Democrats’ cheap ploy with $2,000 stimulus check could cost them the Senate

Nancy Pelosi decided to try to split and embarrass the Republicans by supporting Trump’s tardy $2,000 stimulus push, and by passing a bill including the payment with a bi-partisan majority.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined the bill with one to repeal Section 230 of the telecommunications act (47 U.S.C. § 230) which protects social media companies, and to set up a fraud commission to investigate the non-existent voter fraud in the November 3, 2020 election. As a result, with Congress expiring on January 3, 2021, there is a zero chance of the House bill becoming law.

Nonetheless, the  bill represents bad policy, giving large amounts of money ($8,000 for a family of four) to well-to-do individuals who don’t need it.

This money would be better spent extending and even raising the weekly amount of federal unemployment insurance support, and by funding the needs of state and local givernments.

Both the Washington Post and Republicans have made the point that it makes no sense to extend the aid to the wealthy. While McConnell’s argument, unsurprisingly, is deeply cynical, he is correct.


Editorial, “Why increasing the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 is a bad idea,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020 at (3:34 p.m. EST).

“McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate’; The Senate leader said the measure would be too costly, would not be targeted toward needy and would help families that are living comfortably,” Washington Post, December 30, 2020 (6:36 p.m. EST).

Both he and the Washington Post are right on the merits of who the federal relief payments should go to.

The Democrats, by going for this cheap shot to embarrass the Republicans while implementing a bad policy, have given Georgians a strong reason to vote for the Republicans in the Senate run-off elections on January 5, 2021.

It is just one reason, and there are myriad other reasons to vote for Jon Ossoff and Rafael Warnock for Senator.

But, for the undecided voter of traditional Republican bent, the Democratic ploy may raise traditional concerns about Democratic spending.

On the other hand, both Loeffler and Perdue have come out in favor of the $2:000 checks.

Mayebe the Democrats” ploy won’t make any difference. Who’s paying attention to policy, anyway?

Still, to minimize the risk, what might be done, even at this late date?

It’s not clear anything can be done at this point to counter the risk occasioned by this mistake.

But it would make great sense to shift attention from the $2,000 relief payment to a plan to extend and increase federal enhanced unemployment benefits, and to fund state and local governments.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.