QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: Do They Think the White House Is a Bank?

Tell me how the pandemic justified a $5 million disbursement to Boston’s Edward M. Kennedy Institute. What public health emergency necessitated renovating Colorado Springs’ golf course irrigation systems? Did Seattle need to devote over $28 million to downtown apartments for the city’s homeless population, or was that one of the city’s esoteric “priorities?” Has anyone strapped on green eyeshades and audited L.A. County’s $5 million “creative works” jobs program for the city’s moribund “artists?”

Beyond the fact that cash is fungible (another elementary concept we apparently need to review), these are not the unintended consequences of the Covid relief bill. The various relief bills were designed to be oversized, subject to minimal oversight, and nimble enough to plug unanticipated holes wherever they appeared. The lack of interest from the press in the abject waste this program produced would be conspicuous enough. That we’re seeing fiscal prudence now, and only when it may damage a top-tier Republican political prospect, is beyond suspect.

The White House’s allies in media may just be echoing a form of ignorance the White House itself has deployed. President Biden’s political operation seems to have genuinely convinced itself that it could rebut criticism of his lawless transition of private student loan debt onto taxpayers’ shoulders by noting that some of them had taken advantage of Covid relief funding themselves. Some Republicans, they noted, received forgivable Paycheck Protection Program Act loans even as they criticize the president for stealing unappropriated funds from the Treasury to pad the pockets of a favored Democratic constituency. Gotcha!

And somehow, “unexpectedly,” as a result of all of that spending: National debt tops $31 trillion, up from $27.7 trillion when Biden took office.