Democrats see economic chaos as opportunity for more government spending, welfare programs
Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
- President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders have pushed for more government spending after a string of news that showed the economic recovery was slowing.
- “[The American Rescue Plan] got us back to where we were. But that’s not nearly enough,” Biden said during remarks responding to the dismal April jobs report Friday. “We have to build back better.”
- Several cabinet officials participated in a video posted by the White House Friday in which they said the jobs report proved the country was headed in “the right direction,” but that additional spending was required to ensure a full recovery.
- Following the jobs report, Democrats have argued in favor of Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure and families plans while also pushing for programs that cancel student loan debt and provide three meals per day to school children.
President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders have pushed for more government spending after a string of news that showed the economic recovery was slowing.
Democrats have pushed trillions of dollars worth of new government programs as jobs growth has slowed, consumer prices rise and a large labor shortage continues to hit much of the country. In March, Biden signed the partisan $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and has since proposed a $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan and a $1.8 trillion families plan.
“[The American Rescue Plan] got us back to where we were. But that’s not nearly enough,” Biden said during remarks responding to the dismal April jobs report Friday. “We have to build back better.”
“That’s why we need the American Jobs Plan I proposed: to put us in a position where we can build back better, to reclaim our position as the leading and most innovative nation in the world, and win the future — the 21st century,” he said.
The U.S. economy added just 266,000 jobs last month after economists predicted it would add a million. The Chamber of Commerce and small business advocacy groups blamed the meager report on continued weekly $300 unemployment benefit bonus payments included in the American Rescue Plan.
Republican-majority states, including Alabama, Montana and South Carolina, promised to soon withdraw from the federal unemployment program, which they argued incentivized people not to look for jobs. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said the $300 weekly benefit was “contributing to a labor shortage.”
Job vacancies hit a record 8.1 million at the end of March, according to a Labor Department report released Tuesday.
Several cabinet officials including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh participated in a video posted by the White House Friday in which they said the jobs report proved the country was headed in “the right direction,” but that additional spending was required to ensure a full recovery.
“The disappointing April jobs report highlights the urgent need to pass President Biden’s American Jobs and Families Plans,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Friday. “We need to take bold action to Build Back Better from this crisis by investing in our nation, our workers and our families.”
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also urged Congress to pass the president’s initiatives after the jobs report was released Friday. He called the trillion-dollar plans “big, bold plans to create more good-paying jobs, invest in infrastructure, help lift families out of poverty, and drive America forward for decades to come.”
On Monday, Schumer proposed canceling $50,000 worth of student debt for all Americans. In addition, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as Reps. Ilhan Omar and Gwen Moore introduced legislation Friday that would provide free breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to all school children.
“What we’ve seen during this pandemic is that a universal approach to school meals works,” Sanders said in a statement. “We cannot go backwards. I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside my colleagues to ensure no student goes hungry again.”
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the government should go even farther than the trillion-dollar proposals laid out by the White House in an interview with CNN Monday.
“What it’s going to take to repair the roads and bridges in America, what it’s going to take to make sure that not just part of America has access to broadband, but all of America has access to broadband, and what it’s going to take to make sure that we have universal child care that is affordable, available and high quality all across this nation,” Warren said. “We’ve got to make sure that we put enough resources in to make that happen.”
“I think the president’s budget, quite frankly, doesn’t go quite far enough,” she said.
Meanwhile, the price of several commodities has risen rapidly as the inflation rate has increased. Lumber, gasoline, steel, copper, computer chips, homes and home appliances have all increased in price.
Some economists have pointed to increased government spending as the reason for rising consumer prices.
“The 100% cause of inflation is the government,” Peter Schiff, the chief economist and global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview last week. “It’s when the government spends money that it doesn’t collect in taxes and then the Federal Reserve monetizes the resulting deficits by printing money.”