Washington Examiner: $2 Trillion in Debt-financed Coronavirus Relief Will Cost Future Generations Dearly

March 26, 2020

Article by Brad Polumbo in Washington Examiner

It makes sense that the federal government is stepping in to provide financial relief to the millions of citizens facing economic ruin due to the coronavirus crisis and subsequent government restrictions on activity. But what’s unconscionable is the fact that, thanks to the way Congress spent the last decade ignoring any sense of fiscal responsibility, coronavirus relief must come at the cost of further indebting future generations and dimming the outlook of our financial future.

It’s not the $2 trillion price tag on the coronavirus relief bill, passed Wednesday evening by the Senate, that does this in and of itself. One big spike in government spending during a crisis isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, be the end of the world. The way it’s supposed to work is that during times of growth and prosperity, such as the last decade or so, lawmakers are supposed to rein in budget deficits. That way, they will later have the leeway to borrow and spend during a crisis without completely torpedoing the national debt.

Instead, our leaders decided to just cash out at future generations’ expense, even during times of prosperity, running up massive deficits and adding a whopping $8.5 trillion under former President Barack Obama, topped off with several trillion more so far from President Trump during his first term. This was the government equivalent of parents going on a spending binge with credit cards they’ve taken out in their children's names.

Now, the bill has come due. It’s hard to say for sure, but it looks like the federal government will run at least a $3 trillion deficit this year due to both the preexisting profligate budget and the trillions more from this relief bill. If additional relief or stimulus packages are passed, which looks likely, the total tab passed onto future generations could even reach $4-6 trillion.

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