The Coronavirus has been politicized well before the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic 9 days ago. President Donald Trump claimed Democrat politicians were using his handling of the virus as “their new hoax”.
Chuck Schumer claimed it was incompetent and dangerous that the President reduced our ability to prevent epidemics, proposed cuts to CDC funding, and trusted other Governments including China to handle it. While the number of cases in the United States has nearly reached 20,000, it may be time for politicians to drop the political sparring, get to work, and begin helping their constituents when they need it the most.
President Trump frequently uses a once-thriving economy to support the notion that his presidency has been successful. The coronavirus and sinking oil prices are leading to layoffs and lost wages across the nation and that may erode his economy and support among the working class.
Unemployment claims have climbed 33%. In the week ending March 14, jobless claims jumped 70,000 to reach 281,000. That marks the highest initial claims since September of 2017. Those numbers are likely to worsen over the weeks to come and much of it has to do with decisions to close restaurants, gyms, bars, hotels, malls, and other businesses to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Many Americans are lucky to have $500 in their savings account so they saw a reprieve and breathed a sigh of relief when President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin promised $1,000 or more in check form to Americans in weeks. It is tough, if not impossible, to blame the Americans who never brought this on themselves.
Would the server at Punch Bowl Social or the chef at Elmer’s Restaurant have made the same decision? These individuals and countless others have found themselves in a frightening situation with both companies closing stores and laying off hundreds of workers this week. They’re not the only ones.
Apache Corp is preparing for layoffs in Texas, Art Van laid off earlier than expected and ended health insurance benefits, Nexteer layoffs will begin on Monday. Vacasa announced large-scale layoffs, Powell’s City of Books, Tenaris, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, and countless others are closing shop and laying off workers.
A $1,200 check could’ve held them over until their unemployment benefits kicked in. When the President and his Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced they were cutting checks to Americans, many felt relieved they would be able to survive until the pandemic passes, businesses reopen, and they’re able to find work again.
After the announcement, Trump went one step further saying there will be “much more” coming to Americans.
“We’re not talking about $1,000, we’re talking about much more than that.”
Now, it seems Americans were taken for a ride once again as many find out they’re going to be left out. They’ll sit on the sideline as their wealthier neighbors receive significant handouts.
Today, additional information about the rebate checks was released to the public and it tells a different story to the one Trump and Mnuchin were telling earlier this week. The benefits received would depend on someone’s 2018 tax return.
The 247-page McConnell CARES Act has already received ridicule from Democrats who say it doesn’t go far enough. In a joint statement, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer say “it is not at all pro-worker and instead puts corporations way ahead of workers”.
The rebate will phase out at $75,000 for singles and $150,000 for joint taxpayers at a rate of 5% per dollar of qualified income. Taxpayers earning $75,000 may receive a one-time stipend of $1,200 and couples earning $150,000 may receive a one-time stipend of $2,400. And also, there would be a $500 payment for each child.
The purposed amount will depend on the taxpayer’s 2018 tax return. The least someone will receive is $600 and that includes people who have an income tax liability of $600 or below.
For an individual with a tax liability between $600 and $1,200, they would receive the amount of their tax liability. So, if they paid $750 in taxes, they’ll possibly get that money back.
It seems the Republican plan aims to give more money to the wealthy and less to those who really need it. Many who do not file income taxes will likely not receive a check at all.
So far, it appears that the McConnel CARES Act leaves out many. Some individuals including those receiving Social Security benefits or welfare may be excluded.
It is said that the stipend will automatically be deposited in the bank account used to receive or pay for the 2018 tax refund. Unfortunately, several problems and questions linger leading many to believe the plan was rushed and remains unfair.
Unfortunately, many do not think it is enough considering most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck as is. The decisions to close businesses, shelter in place, and social distance were not made by hardworking Americans. The rebate is expected to decrease federal revenue by as much as $248 billion in 2020.
The promises were made all week but it seems that they have already been broken. A $600 stipend is likely not enough to cover the cost of rent in New York City, Los Angeles, or elsewhere.
The average apartment rent in Baltimore Maryland is $1,268 while New York is $2,891. Right now, many Americans are concerned about the growing pandemic, distancing themselves from others, and putting food on the table for their loved ones and children.
Others are losing sleep as they receive pink slips since they don’t know where their next meal will come from. Unfortunately, that $600 is not going to be enough to help and it likely won’t boost the economy in the least.
Should the bill pass, there is a good chance it will have a lasting impact on the political climate in America. The draft of the bill can be found here.