As Congress pushes a $2 trillion stimulus package, the ‘how will you pay for it?’ question is tossed in the trash

As Congress pushes a $2 trillion stimulus package, the ‘how will you pay for it?’ question is tossed in the trash

Stephanie Kelton writes:

Throughout the Democratic presidential primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren offered a slew of robust proposals to reshape the American economy. Yet the Democratic presidential primary hardly engaged with questions of whether that restructuring was wise, who would benefit, and who would lose. Instead, the debate was dominated in no small part by a single question: “How will you pay for it?”

On Friday, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who regularly dismissed the ideas put forward by Sanders and Warren as unrealistic, waved away that question, preparing to rubber-stamp a $2 trillion Senate package aimed at staving off economic collapse amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The details of the legislation — particularly the $500 billion, strings-optional corporate slush fund — may be shameful, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who represents the hardest-hit neighborhood of Queens, deemed on the House floor Friday morning, but the moment is instructive. Last week, as it became clear that concerns about deficits and revenue had evaporated, Ocasio-Cortez joined Sanders for a virtual town hall to discuss the global pandemic and the unfolding economic crisis. She raised a number of important points, but one observation touched an especially strong nerve with me.

She was talking about the speed with which the House and Senate have been working to pass spending bills to get cash into the hands of desperate workers, struggling businesses, and major industries:

It’s a fascinating progressive moment because what it’s shown is that all of these issues have never been about ‘how are you going to pay for it?’ It’s never been about whether we have the capacity to do these things or if the logistics have worked out.

All of these excuses that we have been given as to why we cannot treat people humanely have suddenly gone up in smoke and what has been revealed is that all of these issues were really about a lack of political will and who you deemed worthy to be in an emergency or not.

She is outraged. And she should be. Congress has ignored millions of people who have existed in a state of crisis for decades. [Continue reading…]

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