Withering State

By: Sean Davis

Photo: Lucas Favre

Through no fault of their own, or more specifically without knowing that a generational pandemic would wipe out jobs from those at every educational level, millions of Americans are unemployed. The numbers rise and dip however several reports put the number as of today to be at somewhere between 30-33 million people sitting at home. Or as many, comfortable, politicians would have the greater public in the United States believe, those confined in their homes are enjoying a months long bath in Scrooge McDuck’s vault. Making more from the $600 weekly enhanced federal stimulus payment – added to the standard unemployment insurance, that’s set to expire days from now – than they were when gainfully employed. That protection will vanish into the atmosphere this week.

The large sum of money Americans are receiving is a disincentive for them “to find work” according to Senate Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) directly. The windfall of free money that 20 million Americans have relied on to keep shelter over their heads and food in their cupboards is seen as too much. Now tie that to the federal eviction moratorium that served to be the only safety net between sleeping in a bed or on a sidewalk and the problem metastasizes. Over the last week there were 1.4 million new claims for unemployment insurance. Further burdening a system unprepared for the sheer mass of needed relief.

Six-hundred dollars each week not only kept people afloat, it spawned an uptick in consumer spending. Politicians tend to tout those numbers as harbingers of an economy on the verge of a positive rebound. A return to something lacking across the world but far more in the U.S.A. directly: A sense of normalcy.

If $600.00 per week is too extravagant and is more than a lot of Americans bring home from their regular place of employment; why isn’t that a problem? That’s an annual salary of $31,200.00. If just under 32k is an upgrade in pay, what are those particular set of Americans that fall into that classification really being paid?

Republicans are set to propose an altered unemployment payout that will drop the $600 each week to $200. With the government dragging their feet while playing with the lives of countrymen, mind you Democrats put forth a plan for their colleagues on the other side of the aisle that’s been idling on someone’s desk for two months, fear is another visitor that so many Americans just won’t be able to fight off. What am I referencing?

The fear of evictions.

COVID-19 exposed a multitude of societal ills. Sores that were once hidden are now under direct sunlight. This current pandemic recession is shaping up to lead to a number of evictions, nationwide, that will further cripple a country that desperately needs to get a victory. Somewhere.

Lawmakers don’t seem to be addressing this looming disaster at all. Do you think a pandemic is hurting the economy and the strength of a once great world power? Let’s make the homeless crisis in America even worse. Who can’t get behind 12 million new homeless people on the street when a silent virus, that too many Americans still don’t take serious enough to do the bare minimum and wear a mask, patiently waits? Let’s see the level of physical distancing then. One problem compounds another, leads to another and spawns…another.

Politicians turn their noses up at a $600 weekly care package. What amount of pay is sufficient to save people that have done everything right, only for a calamity to wipe them out? COVID-19 has broken lives. Some will never be made whole. Many can’t…because they’re dead or loved ones are left behind to grieve them. This will add another unpredictable element to a combustible concoction. Economists are researching the dire numbers of those about to fall even deeper. It’s not looking like a parade.

So, the government wants a swath of new unemployment claims? Got it. Fixing the evictions on the horizon will cost substantially more than what the government’s blessing unfortunate Americans with. What are these politicians doing?

People are out of work because jobs have not returned.

The argument that $600 is a deterrent to fueling the economy and getting the country humming is an error. For a large portion of Americans, the economy isn’t moving in a way that benefits them. Unless you’re at Purell, Zoom, and other video conferencing companies, selling face masks or counting all that Wall Street money from a surplus market when most of America limps along, you’re not feeling secure.

Giving those filing for unemployment insurance the benefit of the doubt, I feel their claims are legitimate. Of course, there are those that will always look to get over. To cut a quick shortcut where they see an opportunity. It’s not always the obvious scumbag pitching schemes. It could just as easily be the trustworthy person strutting around in a clean suit, highly educated, with gleaming credentials.

People don’t want to wait for the government to buoy their financial prospects. Especially one as divided as the one in the United States that favors party affiliation while ignoring those they claim to dutifully serve. A government that will fold up at their leisure and take breaks while rents and mortgage payments sit on the desks of their constituents, injecting fear into their daily lives.

People are hanging on by the weakest of threads. A country that proclaims to lead and scream about unity is ready to turn their backs on everyone barely keeping their mouths above water because they’re such dead-weight on the American economy. Collecting riches of $2,400.00 a month from the American treasure chest is untenable.

We’re not protecting our citizens. No one wanted this scourge in our lives. In America, or across the world. I find it to be a strange duality with our government and how they view the average American compared to big business.

In 2018, Amazon reported $11 billion in U.S. income. Additionally, they claimed a federal tax rebate of $129 million. Their effective tax rate – i.e., the rate at which an individual or corporation is federally taxed on their income – was -1%. That’s not an error. Companies up and down the Fortune 500 enjoy the same perks while hardworking citizens scramble to make sure they’re not in bad standing with the IRS. Did you pay your taxes on time? I bet most of you did. There are penalties if you don’t adhere to the law. We all know that.

Banks can deceive and defraud knowing the government will deploy a golden parachute at all costs. Board members, chairmen and CEOs can run their companies with brazen recklessness. The core reason we had the Great Recession from 2007-2009. They received a slap on the wrist; I wouldn’t even call it that considering they landed comfortably with just under a trillion dollars in free money for a downturn they were culpable for. Fast forward if you will, to our current recession and hardworking, industrious and dedicated people in this country have to fend for themselves. Who cushions their descent?

This is an advanced society?

The country is a socialist haven for the rich. They’re social security, free healthcare, free meals. Socialism for the incredibly rich.

On the other hand, the federal government will draw lines in the sand for those needing help. It’s rugged, rabid, individualism for everyone else. That’s what America truly is. Outside of the suffocating racism targeting Blacks and other people of color.

We’re a fourth-world country in a sharply tailored suit. One we paid for with a maxed out credit card with debilitating interest.

Governments don’t care about people in an individual manner. They care in a very sterile and general way. Look at how quick lawmakers want to send your children back to school. I’m positive they’re not getting their kids ready to walk out to their classes with an invisible dragon lurking. They’ll have private tutors and every, elite, safety measure on this planet. They’ll easily play doctor with your children. The same way that leaders fight wars with the children of their citizens because…they can.

Another branch of the last stimulus package was the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped many but proved to be a lump of dirt for others. The loopholes were exacerbated when the local, small businesses, had problems getting their hands on the grants due to the rich using the program to halt their losses for their companies. Sports franchises, celebrities and many people that didn’t seem to be the target audience took that money. Ensuring those that didn’t learn about the PPP in enough time a guaranteed way to get to the website only to find that the money dried up.

These are the same law officials that Americans worship. Why? Who knows. They don’t really care about your life or your struggles. The ones that do, have their legislation stripped to nothing that by the time the bill they initially proposed passes it looks nothing like it did in its original form. At the end of the day it becomes a gesture and nothing more.

Our society at-large will drag itself on the ground if the worst happens and kids die in droves because they were sent back to school too soon when America hasn’t done the work that other countries have in order to safely educate our young. We won’t really care. History will prove it to be true. Look to Sandy Hook. America will let its young die for political reasons. My word, how disgraceful is that?

Where is it written that America prospers into perpetuity? Can I view that divine decree? How it saves us from every other empire run by humans with all their perfections?

I’m not scared for myself. My concern is for those that did everything right only to wake up and have their careers and jobs halted…or ended once the shutdown stretched out to this current day, in late July. Knowing that their future is in the hands of people they elected, the same people who are in no rush to pass anything to truly help. They stand firm that $600 per week is spoiling those receiving it. The pain is real now. Sure, $200 per week is more than enough to keep a household in top form.

Republicans who voted this administration into power have a role in all this. You do. Republicans, current serving ones, that haven’t stood up to the president should never have a vote cast in their favor for the remainder of their political careers. It’s bad. Shameful. Democrats have failed too. Blame is everywhere.

America is set to fail more of its vulnerable citizens. The same people they plead with for votes – and kick in the face when it’s time to help them. This is that time.

We should just form a bank.

 

Photo by Lucas Favre