Why Congress’s Trillion-Dollar Coronavirus Bailouts Will Shackle The U.S. Economy

1in_god_we_trustHot on the heels of passing an $8.5 billion coronavirus emergency funding bill, the White House and congressional lawmakers have proposed yet more pork-laden coronavirus “rescue” packages with a running price tag of over $1.3 trillion.

The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA) was passed with overwhelming support in the House of Representatives on Saturday. The Senate will likely vote to approve the legislation this afternoon.

With the help of Trump administration officials, House Democrats drafted and passed the FFCRA so quickly that the Congressional Budget Office was unable to estimate its total cost, meaning that taxpayers could be on the hook financially for an indeterminate amount.

Amazingly, the FFCRA will not be the last word of the federal government on the coronavirus crisis. News broke earlier this week that the Trump administration is requesting a $1 trillion stimulus and bailout package—significantly larger than the $831 billion stimulus package passed in 2009 under the Obama administration that provoked cries of “socialism!” from conservatives everywhere.

 

Where is the Money Going?

The emergency measures include a grab bag of long sought progressive policy priorities.

Perhaps worst of all are the two new federal paid leave mandates, lasting until the end of the year, for companies with fewer than 500 employees. The first requires up to two weeks of paid sick leave. The second provides employees with three months of paid family and medical leave if their children’s school or daycare closes or if a family member is quarantined.

Seeing that school closures around the country are becoming increasingly common, it is not inconceivable that nearly all parents fitting the requirements might take advantage of these two new entitlement programs, both of which will be profoundly costly to businesses and the federal budget.

Businesses will be compensated for these expensive benefit mandates with money from the US Treasury through a complex scheme of tax refunds administered by the IRS.

Yet there remain concerns that some cash-poor businesses cannot remain solvent long enough to survive until they receive their tax credits. Additionally, the government reimbursement for these programs fails to consider all the monetary and nonmonetary costs for businesses when employees do not show up for work.

Another component of the legislation is sure to irritate welfare state reformers: the FFCRA obliterates the Trump administration’s bid to restrict food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults without children. The long-planned reform, which had been slated to go into effect in April, would have strengthened the work and training requirement for some single adults collecting food stamps.

The FFCRA also expands unemployment insurance and federal Medicaid funding, and provides over $1 billion in additional funding for nutrition programs.

Although the details of the mammoth $1 trillion stimulus package are still in flux, a Treasury Department memo suggests the newly proposed coronavirus stimulus package would give a $50 billion bailout to the airline industry. The package also includes an additional $150 billion in loan guarantees to other affected industries and a payroll tax cut sure to expedite the coming insolvency of social security.

And during a Tuesday press conference, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced their intention to distribute “big” direct cash payments to Americans, perhaps in denominations of $1,000 or more per person. The measure is estimated cost taxpayers $500 billion.

 

Bad Economic News

Here are five reasons why the “Family First Coronavirus Response Act” and other coming bailout and stimulus packages are economic ‘bad news’ for Americans:

1. Bad Precedent

Due to our human nature, we make quick studies in dependency when “free” things offered to us.

These new entitlements and bailouts, albeit temporary, may prove to be the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent.

Once the bad precedent is established, it is all too likely that the electorate will have a harder time resisting demands from leftist political candidates for greater government control of the economy. These “temporary” programs make permanent national sick leave and paid family leave more likely in the future.

2. National Debt

The debt owed by the federal government currently sits at $23.5 trillion. This means every American citizen born in 2020 enters the world owing $73,500 to our nation’s creditors.

Emergency spending for the coronavirus only adds to the unconscionable level of debt we already owe. The money this nation borrows will need to be repaid through inflation or higher taxes sometime in the future.

 3. Inflation

If taxes are not immediately raised to cover the emergency spending, the Federal Reserve will need to print new dollars—create money out of thin air—to finance these new programs.

This inflation in the money supply predictably leads to price inflation. One of the most basic economic principles is that a greater quantity of dollars chasing the same number of goods eventually results in rising prices.

4. Higher Taxes

Increased government spending and national debt will necessitate higher taxes for all Americans and businesses, whether sooner or later.

Lest we forget, every dollar taken from us in taxes is a dollar we cannot spend on the things we need and want. We will have to foot the bill for all this extra spending—and that comes at the price of future economic growth and a lower standard of living for everyday Americans.

5. Reduced Future Economic Growth

All these inflationary effects and higher taxes will inevitably hinder the growth of the economy in the future.

Higher taxes make it more difficult for businesses to save and reinvest their profits in expanding their operations, boosting employee pay and benefits, or engaging in research and development.

Similarly, higher taxes for individuals disincentivizes productivity and results in less household saving and investment. This means there will be less capital available for businesses to expand operations and boost productivity.

Rising productivity and profits, greater saving and investment, and more funding for research and development are all needed for robust economic growth. Economic recoveries tend to be lackluster without the necessary combination of these fundamentals.

Let us look back in economic history for a case study. During the economic troubles following the stock market crash of 1929, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” relief and recovery policies created greater government interventions into the economy, ultimately with the result of reducing profits and raising taxes on businesses.

These New Deal policies exacerbated and prolonged the downturn, turning it into a “great” depression that lasted fifteen years.

In fact, a study by UCLA economics professors calculated that the interventionist policies of the New Deal elongated the Great Depression by seven years, delaying the natural market corrections and recovery that would have occurred otherwise.

Like the New Deal, every additional billion dollars in stimulus and bailout spending will further delay the economic recovery we all want and need. Ironically, these government interventions always end up aggravating the recessions and depressions they are intended to alleviate, causing even greater economic complications in the long run.

 

How All This Affects President Trump’s Reelection Chances

In summary, the newly proposed bailout and stimulus packages smack of big government welfarism and crony capitalism. These are the sort of policies that will move the needle toward socialism, impoverishing us and stripping the productive engines of our economy.

If President Trump wants to win reelection on his economic record, he had better drop his support of this legislation, which is sure to cause lasting economic problems.

Likewise, if the president’s supporters in the Senate want a quick and sustainable economic recovery post-coronavirus, they had better gather their senses and stand firm against bailouts and stimulus packages like this economically disastrous legislation. Our financial wellbeing and the future of our liberties depend upon it.


This article was originally published by The Federalist.


 

Tabitha’s Story and “Simon’s Law” in Idaho

Tabitha 16 months
Tabitha Grace

I have good news for you: Simon’s Law (now House Bill 578) was passed by the Idaho House of Representatives last week with a 63 to 5 vote.

Idaho law currently allows doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, including nutrition and hydration, from a minor child without notifying or obtaining consent from parents.

Simon’s Law would close this loophole, ensuring that parents’ rights are protected during these critical times. No parent should have to worry that decisions about their child’s healthcare could be taken out of their hands.

Through working on this legislation, I have gotten to know Sandi Enzminger of Eagle, Idaho. She has showed up to every committee hearing, bringing her delightful family in tow. Her youngest daughter, Tabitha Grace, is always the star of the show—and for good reason.

Little Tabitha was born October 28, 2018. Shortly thereafter, her parents received a postnatal Trisomy 18 diagnosis.

Tabitha in Senate Gallery
Tabitha and her brother sitting in the House Gallery watching debate on Simon’s Law

They were stunned to hear the doctor explain that Tabitha, despite being stable, wouldn’t live a month. The potential benefits of the heart surgery she needed weren’t worth the risks, the doctor said. Adam and Sandi were told to take Tabitha home on comfort care and allow the disability and its associated health difficulties take their course.

Thankfully, Adam and Sandi fought for their daughter. They were able to take her to a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, for heart surgery she couldn’t live without. Now Tabitha is a healthy and developing sixteen-month-old.

Here is what Sandi says about the importance of Simon’s Law to her family:

Shortly after Tabitha was born, we were informed that she likely had Trisomy 18. We understood then that her disabilities would be so severe that it was advisable to “let her die” of “natural” causes. Then, when we pursued heart repair surgery, we were told it was futile and would have little to no effect on the length or quality of her life.

Today, her heart and lungs are functioning normally without assistance. Her hearing is enhanced by hearing-aids, and she has the energy to progress in developmental milestones.

Although this journey has not been easy, time with Tabitha has been worth it. We strongly support Simon’s Law because we felt coerced into making life-ending decisions. We believe that it is only a matter of time before medical discrimination leads to secret “DNRs” for minor children here in Idaho.

When I asked Sandi why she fought so hard for her daughter, she responded, “We value life, and we trusted God to be bigger than any diagnosis.” Needless to say, it has been a blessing to have Sandi, Tabitha, and their family join us for committee hearings in support of Simon’s Law.

Parents should hold the ultimate medical decision-making authority for their children. Before a doctor begins withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, parents should be notified and given the opportunity to transfer their child to another medical provider, just like Sandi Enzminger was able to do for Tabitha.


This post was originally written for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho.


 

“Simon’s Law” in Idaho Will Protect Children and Parents’ Rights

SimonsLawSimon Dominic Crosier was born almost ten years ago. Although he lived only a short three months, his story is inspiring lawmakers around the country to pass legislation protecting the rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children—and Idaho may be the next state to pass one of these “Simon’s Laws” named in his honor.

It wasn’t long after Simon’s birth and postnatal Trisomy 18 diagnosis that his parents, Scott and Sheryl Crosier, began noticing that their son wasn’t receiving the same medical care as other children without the chromosomal disorder were getting. Simon had been born with a heart defect (which is common among Trisomy 18 children) and would need constant care from his hospital medical team until he became strong enough to undergo heart surgery.

Like most newborns, Simon loved snuggling into his parents’ chests. He would get especially excited when his older brothers came to visit him in the hospital or when music was played for him.

Yet when the dreaded day came that his oxygen levels began dropping, Scott and Sheryl were surprised the doctors and nurses didn’t do more to save their child. It was only after his death that it became clear the doctors had placed a do not resuscitate order in his file and had been withholding nutrition from him, all without notifying his parents.

After hearing Simon’s story, Rep. John Vander Woude (R-Nampa) introduced House Bill 519, legislation meant to make sure what happened to the Crosier family will never happen to a family in the Gem State.

The Idaho Simon’s Law would protect parental rights during critical times when parents need to be focused on their child—not worrying about whether their child’s healthcare could be taken out of their hands. This would be accomplished through:

  • Requiring parental notification before a doctor implements do not resuscitate orders or withholds life-sustaining treatment, nutrition, or hydration;
  • Granting parents a 48-hour period to decide whether they want to transfer care for their child to another facility or provider;
  • Allowing the family 15 days to make that transfer, during which time the “DNR” order cannot be placed in the child’s file and other treatment cannot be withdrawn.

We believe that children are intimately known and lovingly protected by their parents. It is well-established in Idaho law that parents have the fundamental right to direct the care, upbringing, and education of their children—and Simon’s Law would build on that foundation.


This post was originally written for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho.


 

“Freedom of Worship” Isn’t True Religious Freedom

I recently attended the Interfaith & LGBT Summit on Religious Liberty and Public Accommodations. Although the event was hosted by private law and advocacy groups including the Idaho State Bar, it was held at the state capitol building.

During one of the event sessions, a liberal panelist kept referencing our supposed “freedom of worship.” She argued that while every person has the right to believe whatever they want and teach those doctrines in church, they do not have the right to act on those beliefs in the public square.

The term “freedom of worship” was popularized by the Obama administration. Although “freedom of worship” and “religious freedom” sound similar, they are not interchangeable. And much too often, those trumpeting the former are trying to undermine the latter.

Genuine religious freedom includes the right to practice your faith without undue government interference. In other words, you have the right to live and work according to your sincerely held religious beliefs.

This right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) and in Article 1, Section 4 of the Idaho State Constitution (“The exercise and enjoyment of religious faith and worship shall forever be guaranteed”).

Freedom of worship, on the other hand, is a far more limited protection. It merely protects an individual’s right to worship within the four walls of the church as he or she sees fit. This truncated view permits you to believe what you want, so long as it doesn’t motivate your actions or rollover into your everyday life from Monday to Saturday.

Thankfully, recent survey data provide promising evidence that the American people still remain squarely on the side of religious liberty. The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty recently published their findings that 73 percent of Americans support the right of businessmen to operate their businesses according to their religious beliefs. Additionally, 76 percent believe people or groups should not be forced to participate in actions or work that violates their religious beliefs and conscience.

Sadly, the opponents of religious freedom aren’t dissuaded by the broad support for this inalienable right among the American people. Nearly all the proposals offered at the Interfaith & LGBT Summit on Religious Liberty and Public Accommodations­ infringe religious freedom. Whether it’s “Add the Words” in Idaho or “Fairness for All” in the U.S. Congress, these pieces of legislation (which Family Policy Alliance of Idaho® opposes) endanger our constitutionally protected right to live, work, and raise our families according to the dictates of our faith.

That’s why the work done by Family Policy Alliance of Idaho is so important. We are working to build a state and a nation where religious freedom thrives. Will you join us?


This post was originally written for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho.


 

Protecting Parental Rights in Medical Decision-making

SimonAndDad
Simon and his daddy, Scott

Nearly ten years ago, a little boy named Simon Dominic Crosier was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He had two adoring older brothers and overjoyed parents, but despite the love and care of his family, his immediate future was uncertain. Within three days of birth, a genetic test confirmed what Simon’s parents, Scott and Sheryl, had been fearing throughout their pregnancy. Simon was diagnosed with full Trisomy 18, also called Edwards Syndrome.

Although Trisomy 18 is often described within the medical community as “incompatible with life,” nearly 10 percent of children born with the chromosomal abnormality live longer than 12 months. Some live years, like former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Rick Santorum’s daughter, Bella, who turns 12 this year. Some even make it to their twenties and thirties, and although they experience significant developmental delays, they live meaningful lives full of love and joy.

Simon soon began interacting with his family and his environment. He eventually graduated from taking breastmilk through a syringe to feeding from a bottle and even occasionally breastfeeding from his mom. And one thing obvious to everyone was that Simon loved the skin-on-skin time he would get with his parents while resting on their bare chests in his hospital room.

Like many babies diagnosed with Trisomy 18, Simon was born with serious heart defects. His parents decided to postpone heart surgery until after Simon gained enough strength to survive the procedure and recovery. But his heart soon started failing.

As Simon’s health declined, his parents grew increasingly concerned that he wasn’t receiving the same care as any other baby without Trisomy 18 might receive. “Each day we learned painfully that major medical interventions are routinely withheld from children like Simon,” Sheryl later reflected. “How would the statistics change if these children were treated aggressively?”

Simon breathed his last breath in his daddy’s arms just a few days shy of his three-month birthday. As the life of this little boy ended, his parents were shocked that the medical team didn’t seem to comprehensively monitor and care for Simon.

But Scott and Sheryl weren’t prepared for what they would find in the days after their child’s death. Unbeknownst to his family, Simon’s medical staff had placed a “Do Not Resuscitate” order (DNR) in his medical file.

His parents were outraged. “Care was withheld and a DNR order was placed in our son’s chart, without our knowledge or consent as Simon’s parents,” Sheryl recalled afterwards. “Ultimately, our wishes were ignored and most likely, Simon’s death was expedited.”

In the years since her son’s passing, Sheryl wrote a book, I Am Not a Syndrome: My Name is Simon, to share Simon’s story in hopes of raising awareness about the immeasurable value of children with Trisomy 18 and the unique challenges they face. She’s also waded into the policy world, turning her heartbreaking experience into advocacy for legislation known as “Simon’s Law.”

Simon’s Law requires doctors to obtain parental consent before withdrawing life-sustaining treatment or placing a “Do Not Resuscitate” order in a child’s medical record. It therefore ensures that parents’ rights are protected during critical times when they need to be focused on their child—not worrying about whether their child’s healthcare could be taken out of their hands.

Kansas, South Dakota, Arizona, and Missouri have all enacted Simon’s Laws in recent years. More progress will likely be made this year, as legislators in Idaho, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan have already or will soon introduce Simon’s Law legislation.

Family Policy Alliance® is committed to the principle that children are intimately known and lovingly protected by their parents. That’s why parents must have ultimate decision-making authority over their child’s medical care.

For this reason, Family Policy Alliance worked with allies to pass Simon’s Law in Kansas, and we are now leading the charge for Simon’s Law in Idaho. But our support for parental rights in medical decision-making goes beyond supporting state-level Simon’s Laws. On the federal level, Family Policy Alliance had the opportunity to provide support to U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) last year while he crafted the Parental Accessibility Rights for Emergency and Negligent Treatment (PARENT) Act.

Introduced in December, the PARENT Act (S. 3138) would require hospitals receiving federal funds to inform parents of their end-of-life policies regarding minors upon request. If enacted, the law would help prevent parents like the Crosiers from being blindsided by hospitals removing life-sustaining treatment from their child without parental notice or consent.

Children are a gift from God to parents, and He has given parents the right and the duty to make medical decisions for their children, especially in times of crisis. Simon’s Law and the PARENT Act safeguard this important right, and both represent an important step toward a nation where God is honored and life is cherished.

Since it is vital that parents aren’t shut out of life-and-death medical decisions when it comes to their children, we are asking you to do two things:

  1. Use our Action Center to ask your two U.S. senators to cosponsor and support the PARENT Act (S. 3138) and other federal legislation protecting the rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children. We’ve made it easy for you—and it only takes a minute.
  2. Pray for the passage of Simon’s Laws in Idaho, Georgia, and many other states considering the legislation this year. God hears our prayers!

This post was originally written for Family Policy Alliance.


 

The Sex Ed Battle in Battle Ground, WA

Battle-Goud-WA-Parents-Fight-backThere is no question that comprehensive sexual education in public schools has become increasingly more graphic and political in recent years. Thankfully, parents have had enough, and they are getting involved and working together to defend their children.

One such example is Battle Ground, Washington, a suburb of the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area. Just as the 2016 school year was nearing its end, Washington State education officials released what was considered then to be the most radical comprehensive sex ed standards in the nation.

Parents were outraged, and understandably so. The new “sexual health education outcomes” ensured that kindergartners would learn about crossdressing as a form of gender expression. By third grade, students would be taught that they could choose their own gender. Fourth graders would be expected to explain the differences between heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual orientations.

Not only were the topics age-inappropriate, but the whole process seemed designed to exclude parents from the conversation surrounding sex and how it would be taught to their children in schools. Astonishingly, state education officials had drafted, approved, and implemented the state standards in secret without informing parents or any public comment period.

This was a step too far for many parents, even in relatively liberal Washington State. It became a cause célèbre of the local news cycle, even making national news for a time, causing a highly contentious showdown between parents, school districts, and state education officials.

Thousands of parents offered their disapproval by means of signing petitions and contacting the state department that oversees public education. Parents turned out en masse to school board meetings, only to be told that school districts believed they were legally responsible for implementing the state education standards.

Unfortunately, it soon became clear that the education bureaucracy had no intention of rescinding the standards. Many parents reluctantly resigned themselves to the latest diktat and moved on.

Not so in Battle Ground, Washington, where concerned community members and churches rallied to protect their children from the indoctrination being mandated from above. After learning that Washington law allows schools to avoid teaching the new standards if schools decide to no longer teach comprehensive sex ed altogether, parents began putting pressure on the school district to drop its comprehensive sex ed requirement.

Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW), a state ally of Family Policy Alliance®, worked with parents to develop the winning strategy. The school board ended up voting 3-2 to stop teaching comprehensive sex ed.

“Family Policy Institute of Washington has been privileged to be involved with the parents of Battle Ground for two years as they have stood firm for parental rights and not sexualizing children,” said Chris Platte, the policy director for FPIW.

The developments in Battle Ground, Washington, should give hope to other parents involved in related disputes in other parts of the country. This includes Austin, Texas, where distraught parents have found themselves in a similar battle.

Earlier this month, the Austin Independent School District (AISD)—the same school district that recently hosted a drag queen for “Pride Week Story Time” in one of its elementary schools—adopted a radical comprehensive sex ed curriculum, containing elements designed by  Canadian abortion providers.

According to Texas Values, a state ally of Family Policy Alliance, the curriculum includes lessons teaching students how to engage in anal sex ‘comfortably’ and how to procure birth control, abortions, and other ‘healthcare’ without the knowledge of their parents.

Like in Washington, AISD officials shut parents out of the process and ignored their concerns once the new curriculum came to light.  But hundreds of parents have shown up to AISD meetings and over 8,000 people have signed a Texas Values petition against the curriculum.

What does all this tell us? We need to be on notice that radical education bureaucrats want to socially engineer cultural perceptions of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Many in the educational establishment don’t think parents should be trusted to make decisions about when and how to introduce these tremendously sensitive and intimately personal topics to children. Instead, schools keep pushing the envelope, undermining the role of parents and introducing sexual topics at earlier and earlier ages.

But we should also take heart. As the events in Battle Ground, Washington, show us, when parents get involved to defend the values they hold dear, real change can happen.

It’s worth it, after all. Our children are worth fighting for. And Family Policy Alliance, along with our network for over 40 state-based allies, will be standing with you side-by-side.



This article was originally written for Family Policy Alliance.


 

A Gay Hymnal and a Message of Hope

CrossThere’s no question that the usage of hymns in worship, though employed and beloved by the faithful for centuries, has been in sharp decline for decades. The Hymn Society wants that to change—so they are offering a new hymnal with a twist.

The new hymnal, Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community, promises “queer hymns—hymns by, for, or about the LGBTQIA2S+ community.”

The collection includes nearly fifty hymns with titles like “The Kingdom of God is the Queerest of Nations,” “Quirky, Queer and Wonderful,” and “God of Queer, Transgressive Spaces.” The Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Church of Canada have both publicized the hymnal.

The hymns offer worshippers a dangerous theology that flies in the face of Scriptural truths about God, sin, gender, and sexual ethics.

One hymn gives “thanks to God for grave disorder,” in direct contradiction to the divinely revealed truth that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). In a ploy to defend gender-bending as godly, another hymn refers to God as “our Father, Mother, Parent,” despite God’s revealed insistence that we call Him “Father.”

Many of the hymns—including “God Calls You Good” and “A Hymn for Self-Acceptance”—promote the heretical belief that God’s love for us means we don’t need to repent and turn from our sins. Instead of being redeemed and transformed by God’s grace, we just need to “accept” ourselves and celebrate those harmful desires and activities which God calls sinful.

What a stark contrast with the hope proclaimed at the Changed Movement event that took place in Washington, DC, last week, when 18 individuals who formerly identified as LGBT met with legislators to share their testimonies of how God transformed their lives by His grace.

Many states have banned counseling that helps individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. A bill that would ban these therapies nationwide is now being considered in the US House of Representatives. Efforts to ban so-called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy in Idaho have failed so far.

Without access to the help and tools counseling provides, the “formers,” as they call themselves, don’t think they would have found liberation from their destructive lifestyles.

These brave men and women are walking monuments to the transforming power of God. “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral… nor men who practice homosexuality… will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Instead of condoning our sin, God promises to regenerate us. He sanctifies us in His Truth and calls us into righteousness.

That is good news for all of us. In Christ Jesus, there is hope, redemption, and deliverance. And that is a message and power worth singing hymns about.


This article was written for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho.