Watchdog Urges Congress to Embrace Market Solutions for Coronavirus Response

Watchdog Urges Congress to Embrace Market Solutions for Coronavirus Response

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2020
Contact: Grace Morgan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urged Congress to refrain from a big government “stimulus” package and instead focus on market-based reforms to protect families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Lawmakers are currently deliberating over the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which would create a new federal paid sick leave program, expand unemployment assistance, and usher in requirements for the offering of free coronavirus testing for patients. 

TPA President David Williams responded to these proposals, noting, “at a time of unprecedented uncertainty, Congress has the important task of containing COVID-19 and helping workers and their families get back on track. With some of these measures, however, lawmakers may be unnecessarily sidelining millions of workers at a time when the economy is already in freefall and countless businesses are forced to close their doors. Allowing healthy workers to retain most of their salaries on the taxpayer’s dime with a taxpayer-financed paid leave program for workers that have merely come into contact with COVID-19 discourages businesses and their employees from teleworking. Overly broad-based paid leave ensures that millions of Americans will unnecessarily take off work and opt for federal paychecks, taking money away from struggling taxpayers that desperately need a break right now from Uncle Sam. Lawmakers should pursue more targeted relief, especially considering that most workers already have paid leave benefits.” 

Williams continued: “Countless Americans are struggling to make ends meet and lawmakers must make sure to help out families without breaking the bank and bilking taxpayers in the process. For example, allowing workers a break on their payroll taxes can ensure that hardworking Americans have more money in their pockets to stock up on necessary purchases and keep their families protected from the coronavirus, while protecting businesses suffering from a downturn in demand.  Congress should also encourage states and localities to relax sales taxes and make food (a number of states don’t exempt groceries from sales tax) and healthcare supplies less expensive for struggling consumers. Lawmakers can further shield consumers from high prices by expanding Health Savings Accounts to cover over-the-counter medications as proposed by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). This common-sense reform would let Americans use pre-tax dollars to purchase medications that can alleviate COVID-19 symptoms and help families stay healthy.” 

Williams concluded: “Now is a scary time for all Americans and Congress must do all that they can to keep families afloat and make sure they have everything they need. This can be done by learning from history and without expensive ‘stimulus’ policies that would sideline countless healthy workers. Lawmakers must pursue market-oriented reform, not double down on failed big government policies.”