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Pandemic Economic Stimulus Coming to an End

July 25, 2020

Some months ago, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a fairly comprehensive package of measures designed to mitigate the economic difficulties resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s reaction to it, such as it was. Now, many aspects of this package, designed to mitigate the deleterious aspects of the economic slowdown resulting from massive surges unemployment caused by the sudden lockdown of major sectors of business and industry are in the process of expiring.

A onetime payment of $1200 to most Americans is likely but a faded memory to most of the recipients. Billions of dollars to pay newly unemployed workers an extra $600 will expire at the end of the month. A moratorium on evictions of renters unable to pay rent and foreclosures on homeowners unable to keep up with mortgage payments have already expired and could well spell homelessness for millions of Americans still out of work and likely to remain that way as state and local governments struggle from the upsurge in cases of Covid-19 due to premature re-opening of businesses and public gatherings at the urging of a President and Administration hellbent on fixing the economy before the November election regardless of the effects on the working people, their children and the elderly most susceptible to the ravages of the pandemic.

The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats and led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, passed legislation to authorize much-needed additional expenditures to adequately meet the needs of people and businesses still needing assistance in light of the continuing health and economic emergency and the failure of the Trump Administration to adequately address the pandemic. After that legislation passed the House, it was sent to gather dust in the Mitch McConnell (affectionately known to many as #MoscowMitch for his unwavering support for virtually anything Trump says or does – including his pretend impeachment trial earlier this year) led Senate. Not only has McConnell, Trump and the rest of the GOP leadership steadfastly refused to pass similar legislation in the Senate, they have procrastinated to the edge of yet another fiscal cliff without even discussing it.

There is no excuse for Trump’s or McConnell’s refusal to do their jobs by acting in ways that further the interests of the American people as a whole instead of materially benefitting the wealthy and major corporations at the expense of working people, the aged, children, and small businesses. Making millions of us homeless, destitute, without access to health care during a health emergency may be what he thinks will get him re-elected. Dead people can’t vote (though his claims of voter fraud say otherwise). Making millions of others despondent enough to give up and not vote at all may work to his advantage. His distractions of blaming liberals and Democrats for peaceful protests made violent by his insertion of shock troops reminiscent of Hitler’s Gestapo and SS may set the stage for further authoritarian acts on his part to strengthen his grip on totalitarian power. But we must not let him steal another day in the White House – let alone another four year term.

Another aspect of Trump’s inability or unwillingness to adequately lead us through these crises is the fact that state and local governments are facing what will amount to catastrophic budget shortfalls that they may not be able to handle without direct assistance from the Federal Government. Virtually all sources of income for state, county and local governments at all levels across the nation are falling at a time when they need to spend more, not less in order to meet the needs of their residents. While the Federal Government can, and historically has, run deficits in order to deal with crises (self-imposed or otherwise – as in the case of endless wars of choice), state and municipal governing entities do not have that luxury – by law and/or Constitution. Forcing these levels of governance to abandon programs vital to the well-being of their most vulnerable people is inhumane and downright cruel.

None of this is news to our fearsome leader or his happy puppets. Using a rising deficit to excuse calling people on unemployment lazy for not risking their lives to work under unsafe conditions is laughable, especially when accompanied by using funds designated for saving small businesses to augment wealthy denizens of big business while refusing to be transparent about how those fund are being distributed or to whom. Trump and the so-called governors falling all over themselves to outdo his lunacy by ordering schools to open as scheduled this coming school year have no compassion whatsoever for how difficult that is to do safely or how impossible it is to accomplish with seriously diminished funding.

Rather than taking recesses to campaign for new terms in which to live off the public trough while doing nothing to earn their pay or serve the interests of those they are supposed to be representing, Mitch and the rest of the Congressional GOP need to do their jobs BEFORE they create a new catastrophe. Oh, and they need to wear masks while doing so – until the job is done. I wish at least a million people would each send Trump one beautiful orange mask – so he could never claim he ran out of them. My request for a mail-in ballot has already been sent. It will be filled out and sent back as soon as it is received. Donald Trump will not win Pennsylvania again in 2020.

Further Selected Readings:

Mitch McConnell Tells Millions Of Unemployed No More $600 Benefit

The $600 federal unemployment benefit ends this month. GOP senators say enough already.

Despite Job Gains in June, Recovery Will Slow Without Congressional Action

Congress stares down funding cliff for virus aid

Coronavirus Is Creating a Crisis of Energy Insecurity

The coronavirus relief act paused adverse credit reporting, but that’s going to change at the end of the month.

Congress’s Covid-19 rescue plan was bigger than the New Deal. It’s about to end.

‘Prolonged Recession’ Could Be on Horizon as Covid Economic Crisis Leads to State and Local Budget Shortfalls

Raising Corporate Taxes Could Help Cities Facing COVID-19 Budget Crises

Millions of Americans will soon find out just how badly they’ve been screwed by Trump and the GOP

COVID’s Painful Side Effect: Deep Budget Cuts At State And Local Levels

Sanders Calls on ‘Do-Nothing’ Senate to Approve $2,000 Monthly Checks, Cancel Rent, and Expand Medicare

‘Lives and Livelihoods Are on the Line’: Progressive Ad Campaigns Target GOP Senators for Blocking Relief as Covid-19 Rages

‘Something’s Gotta Give Here’: Urgent Action Demanded as 23 Million US Families Face Possible Eviction by October

We need new stimulus now https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/07/we-need-new-stimulus-now/

‘The Real Fiscal Cliff’: McConnell Drags His Feet as 30 Million Are Set to Lose Unemployment Benefits in 10 Days

On Tax Day, Analysis Shows Billionaire Wealth Growth Since Start of Pandemic Exceeds Total Budget Deficits of 23 US States

Bolstering Case for Extending Unemployment Relief—and Higher Wages Overall—Study Shows Recipients Spent More During Pandemic

What Lies Ahead

States, Localities Need More Federal Aid to Avert Deepening Budget Crisis

Unemployed are on ‘precipice of financial disaster’ if Congress doesn’t act now

The Eviction Ban Worked, But It’s Almost Over. Some Landlords Are Getting Ready

From → Uncategorized

2 Comments
  1. Pelosi reportedly said she opposes extending unemployment benefits. She is horrible.

    Like

  2. I sent in my request for a mail-in ballot months ago. I haven’t heard anything back. I don’t even know if my request got to the local elections board. I talked to my postal carrier about the mail & she told me that it’s “a hot mess” & she’s afraid for her job. She said she didn’t want “to say more”. She’s a vet, much younger than I am. I feel sorry for her.

    Like

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