Debt is debt and spending is spending. These are among the pesky eternal truths all too often ignored. Conservatives and libertarians like to parade the banner for responsible spending and lower debt primarily because as national debt rises without spending offsets, mathematics suggests one merciless day will bring reckoning on the American financial market.
Conservatives, for the most part, have been encouraged by Trump policy they perceive as representing a traditional American, conservative platform. Likewise, conservatives think of themselves as adhering to and living out the principles they embrace, therefore, if the Trump Administration suggests a massive federal “check-cutting” program to assist Americans who have been negatively impacted by actions to curb the coronavirus, to be consistent with their principles, conservatives should oppose.
When Democrat presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, campaigned on the idea of “universal basic income” whereby all Americans receive thousand dollars monthly from the federal government, conservatives required less than a nanosecond to identify such a proposal as a big-government-promote-dependency-and-expand-the-welfare-state-move yet supporting a similar, albeit temporary (presumably) policy by the Trump Administration would be utterly hypocritical. Being hypocritical is not the only problem with conservative support for the policy, additionally, it is unthoughtful, imprudent and lacking appropriate discrimination. Such a policy is unthoughtful because one pay out will not sustain an individual or a family for any meaningful period of the time and it will not result in economic stimulation as long as social mobility is curtailed. It is imprudent because an unsavory expectation is set that in crisis, the government will resort to bailouts for the American citizen (at his own expense or that of his posterity). It lacks appropriate discrimination in that even if an arbitrary recipient pool is set (for example no one making a million dollars or above receives a check), many in that arbitrarily selected pool are not actually in need of the funds. An indiscriminate check-cutting-party has no ability to direct funds where they are truly needed.
A much more disciplined, rational approach would be to fortify the existing
Unemployment Insurance Program which has already posted flexibility measures to accommodate the COVID-19 outbreak. Policy modifications and a federal grant to the program results in the federal government using an already established vehicle for assuring financial assistance while Americans temporarily in need self initiate the request. This measure does not address stress on small business but it does responsibly pair assistance government assistance with citizens in need.
Most of the time there are two tracks of resolution: prudent, rational and thoughtful or imprudent, emotional and unthoughtful. Politicians tend to select the expeditious, less prudent route paved with good intentions yet blindly ignorant to future consequences. Conservatives should remain firm in their convictions on sound fiscal policy, no matter who serves as President; should conservatives and libertarians flounder on these matters, well, there is no other line of defense.