to every convicted criminal, no matter how heinous the crime.
11- $58B to transportation and transit systems. No information on who specifically gets this money.
Trivia Question: How much space does “Two Trillion Dollars” take up?
If we stacked two National League Football Fields edge to edge, end zone to end zone with one-dollar bills, you’d have to pile them 40 stories high. If we could, we’d still have enough money left over to spend on the entire COVID 2021 budget of $160 billion.
This information has been sourced from the following: WSJ, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Epoch Times, Fox, Meet the Press, DataLab, CRFB Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (including the COVID Tracking Tool), Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and various other news outlets.