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What do President Joe Biden and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have in common? They are now apparently both fans of the “refund the police” movement. Or at least that’s the impression that Biden was attempting to convey during his remarks from Washington yesterday. And how are the states and cities supposed to pay for all of this new law enforcement activity? By spending the billions of dollars of federal COVID relief money that many of them are sitting on, of course. This is a serious if welcome reversal on Biden’s part and his team clearly wanted to provide him with some liberal backup before the progressives began attacking him. With that in mind, they flew in Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who spoke glowingly about how money from the American Relief Act “filled important gaps” and allowed him to keep his cops out on the beat. (NBC News)
President Joe Biden on Friday urged states and cities to use unspent money from last year’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package to fund crime prevention programs and hire police officers.
The president stressed the need for more funding of public safety programs at a White House event with mayors and law enforcement officials.
“To every governor, every mayor, every county official, the need is clear, my message is clear: Spend this money now; use these funds we made available to you; prioritize public safety,” Biden said. “Do it quickly before the summer, when crime rates typically surge.”
Before anything else, allow me to offer credit where and when it’s due, something I rarely have the opportunity for during this administration. The country is facing an epidemic of crime, particularly in the cities, and finding ways to help state and municipal governments restore law and order should absolutely be a priority. By encouraging his own party’s leaders to do this (Democrats control many large cities), Biden is setting the correct tone and doing the right thing. So he gets a tip of my hat for that.
With that said, let’s look at the other half of this question. Why is refunding the police able to be funded with COVID relief aid? What does this have to do with the pandemic? Don’t get me wrong here. I still want them to have the money. We need to be backing the blue wherever possible, and if this is the only way to get the job done, so be it. But this is far from the first case where we’ve seen states and cities rerouting COVID relief cash into other non-pandemic-related areas. That money has been used for everything from plugging holes in state and municipal budgets to suspending gas taxes.
Perhaps this should serve as a reminder that the federal government opened up the firehose of federal cash to outrageous levels, all in the name of “doing something” about the virus. They were literally handing out more money than the states and cities could find a way to spend. Perhaps Joe Biden’s remarks from yesterday should be brought up in the House and the Senate since they are currently crafting yet another COVID relief bill that will cost tens of billions of dollars for some reason. If the states don’t have pandemic programs doing without funding at the moment and they’re spending the last bushel of cash on other things, why would we be shipping out more? The more money the government churns out, the less value each individual dollar has. That’s straight out of economics 101 and it drives inflation. I was under the impression that we were supposed to be worrying about inflation and rising prices, no?
Before closing, I would be remiss not to point out the actual reason for Biden’s “refund the police” speech yesterday, and I’m fairly sure most of you could guess what it is. Biden’s handlers know how to read poll numbers. Voters are both angry and worried about rising crime rates and unsafe streets. That’s even true in the bluest of cities like Chicago and San Francisco. The only concerns among voters that rank higher than crime this year are inflation and the cost of living. The Democrats are realizing that the whole “defund the police” movement has blown up in their faces and they’re edging away from BLM and the progressive wing as quickly as they can.
The White House is worried that Democrats won’t be able to land a position as a dog-catcher in the bluest of areas if their numbers slide much further. So now it’s time to pretend the whole “defund” thing never happened and speak up for law and order. But just as I said about the funding question at the top, we’ll still take it. If this is what it takes to get them on board with restoring law and order, so be it. Welcome to the Thin Blue Line team, Joe.