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$600. That’s it. After 9 months the United States Congress has decided that a one-time payment of $600 is a fair amount of aid for Americans who are struggling financially during one of the worst moments in American history. This is a Fyre Festival government. A disaster of epic proportions. A scam.
Republicans fought tooth and nail to prevent a return to the $1,200 that was given to individuals in March and kept the economy from imploding. Of course, that was when they owned the White House and now that they no longer will in the future, they are taking a scorched-earth approach to financial aid.
Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) fought to end a program where the Fed could prop up the markets and businesses, claiming that the aid was meant to be temporary and that it is no longer warranted. The so-called “deficit hawk” didn’t seem too concerned about this when President Trump asked for it in March though. He finally caved after hours of negotiations and threats to his seat.
Over 18 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began and over 320,000 have been reported dead with far more out there. The United States has over ¼ of the deaths with less than 4% of the global population. It is a government failure like never before. Thousands of businesses have folded and several thousand more are just months away from bankruptcy.
Evictions on the Rise
Taxpayers have endured layoffs, evictions, pay cuts, and being forced into workplaces that failed to protect workers from the Coronavirus. All taxpayers are getting is $600 though. Meanwhile, the airline industry is receiving $17 billion according to the compromise proposal. Zero dollars for states and local governments that are cash-strapped and facing budget cuts and more layoffs.
Congress and the White House have received vaccines before our healthcare workers. Congress and the government have been paid their salaries throughout the entire pandemic. They are not facing eviction. Americans are though.
The CDC eviction moratorium is set to expire on December 31st and 30 to 40 million Americans are currently at risk for eviction over the next few months according to The Aspen Institute. The implications for the economy of a massive homeless epidemic does not seem to interest Congress.
The average cost of rent in the United States for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,617 and a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,909 according to an October 2020 report from Apartmentguide.com. $600 is barely even ⅓ of the cost of rent for one month. The Washington Post has reported that nearly 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent by January 2021 according to the Census Bureau.
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A Jobs Crisis
The nation is also facing an unemployment crisis right now. Small businesses are a major employer in the United States and have been badly pummeled by the pandemic.
On December 17th the United States reported 885,000 new jobless claims according to the Labor Department. If you add together everyone receiving aid currently there are 20,646,779 claims. This level of job loss is unprecedented in the history of this nation since maybe the Great Depression.
Alignable reports that 48% of small businesses fear permanent closure. Stay-at-Home orders have returned to several states across the nation as the pandemic worsens in states such as Michigan, California, New York, Washington, and more.
Businesses are being forced to close without any aid and it is becoming obvious that Congress does not have a plan to help these businesses out or the people who work there. It is sink or swim.
Even in states that have remained open such as Florida, the loss of tourism revenue has been detrimental for major employers such as Disney, Universal, and hotel chains around the state. Restaurants and bars have been a major target in closings by states in order to slow virus spread.
The National Restaurant Association, a lobbying group for the restaurant industry, shared in September that over 100,000 restaurants closed in the first 6 months of the pandemic.
Americans are trapped in a pandemic crisis and somehow Congress seems to think that non-existent jobs are going to help them out of the situation the government created by failing to contain the pandemic and then having no plans for businesses to get aid.
The $660 billion Payment Protection Program, dreamed up by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in March has been a massive failure filled with fraud and misuse.
Perfectly stable corporations were able to make taxpayers foot the bill for their employees, while struggling small businesses died off. According to Barron’s, hundreds of investment banks received over $150,000 in taxpayer funded aid. According to their report, Berkery, Noyes & Co, of New York, “was cleared for a $350,000 to $1 million loan to save 36 jobs”.
The latest deal by Congress sweetens the deal even more by making these tax-free loans tax-deductible as well, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s right - the free cash that companies received from taxpayers is now going to also allow them to skirt taxes while tax coffers are drained without tourism, events, or steady business.
If there is anything we know about taxes, it is that eventually someone will have to pay them and no doubt all these sweet deals will blow up in taxpayers' faces when austerity comes in the next Congress.
Why Won’t They Help?
Just these few things highlighted makes it clear that Americans are in a deep crisis that has no sign of ending anytime soon. We could be facing a complete economic meltdown soon. One has to wonder why this Fyre Festival government does not want to help prevent this? The cynic in me assumes that the goal is to crash the economy just as Joe Biden becomes President of the United States.
A more simple explanation might be that Congress no longer represents the American people. $17 billion for airlines. Tax breaks for tax free loans that have been misused, as people who actually tried to live the so-called American dream close shop for good and go into poverty. The money is there but our representatives will not give it to us.
Republicans have failed to represent the people who elect them. Democrats have failed to fight for the values they say they support. The Trump Administration has failed to properly address the crisis that they created and allowed to fester and now Americans will be left to pay for it.
Americans are in for a very difficult 2021 and decade ahead and the worst part is that it was all preventable if this Fyre Festival government would actually do its job.