It’s been a turbulent few days in the stock market but American workers and savers should be feeling much wealthier. A run of good news to close the week shows a rebounding economy and a federal government that might just spend a lot less than expected this year.
Americans upset about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to live by the virus rules she demands of others probably also weren’t going to like the $2.2 trillion haircut she was planning to impose on taxpayers in the name of coronavirus relief. But by refusing to budge on the amount of her latest spending proposal, the California Democrat has already missed one appointment for a taxpayer shearing. And it’s possible she won’t be able to reschedule.
Republicans have been wisely refusing to fund a Pelosi plan to bail out blue-state governments for problems unrelated to Covid. And now the most obvious bill to fund the Pelosi spending binge appears to be on its way to enactment without the budget blowout. CNBC reports:
The Trump administration and Congress have agreed to pass a bill to avoid a government shutdown without tying funding to separate measures such as coronavirus relief, Vice President Mike Pence said Friday.
Approving a continuing resolution, which would temporarily set federal spending at current levels, would not inject the heated politics of pandemic aid into efforts to keep the government running.
More good news is that the White House now seems to realize that a rebounding economy doesn’t need another emergency explosion of federal spending and borrowing.
Reuters reports that top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow is saying that while the administration continues to negotiate and would like to see some additional measures such as tax relief for workers, the U.S. can survive without yet another virus bill:
“Look, we can live with it. We can absolutely live with it,” Kudlow told Bloomberg TV when asked how comfortable he would be if the Republican White House and Democrats in Congress do not reach a deal by the end of the year…
“Do we absolutely need it? No. I’m not going to precondition anything here,” he said, pointing to a Friday report that showed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4% last month while the country added 1.37 million jobs. “Right now the economy is on a self-sustaining recovery path in my judgment and will continue along those lines, and will continue to surprise on the upside.”
The job market is showing remarkable improvement from the nearly 15% unemployment rate U.S. workers suffered during the worst of the spring shutdowns imposed by state and local governments. The Journal’s Sarah Chaney adds that the current rate is now “in line with past major recessions, though it is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels. The jobless rate stood at 3.5% in February, a half-century low, just ahead of the coronavirus crisis.”
“Our job is not done. The pandemic, the virus is not over,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters at the White House today. But he also noted positive signs of a recovering economy—expressed in graphs featuring sharp angles and lines now headed upward. Said Mr. Kudlow: “House and homebuilding, boom. Autos, boom. Factories and manufacturing, boom. Consumer spending, boom. Every one of them, V shapes. That means inventories need to be rebuilt….And that is going to add tremendous additional dimension to this recovery.”
Another important dimension is that the Trump deregulation project is not over. The Journal’s Katy Stech Ferek reports:
President Trump would press forward with efforts to ease regulatory burdens on business if re-elected for a second term, while working to ease bottlenecks that have delayed Superfund cleanup projects, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler said.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Wheeler said a second term for the Trump administration would allow his agency to implement additional measures such as including a cost-benefit analysis of any new regulations.
Many taxpayers are no doubt wondering why such analysis hasn’t always been done for all new rules at every agency. Still, it’s a worthy project if the president is re-elected.
Right now, the White House can save America a fortune by recognizing that the costs of the Pelosi taxpayer haircut far outweigh the benefits.
The salon rules in San Francisco for people not named Pelosi have been severe since March. But the sermon rules continue to be even less reasonable. Rusty Simmons and Steve Rubenstein report in the San Francisco Chronicle that the city now plans to allow indoor museums, zoos and aquariums to open by the middle of this month, but restrictions will remain on other activities:
Churches would be able to allow for services of up to 50 people outdoors in mid-September, when they could also allow for individuals to pray indoors, one at a time. By the end of the month, places of worship could reopen for indoor services at 25% capacity or with a maximum of 25 people.
The Chronicle reporters note that the city’s new rules were announced this week after the release of a letter from Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone:
“We have shown we can celebrate the Mass safely,” the archbishop wrote. “Ours and others’ faith is being treated as less important than a trip to the hardware store or a nice dinner out on the patio.”
A Part of Local Government That’s Working
Here’s hoping that Americans enjoy a relaxing and safe Labor Day weekend. Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger describes a recent day at the beach with his young daughter that featured more excitement than he anticipated:
A rip current started pulling us away from the shore. I can swim, but I had 80 pounds of precious cargo clinging to my neck.
I tried to pull my daughter to safety, swimming parallel to the shore with my right arm as I cradled her with my left, but we barely budged. That full minute of exertion — the pushing and paddling and thrashing and kicking — left me completely gassed… I was struggling to keep on a brave face for the impressionable kid who counted on me to keep her safe… Those awful few seconds when panic set in felt like they lasted an eternity.
That’s when I heard a voice, just a few feet to my left.
“Sir! Do you need help?”
Mr. Politi’s advice: “Thank your lifeguards.”
Mr. Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”
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Mr. Freeman is also the co-author of “Borrowed Time.”
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