Jacob Sullum from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:06:29 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Jacob Sullum from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/jacob-sullum-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum a453df91da6b51fb983f9d4cbd96464f How Drug Warriors Made the 'Opioid Epidemic' Deadlier: Restricting Access to Pain Medication Drove Nonmedical Users Toward Black-Market Substitutes for 07/28/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/21/how-drug-warriors-made-the-opioid-epidemic-deadlier-restricting-access-to-pain-medication-drove-nonmedical-users-toward-black-market-substitutes Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>According to the lawsuits that four drug companies agreed to settle last week, the "opioid epidemic" was caused by overprescription of pain medication, which suggests that curtailing the supply of analgesics such as hydrocodone and oxycodone is the key to reducing opioid-related deaths. But that assumption has proven disastrously wrong and revealed how prohibition makes drug use deadlier.</p> <p>Per capita opioid prescriptions in the United States, which began rising in 2006, fell steadily after 2012, reflecting the impact of government efforts to restrict and discourage medical use of these drugs. Yet in 2019, when the dispensing rate was lower than it had been since 2005, the U.S. saw more opioid-related deaths than ever before.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 28, 2021</p> 16d8898d95934ae7fd0c826c7ce99602 Biden Is Trying to Impose Online Censorship by Proxy: The Administration's Public Pressure Campaign Against COVID-19 'Misinformation' Cannot Be Reconciled With Its Avowed Respect for Freedom of Expression for 07/21/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/21/biden-is-trying-to-impose-online-censorship-by-proxy-the-administrations-public-pressure-campaign-against-covid-19-misinformation-cannot-be-reconciled-with-its-avowed-respect-for-freedom-of-expression Wed, 21 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>President Joe Biden wants to suppress speech that discourages Americans from being vaccinated against COVID-19. Because the First Amendment does not allow him to do that, he is asking Facebook and other social media companies to do it for him.</p> <p>Or at least that's the way White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who calls the Biden administration's demands for speech restrictions "our asks," describes the situation. <span class="column--highlighted-text">But given the federal government's power to make life difficult for Facebook et al., the line between a request and a command is hazy and so is the line between private content moderation and government censorship.</span><p>Updated: Wed Jul 21, 2021</p> fb99b5dfa1fd8c4d4e35df2f759222da This Woman Faces $165,000 in Fines for Three Trivial Code Violations: Sandy Martinez Is Challenging the Exorbitant Penalty for Driveway Cracks, a Storm-Damaged Fence and Cars Parked in an 'Unapproved' Manner on Her Own Property for 07/14/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/21/this-woman-faces-165000-in-fines-for-three-trivial-code-violations-sandy-martinez-is-challenging-the-exorbitant-penalty-for-driveway-cracks-a-storm-damaged-fence-and-cars-parked-in-an-unapproved-manner-on-her-own-property Wed, 14 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The town of Lantana, Florida, is demanding that Sandy Martinez pay $165,000 in fines, which is nearly four times her annual income, and more than half what her house is worth. The municipal code violations that led to those fines are decidedly less impressive: driveway cracks, a storm-damaged fence and cars parked on her own property in an "unapproved" manner.</p> <p>Martinez argued that Lantana's absurdly disproportionate response to her trivial infractions violates the state constitution's ban on "excessive fines." The Institute for Justice, which represents Martinez, said the case epitomizes "taxation by citation," the perverse practice of using code enforcement to raise revenue rather than protect public safety.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 14, 2021</p> 188f583a06e4dd436355a423ee6332fb An Unbeatable Sprinter Is Defeated by an Irrational Prejudice: Sha'Carri Richardson's Suspension for Marijuana Use Highlights an Arbitrary Distinction That Makes Less Sense Than Ever Before for 07/07/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/21/an-unbeatable-sprinter-is-defeated-by-an-irrational-prejudice-shacarri-richardsons-suspension-for-marijuana-use-highlights-an-arbitrary-distinction-that-makes-less-sense-than-ever-before Wed, 07 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>President Joe Biden's take on American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson's one-month suspension for marijuana use was similar to hers and correct as far as it went. "Rules are rules," he said on Saturday, and "everybody knows what the rules are going in."</p> <p>Biden added that "whether that should remain the rule is a different issue." But as the collapse of pot prohibition continues apace in the United States, that issue is unavoidable.<span class="column--highlighted-text"> Now that 44% of Americans live in states that treat marijuana like alcohol, the lingering distinction between these two intoxicants makes less sense than ever before.</span><p>Updated: Wed Jul 07, 2021</p> 918d636303102ec2dbf74e358674fdfb Did Congress Give the CDC More Authority Than the President? The Agency's Legal Defense of Its Eviction Moratorium Implies It Has Vast Powers to Order Americans Around for 06/30/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/21/did-congress-give-the-cdc-more-authority-than-the-president-the-agencys-legal-defense-of-its-eviction-moratorium-implies-it-has-vast-powers-to-order-americans-around Wed, 30 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have argued about the merits of guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have been described as both too strict and too lax, too rigid and too changeable. Imagine how bitter an already rancorous debate would have been if the CDC had the power to command, as well as recommend, the best methods for reducing virus transmission.</p> <p>Except according to the CDC, it does have that power. The agency's legal defense of its nationwide eviction moratorium, which it recently extended for another month, implies that the CDC has boundless authority to control how Americans behave and interact with each other, as long as it thinks the edicts are "reasonably necessary" to prevent the interstate spread of "any" communicable disease.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 30, 2021</p> 98c5785ac9c3c4b2daa5acb81d15abf5 The Feds Can't Compel States to Enforce Restrictions on Guns or Immigrants: The Anti-Commandeering Principle Serves Causes Favored by Both the Right and the Left for 06/23/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/21/the-feds-cant-compel-states-to-enforce-restrictions-on-guns-or-immigrants-the-anti-commandeering-principle-serves-causes-favored-by-both-the-right-and-the-left Wed, 23 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When state and local officials decline to help enforce federal firearm rules they view as unconstitutional, The New York Times says they are adopting "a legally shaky but politically potent strategy" with racist roots. But when state and local officials decline to help enforce federal immigration rules they view as "unjust, self-defeating and harmful to public safety," the Times says, they should be proud of choosing "not to participate in deportation crackdowns."</p> <p>That blatant double standard illustrates how policy preferences and partisan allegiances color people's views of federalism, which they tend to endorse when it serves their purposes and reject when it doesn't. But as Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt recently observed while defending their state's Second Amendment Preservation Act, "you cannot have it both ways."<p>Updated: Wed Jun 23, 2021</p> 61e4ec619a6627a61cc8062a95149763 Legislators Demand a Voice in Public Health Restrictions: The COVID-19 Pandemic Showed the Dangers of Letting Governors Unilaterally, Dramatically and Indefinitely Magnify Their Own Powers for 06/16/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/21/legislators-demand-a-voice-in-public-health-restrictions-the-covid-19-pandemic-showed-the-dangers-of-letting-governors-unilaterally-dramatically-and-indefinitely-magnify-their-own-powers Wed, 16 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Pennsylvania legislators last week officially ended the state's COVID-19 "disaster emergency," which Gov. Tom Wolf repeatedly extended after declaring it 15 months ago. While the immediate practical effect of the legislature's vote will be minimal, it exemplifies an important step toward reining in the vast powers that Wolf and other governors have exercised during the pandemic.</p> <p>The Pennsylvania resolution was authorized by a constitutional amendment that voters approved last month, which changed the requirement for terminating a state of emergency from a two-thirds vote to a simple majority. Voters also passed an amendment that reduces the length of future emergency declarations from 90 days to 21 days and requires the legislature's approval to extend them.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 16, 2021</p> 2a1a88f7eb5352a89481580ec12508f4 How Can California's 'Assault Weapon' Ban Be Unconstitutional? Such Laws Arbitrarily Prohibit Rifles That Are [GU1]Commonly Used for Legal Purposes for 06/09/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/21/how-can-californias-assault-weapon-ban-be-unconstitutional-such-laws-arbitrarily-prohibit-rifles-that-are-gu1commonly-used-for-legal-purposes Wed, 09 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When California legislators enacted the country's first ban on military-style rifles in 1989, they gave no weight to the fundamental right of armed self-defense guaranteed by the Second Amendment: a right the U.S. Supreme Court did not explicitly acknowledge until nearly two decades later. But as U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez observed in his ruling against California's "assault weapon" ban last Friday, it should now be clear that the outright prohibition of such firearms cannot pass constitutional muster.</p> <p>California's Assault Weapons Control Act, which is similar to laws enforced by a handful of other states, originally applied to a list of more than 50 specific brands and models. In 1999, the law was amended to cover any semi-automatic, centerfire rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has any of the following features: a pistol grip that "protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon," a forward pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, a folding or telescoping stock, a flash suppressor or a grenade/flare launcher.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 09, 2021</p> a72296156a732bc8d1048516cda6b4b0 The 'One Child' Policy Was Tyrannical in Theory and Brutally Oppressive in Practice: For Decades Western Apologists Downplayed the Horrific Consequences of China's Reproductive Restrictions for 06/02/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/21/the-one-child-policy-was-tyrannical-in-theory-and-brutally-oppressive-in-practice-for-decades-western-apologists-downplayed-the-horrific-consequences-of-chinas-reproductive-restrictions Wed, 02 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It is not surprising that the Chinese Communist Party, which this week further loosened its legal limits on reproduction, still does not admit the "one child" policy that Deng Xiaoping imposed four decades ago was a grievous error, tyrannical in theory and brutally oppressive in practice. But the extent to which Western apologists have downplayed that ugly reality <i>is</i> surprising &#8212; and shameful.</p> <p>In 2009, Financial Post columnist Diane Francis declared that "a planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate." Four years later, BBC documentarian David Attenborough joined Francis in praising China's policy, although he regretted "the degree to which it has been enforced" and acknowledged that it "produced all kinds of personal tragedies." <p>Updated: Wed Jun 02, 2021</p> feda6f3901a942577da85f99ff3bc0d7 Do Anti-BDS Laws Restrict Speech? The Line Between Commercial Decisions and Advocacy Is Not As Clear As Opponents of Anti-Israel Boycotts Suggest for 05/26/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/21/do-anti-bds-laws-restrict-speech-the-line-between-commercial-decisions-and-advocacy-is-not-as-clear-as-opponents-of-anti-israel-boycotts-suggest Wed, 26 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Two months after the journalist Abby Martin agreed to give the main address at Georgia Southern University's 2020 International Critical Media Literacy Conference, she was disinvited because she refused to sign a state-mandated declaration that she was not "engaged in" a "boycott of Israel" and would refrain from doing so for the duration of her contract with the university. For Martin, a harsh critic of Israel who supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, that pledge was untrue and unacceptable.</p> <p>It was also unconstitutional, according to a federal judge who last week allowed Martin's lawsuit against university officials to proceed. The case illustrates how the anti-BDS laws and policies that most states have adopted impinge on expressive activities that the Supreme Court has said are protected by the First Amendment.</p> <p>"Martin's advocacy of a boycott of Israel constitutes protected activity under the First Amendment," U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen concluded. He added that Georgia's 2016 anti-BDS law, which applies to all state contractors, "burdens Martin's speech and is not narrowly tailored to further a substantial state interest," as required by the "strict scrutiny" test that applies to content-based speech restrictions.<p>Updated: Wed May 26, 2021</p> fdec3bc7dd25c448bce3eda719245a88 Why Americans Can't Trust the CDC's COVID-19 Advice: The Agency Continues a Pattern of Arbitrary, Dubious and Ever-Changing Recommendations for 05/19/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/21/why-americans-cant-trust-the-cdcs-covid-19-advice-the-agency-continues-a-pattern-of-arbitrary-dubious-and-ever-changing-recommendations Wed, 19 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My promise is that CDC will continue to follow the science as our guide," Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told senators last week. While Walensky thinks the CDC already is doing that, her premise is contradicted by the agency's history of arbitrary, dubious and ever-changing advice about COVID-19.</p> <p>Early in the pandemic, the CDC, together with the Food and Drug Administration, disastrously bungled the rollout of virus tests, making it impossible to curtail the spread of COVID-19 through contact tracing. Its obstruction of independently produced tests was coupled with irrationally narrow guidelines that initially recommended screening only for symptomatic travelers from China and people who had been in close contact with them.<p>Updated: Wed May 19, 2021</p> 2e3e85fadd8415c5b090be00d9e4dd8d Does This Elderly Veteran Have Any Recourse Against the Federal Cops Who Brutally Assaulted Him? SCOTUS Will Soon Decide Whether to Hear Jose Oliva's Argument That He Should Be Allowed to Sue VA Officers for Violating His Fourth Amendment Rights for 05/12/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/21/does-this-elderly-veteran-have-any-recourse-against-the-federal-cops-who-brutally-assaulted-him-scotus-will-soon-decide-whether-to-hear-jose-olivas-argument-that-he-should-be-allowed-to-sue-va-officers-for-violating-his-fourth-amendment-rights Wed, 12 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The three federal police officers who brutally assaulted Vietnam veteran Jose Oliva at a Veteran Affairs hospital in El Paso five years ago later claimed he tried to enter the building "without clearing security." But video of the incident shows that Oliva did nothing to justify the officers' violence, which caused shoulder injuries requiring two surgeries and left him with "persistent ear and throat issues."</p> <p>In a case the Supreme Court is expected to consider for review next week, Oliva argues that he should be able to sue VA Officers Mario Nivar, Hector Barahona, and Mario Garcia for violating his Fourth Amendment rights. At stake is the question of whether the Court should tolerate what 5th Circuit Judge Don Willett calls a "Constitution-free zone" where citizens can be "brutalized &#8212; even killed &#8212; by rogue federal officers" with "impunity."</p> <p>Oliva, then 70 years old, was on his way to a dental appointment in February 2016 when Nivar, who was manning the security station at the entrance to the VA hospital, asked him for ID. Oliva said he had put his ID in a plastic X-ray bin along with his other personal effects, a response that Nivar apparently viewed as insufficiently respectful.<p>Updated: Wed May 12, 2021</p> be1696b09fc518ceb51e0447dc4ed180 Biden Hedges on His Promise to Free Pot Prisoners: The President Still Has Not Caught Up With Most Americans on Marijuana Policy for 05/05/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/21/biden-hedges-on-his-promise-to-free-pot-prisoners-the-president-still-has-not-caught-up-with-most-americans-on-marijuana-policy Wed, 05 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Just before he left office, Donald Trump freed more than a dozen federal prisoners who had received sentences ranging from 15 years to life for growing, transporting or distributing marijuana. Yet, President Joe Biden, who during his campaign said "anyone who has a (marijuana) record should be let out of jail" and promised to "broadly use his clemency power for certain nonviolent and drug crimes," is suddenly reticent about following Trump's example.</p> <p>While Biden has come a long way since his days as an ardent drug warrior who bragged about the draconian sentences he helped enact, he still has not caught up with most Americans on marijuana policy. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 69% of Americans, including 78% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans, support legalization.<p>Updated: Wed May 05, 2021</p> 755e41aed2fc22368b7c01964d649d84 SCOTUS Will Decide Whether the Right to Bear Arms Extends Beyond Your Doorstep: New York, Like Several Other States, Limits Public Carrying of Handguns to the Favored Few for 04/28/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/21/scotus-will-decide-whether-the-right-to-bear-arms-extends-beyond-your-doorstep-new-york-like-several-other-states-limits-public-carrying-of-handguns-to-the-favored-few Wed, 28 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>While it may seem obvious that the constitutional right to "keep and bear arms" extends beyond the home, federal courts have been debating that question for years. This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could finally settle the issue, which the petitioners call "perhaps the single most important unresolved Second Amendment question." </p> <p>The case involves a New York law that requires applicants for handgun carry licenses to show "proper cause," which according to state courts means more than a "generalized desire" to "protect one's person and property." Applicants must "demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community," which in practice means that <span class="column--highlighted-text">ordinary New Yorkers have no right to armed self-defense once they leave their homes.</span><p>Updated: Wed Apr 28, 2021</p> d3bbd081c77e65db07554d2fd911f03d The COVID-19 Disaster That Did Not Happen in Texas: Cases Are Rising Mainly in States With Stricter Disease Control Policies for 04/21/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/21/the-covid-19-disaster-that-did-not-happen-in-texas-cases-are-rising-mainly-in-states-with-stricter-disease-control-policies Wed, 21 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted his statewide face mask mandate and his limits on business occupancy in early March, Democrats warned that he was inviting a public health disaster. Yet, a month and a half later, newly identified coronavirus cases in Texas have fallen by more than 50 percent, and daily deaths have dropped even more.</p> <p>Meanwhile, states with stricter COVID-19 regulations have seen spikes in daily new cases. This is not the pattern you would expect to see if government-imposed restrictions played a crucial role in curtailing the pandemic, as advocates of those policies assume.</p> <p>Abbott's critics did not mince words. President Joe Biden said the governor's decision reflected "Neanderthal thinking." Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said it was "extraordinarily dangerous" and "will kill Texans."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 21, 2021</p> 9bf77ec9ad73c106175f7cbbdb22b3f2 Prohibited Prayer and the Limits of Public Health Authority: The Supreme Court Reaffirms That COVID-19 Regulations Must Comply With the First Amendment for 04/14/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/21/prohibited-prayer-and-the-limits-of-public-health-authority-the-supreme-court-reaffirms-that-covid-19-regulations-must-comply-with-the-first-amendment Wed, 14 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When Christians met in each other's homes for prayer or Bible study, they had to be careful. Such gatherings were illegal, and the organizers never knew who might inform the authorities.</p> <p>Although that sounds like a scene from the Soviet Union, it actually describes the situation in California under COVID-19 regulations that the Supreme Court blocked last Friday. By issuing an injunction against Gov. Gavin Newsom's restrictions, the Court reaffirmed that politicians must comply with the Constitution when they decide how to deal with an epidemic.</p> <p>The main rule at issue in this case limited at-home religious gatherings, whether inside or outside, to people from no more than three households. If two people from different households joined a host for a prayer meeting or Bible study session, for example, no one else was allowed to come.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 14, 2021</p> 3c68aec2c4f4ae4f0bd8dc6d6dd1bbde Six Marijuana Legalization Lessons: Three Recently Approved Plans Show What Politicians Have Learned (or Failed to Learn) Since Colorado Became the First State to Allow Recreational Use for 04/07/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/21/six-marijuana-legalization-lessons-three-recently-approved-plans-show-what-politicians-have-learned-or-failed-to-learn-since-colorado-became-the-first-state-to-allow-recreational-use Wed, 07 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Legislators in New York and New Mexico voted last week to legalize recreational marijuana, as their counterparts in New Jersey had done the previous month. The three plans, which bring the number of states that have approved legalization to 17, reflect some of the lessons that policymakers have learned &#8212; and in some cases ignored &#8212; since Colorado became the first state to take that step in 2012.</p> <p>1. Expungement. Unlike the first few states to legalize marijuana, New Jersey, New York and New Mexico are simultaneously trying to alleviate the damage done by prohibition. All three states are creating expungement programs to remove the taint of criminality from people who were convicted of marijuana-related conduct that is no longer illegal.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 07, 2021</p> 0f22e64f152a7ed6017d40e8422705b7 The Bump Stock Ban Highlights the Danger of Letting Bureaucrats Invent Crimes: A Federal Appeals Court Rejects a Highly Implausible Redefinition of Machine Guns for 03/31/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/21/the-bump-stock-ban-highlights-the-danger-of-letting-bureaucrats-invent-crimes-a-federal-appeals-court-rejects-a-highly-implausible-redefinition-of-machine-guns Wed, 31 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Two years ago, peaceful, law-abiding gun owners across the country became felons overnight, thanks to the Trump administration's ban on bump stocks. But as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit recognized last week, Congress alone has the authority to define new federal crimes, while the president and his underlings are charged with enforcing those laws. </p> <p>Combining both powers in a single branch is a license for tyranny &#8212; a danger the framers tried to avoid by carefully separating the legislative and executive functions. Regardless of their views on gun control, Americans who care about the rule of law should be troubled by the implications of letting unelected bureaucrats unilaterally and arbitrarily criminalize previously legal conduct.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 31, 2021</p> fff25562a454024a8531ab7f3e06d2ca Biden Threatens to Revive Kangaroo Courts in College Sexual Assault Cases: The President Has Ordered the Education Department to Consider Rescinding Due Process Reforms for 03/24/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/21/biden-threatens-to-revive-kangaroo-courts-in-college-sexual-assault-cases-the-president-has-ordered-the-education-department-to-consider-rescinding-due-process-reforms Wed, 24 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In 2016, Purdue University imposed a one-year suspension on a student accused of sexual assault, forcing him to resign from ROTC and ending his plans for a Navy career. The process that led to those results, Amy Coney Barrett concluded in a 2019 opinion for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, "fell short of what even a high school must provide to a student facing a days-long suspension."</p> <p>The adjudication procedures that Barrett, now a Supreme Court justice, described as "fundamentally unfair" grew out of Obama administration guidelines that the Trump administration rescinded and replaced with regulations aimed at restoring some semblance of due process. President Joe Biden is now threatening to revive the earlier policy, which encouraged universities to presume the guilt of students charged with sexual misconduct.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 24, 2021</p> 26e6324be19992e1acf5c6b855643b03 Congress Uses COVID-19 As a Cover for an Epidemic of Fiscal Recklessness: Legislators View the Disease As a License to Spend Like There's No Tomorrow for 03/17/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/21/congress-uses-covid-19-as-a-cover-for-an-epidemic-of-fiscal-recklessness-legislators-view-the-disease-as-a-license-to-spend-like-theres-no-tomorrow Wed, 17 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The "recovery rebates" that Americans began receiving this week supposedly have something to do with the economic damage caused by COVID-19 and the control measures it inspired. But like most of the so-called American Rescue Plan Act, these payments, which account for more than a fifth of the bill's $1.9 trillion price tag, are only tenuously related to the pandemic.</p> <p>The Democrats who championed the law hope those bribes will buy them votes in the midterm elections. But you really should be thanking your children and grandchildren, because they will ultimately pick up the tab for this package and the rest of the $5 trillion spending binge that Congress claimed was justified by a public health emergency.</p> <p>Individuals with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 will get $1,400, while married couples earning up to $150,000 will get $2,800, plus $1,400 for each dependent. That amounts to $5,600 for a four-person family, on top of the $5,800 that such households received under the coronavirus relief packages that Congress approved in March and December.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 17, 2021</p>