It’s going to be impossible for me not to address your political slant in this, so I am going to embed my engagement with that level of your post within my own response. For the purposes of transparency, I was a non-voter in the 2020 election, my political compass tends to fall somewhere between -2,-2 and -4,-4, and I probably most closely identify as a non-political progressive-conservative (as more seen in Canada and Europe among Christian Democratic parties) and am skeptical towards most institutions of power, as well as their motives.
The United States federal government has been spending beyond its means for the last several decades. National debt as a percent of GDP was relatively constant until the Clinton administration when it sharply rose and then again during the Obama administration and later the Trump administration.
The Biden-era American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is very similar to the Trump-era CARES Act in both functionality and cost (although the CARES Act is over 10% more expensive than the third round of stimulus checks). This looks like an extension of previous plans to stimulate the economy for families and individuals below the 6-figure income line (I’m using this as a general statement, each act has a different threshold for triggering payments). While one or both initiatives are probably needed right now, this continues a long-term dangerous plan of spending money that the United States doesn’t have, which both the Republicans and Democrats have engaged in. It is hard to envision a scenario where the United States ever pays its lenders back in full.
My guess is that both bills will be beneficial to Americans who make less than 6 figures and will be needed. The CARES Act’s direct payments and loans have likely had numerous positive benefits. It will assist some individuals and families in meeting all or part of their rent payments (or at least as far as the one-time payment went), which is especially useful for those who were out of work at the time. The loan programs will likely help the small businesses who received the loans to stay afloat, although this may not be enough to overcome the sad truth that small businesses just are not able to compete with large corporations, and COVID likely only expedited the inevitable.
Meanwhile, this new bill seems to mostly be focused on assisting the employed through extending the timeframe of which individuals have access to increased unemployment and food stamp benefits (which was originally authorized in the CARES Act), more direct payments, and expanding tax credits designed to target families. The ARP Act includes more small business loans. New spending appears to include funds for schools to safely reopen, rental assistance, vaccine/testing initiatives, and non-specific invoices set aside for state/local governments to spend on unique issues to their locale. The bill also includes a pension fund bailout and agricultural debt forgiveness.
Much money from each bill will be seen again by the federal government in the form of loan repayment. However, each initiative is clearly a costly endeavor. The CARES Act appears to largely be financed by drastically increasing the national deficit, while the ARP Act appears to be financed by a combination of increased taxes and deficit spending.
More directly to answer your question, I think the American Rescue Plan Act is somewhat part-and-parcel of a trend seen in American economics where Republicans and Democrats are willing to spend beyond their means, and Americans are unable, or unwilling, to realize their demands cannot be met within what they can afford to pay back. While I am incapable of discerning the full amount of money owed to the United States (rather than how much money the United States owes the world), the most common answer I find is that some money is owed by foreign countries to the US, but it is not enough to really make a dent in the net debt America has, and it is mostly kept for the purposes of geopolitical stability (if someone can find some recent numbers on this, I would greatly appreciate it). This was *probably* a necessary short-term action and an example of the good that can be done by the government, but because of wasteful spending over the last several decades (obviously this term is subjective, and we probably disagree about where the wasteful spending lies), the United States is buying something it can’t afford, but that it probably needs.
While I have more or less addressed your question throughout my response, I will point-for-point respond to each element of the original post.
- This post seems very politically charged (specifically anti-Democrat and anti-Biden) and distracting from the core of where your curiosity lies. If you’re interested in the potential economic consequences of the American Rescue Plan Act, you are unfairly framing your question by heavily insinuating that there is only one possible answer and that the actors behind said action are innately bad and stupid.
- The tax hikes are a part of the American Rescue Plan Act. It is impossible to separate the spending of the ARP Act and the actions of the bill itself. One cannot address the consequences of the spending without partaking in a cost-benefit analysis of how the bill allocates funding. Your question is analogous to asking ‘how will Ted Cruz’s completely irresponsible and dispassionate spending cuts affect the Americans that most need them’. It invokes an unfair emotional framework and only invites one answer, which dissuades curiosity and critical thinking.
- Your post provides an incomplete explanation of the consequences of the bill. You only focus on how the ARP Act will be paid for, without considering the ways it will stimulate the economy (as the CARES Act has done in the past) and without putting the action into the broader context of the recent American economy/spending habits of the federal government.
- For example, your post notes that the tax hikes will cause fewer jobs to be created and less innovation to happen. However, this ignores the small-business and corporate loans that the ARP Act (and CARES Act) included to SAVE jobs and assist people who did indeed lose their jobs. It feels disingenuous to note that fewer jobs will be created in the future while failing to address the incredible net job loss that has been created in the last 12 months and the assistance the bill provides.
- I am confused as to why you continue to refer to what Biden “plans to do” and that “he doesn’t plan to stop there”. I do not know how this intersects with the potential consequences of the tax hikes.