WASHINGTON, March 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- There are grave dangers in utilizing the persistent conventional budgetary framing as the guiding framework for top policymakers, displayed by Speaker Pelosi's comments regarding her handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Speaker Pelosi defended her Coronavirus bill, saying "Large employers and corporations must step up to the plate and offer paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave to their workers." She explained this position saying: "I don't support U.S. taxpayer money subsidizing corporations to provide benefits to workers that they should already be providing."
Notably, Pelosi is assigning responsibility for ensuring paid sick, family, and medical leave to large corporations and employers by invoking the need to avoid spending "taxpayer money." Pelosi's bill stops short of mandating that employers make these payments themselves. If the Speaker is not prepared to pass such a mandate, then it is completely irresponsible and fraudulent to hide behind the "taxpayer money" excuse for failing to use public spending power to ensure such payments are disbursed. Because the federal government is a currency issuer, it is fundamentally incorrect to say that such payments would be paid for by taxpayers. Congress can and should pass a bill appropriating the necessary funds without any tax offsets. Concerns about the prudence of such spending should be focused on inflation risk, not imaginary costs to taxpayers or the potential for interest rate spikes, which are entirely subject to the control of the Fed.
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