For some conservatives, it's starting to look like 2008 all over again. That's when Republicans in Congress and the White House reacted to an historic economic downturn on the cusp of a presidential election by passing massive spending bills. As President George W. Bush memorably put it while trying to defend this profligate spending, "I have to violate my free market principles in order to save the free market."
W's message didn't go over well with conservatives, who abandoned the GOP in the '08 elections and months later formed the Tea Party movement, which led to a massive electoral sweep in 2010 and ushered in the likes of Sens. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz. Now, with the GOP poised to support another massive coronavirus relief bill totaling a trillion dollars, some of those Tea Party voices are pushing back again.
Sens. Cruz and Paul have been vocal opponents of the latest bill, with Cruz warning that Republicans will never win by trying to "out-Santa Claus" the Democrats with borrowing, spending and giveaways.
Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, agrees that the coronavirus relief bills passed so far have been completely misguided. "Washington firmly believes in the theory of never letting a crisis go to waste, and these Covid bills are filled with all kinds of pork and unnecessary spending," he tells KTRH.
Phillips argues that most of these bills have only stimulated unemployment. "Republicans pointed out that you are creating incentives for people not to work, and here's a shocker...a lot of people are now getting more on unemployment than they are working," he says. "We need to be giving people incentives to get back to work."
Both sides on Capitol Hill are now scrambling to get a bill done by the end of this week, when current federal unemployment benefits expire. Phillips does not have high hopes for the final product. "I expect Democrats are going to get a lot more than what they should," he says. "And it's going to be like anything else that comes out of Washington---compromise that doesn't really achieve anything except spending a lot of money."