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Stimulus Punch-Counterpunch – Crenshaw vs. Amash

Now that the House is taking up the recently-passed Senate $2 Trillion coronavirus stimulus package, we are starting to see some of the debate emerge within House Republican circles. Certainly the package presents a challenge for many of us who generally oppose government spending on principle – would we REALLY need taxpayer-funded economic stimulus if people and companies were able to keep their own money and if we had a less government-controlled health care system?

A few days ago, amidst the wrangling in the Senate regarding the stimulus package, a brief exchange as to what is properly needed arose between two Congressmen, Justin Amash and Dan Crenshaw.

Rep. Amash is among the most transparent and libertarian Republican representatives in government anywhere. Often he is a breath of fresh air amidst the aggravating talking-point drivel we see from most people out of Washington. He is a brand of conservative that is pretty rare – a bit of a nevertrumper that still won’t side with the left. He’s not like Jennifer Rubin or Bill Kristol or Mitt Romney or any on the center-right who outright despise Trump. He does not support the status quo.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw is among the new conservative celebrities, but I have noticed what may be a bit of a party-line trend with him in recent months. He is a genuine war hero with a rogueish air (he has an honestly-worn eyepatch from a combat injury). Crenshaw is probably on the short list for future Presidential considerations.

Recently, the two had an exchange from one of Amash’s recent twitter strings. Amash supports just straight cash payments to Americans with no corporate support, and nothing for business purposes:

Crenshaw replied:

And Amash’s answer:

Now, Amash makes some decent points here – far too often (such as in 2008) we see the government back specific businesses or industries and NOT others. A good principle to reduce the size, scope (and therefore power) of government is to prevent it from supporting bad economic choices with taxpayer funds or printed money. Many big businesses make certain decisions based on the idea that there is either an implicit or explicit government guarantee to support them if they go under. Too many large companies socialize their risks.

Now, is this a true bailout if the money is loans that will be repaid? The taxpayer is the one still bearing the risk. Also, do businesses need support to keep afloat so that people will have jobs to come back to and places to buy stuff from? We are not necessarily dealing with a situation where you have a lot of businesses which made bad decisions and going under because a good economy covers up their mistakes. It’s a good debate to have as to who the government needs to disburse taxpayer money to in hard times and how.

I think a conservative case could be made in either direction. Direct cash payments prevent the complexity (and therefore power) of government from increasing – they just cut checks and be done with it. Loans (not grants) to businesses to stay afloat for survival make some sense here as well, but no strings should be attached, but create a complexity and increase the necessity of more government employees and departments and such to handle it.

Finally, props to both men for handling this like men. No insults. No strawmen. No non sequiters and ill intent. Are we sure this was Twitter?

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