The $2 trillion stimulus bill to fight the effects of Chinese coronavirus lockdown is already unpopular, and it hasn’t even passed. Taxpayers are upset at the pork. $25 million for The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts? That could have paid for ventilators. $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities? So far off task as to seem intentionally insulting.
The real slap in the face? A raise…for the House of Representatives. $25 million to Pelosi and company. That comes to nearly $60,000 per representative. At a time when America is losing tens of thousands of jobs per day.
To make matters worse, the bill can’t be passed until some phrasing is fixed. Three Republican Senators–Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and Tim Scott–spotted the crucial mistake. It’s a good thing they recognized the error, but another delay in what has been a contentious and meandering process has angered voters. As reported in the Washington Examiner:
“A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating consequences: Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work,” Sens. Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, and Tim Scott said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
“This isn’t an abstract, philosophical point — it’s an immediate, real-world problem. If the federal government accidentally incentivizes layoffs, we risk life-threatening shortages in sectors where doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are trying to care for the sick, and where growers and grocers, truckers and cooks are trying to get food to families’ tables,” they continued.
The statement added, “This isn’t who we are as Americans; this isn’t what we do in a crisis. We must sadly oppose the fast-tracking of this bill until this text is addressed, or the Department of Labor issues regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working.”
Single Americans who earn &75,000 or less per year, and families who earn $150,000 or less will receive $1,200 for each adult, and $500 for each child. Individuals with direct deposit information on file with the IRS will receive the funds within “the next few weeks,” while those who do not must wait up to four months.
Given that roughly 70 million Americans have direct deposit advice on file, the vast majority of those eligible won’t see payment until as late as July. It’s an awful outcome, and far less than what Americans expected. People are angry.
Part of the anger is based in perception versus reality. A low-information voter hears “$2 trillion relief fund” and imagines a nice check in the mail. The delay in passing a common sense bill has heightened anxiety concurrent with ongoing worries over catching the virus itself.
It’s a trying time economically and emotionally. Rising to the challenge of saving the economy and the individual jobs that comprise it is a monumental task, to be sure. These slights, these legislative disses, won’t be forgotten. In fact, it’s clear that it was the pork on the bargaining table–not the dollar amount of relief to citizens–that held up negotiations until late last night.
The economic toll is beginning to show. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that 1 million residents have filed for unemployment.
We haven’t even come near the peak of infection. If there is any good news today, it’s yet another strong case for a chloroquine drug cocktail. The results are real. It’s time to get chloroquine fast-tracked and produced in massive amounts.