On Wednesday evening, members of the United States Senate voted unanimously to approve a $2 trillion relief bill aimed at relieving the American public and the economy in light of the fallout from the Chinese coronavirus.
American taxpayers, however, are rightly up in arms over the waste in the bill, which totals up to $340 billion in new government spending for items seemingly unrelated to the virus.
Let’s take a look at some of the spending approved in the bill:
$300 million to the Social Security Administration
This money, however, would not be going directly to senior citizens. Instead, the funds are directed “to help SSA keep up with key workloads, make up for lost productivity, and otherwise improve the ability of the agency to serve the public.”
In other words, more money for bureaucratic overhead.
$1.018 billion to Amtrak
Lawmakers claim the government railroad funds are needed “for operating assistance to cover revenue losses related to coronavirus. In addition, funding is provided to help states pay for their share of the cost of state-supported routes.”
But Amtrak has never turned a profit since its creation in 1971, chronically relying on billions of dollars in government subsidies to keep the trains moving. In essence, the federal government is doubling up on the sunk cost fallacy.
$353 million to the United States Agency for International Development
That’s right. In a bill aimed at helping the American people, hundreds of millions of dollars have been allocated to assist other countries. $258 million is specifically marked for “international disaster assistance” in order to “continue to address humanitarian and health needs in coronavirus-affected areas abroad.”
$350 million for Refugee Resettlement
You thought that during times of crisis, the federal government would be putting Americans first? Think again. Slipped into the stimulus bill is $350 million designated for noncitizen refugees, migrants, and immigrants, while millions of Americans file for unemployment.
$150 million in National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities
Unbelievably, the bill approved by the Senate includes money for the arts, including “funding to state arts agencies and other partners in an effort to help local, state, and regional communities provide continued access to cultural organizations and institutions of learning.”
And speaking of the arts…
$25 million for the Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center, a performing arts center in Washington D.C., is slated to receive money for “deep cleaning, increased teleworking capabilities, and operating and administrative expenses to ensure the Center will resume normal operations immediately upon reopening.”
$75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
This is the organization that subsidies PBS and NPR stations across the country. The stimulus package includes funds “for stabilization grants to maintain programming services and to preserve small and rural public telecommunication stations.”
So, don’t worry. Big Bird and liberal radio talk shows will be taken care of.
These are just a few of the egregious earmarks contained within the coronavirus stimulus bill, which now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives. They are expected to pass the legislation on Friday.