Yesterday Senate Majority Chief Mitch MCconnell introduced he will probably be bringing to vote within the Senate this week two stand-alone COVID-19 aid packages. On Tuesday, he’ll put to vote a Paycheck Safety Program invoice to assist small companies, and on Wednesday he’ll convey again the identical $500 billion stimulus package deal Democrats rejected final month.
Democrats have repeatedly pressed for a way more complete plan offering extra funding for a COVID-19 testing and, specifically, funding for state and native municipalities which have been hit doubly onerous by the pandemic, struggling lack of vital revenues due to the financial slow-down whereas additionally incurring substantial bills to deal with the results of the pandemic. Months in the past a $2.2 trillion greenback aid invoice, the HEROES act, handed within the Home, solely to languish on McConnell’s desk, by no means coming to a vote within the Senate.
It would initially seem to be a good suggestion for Senate Democrats to move aid payments piecemeal in an effort to get help to as many struggling Individuals as attainable as quickly as humanly attainable. Certainly, with the current drying up of aid advantages handed earlier within the yr, eight million extra Individuals fell into poverty. The necessity is dire.
And but, what McConnell and the GOP are attempting to do with these stand-alone payments is exactly to play favorites and have the appropriate to select and select precisely which individuals or sectors will probably be favored with aid funding and which can, successfully, be punished by being excluded from their payments. Have been the Democrats to approve these aid packages in isolation, the Republicans might merely stroll away from upcoming payments representing different discrete items of a complete and total package deal designed to deal with the wants of all struggling Individuals.
Funding for state and native governments has been the largest goal for Trump, McConnell, and the GOP.
Certainly, as Claire Hansen reported for U.S. Information and World Report final week, chronicling discussions between Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin:
Mnuchin mentioned Wednesday that there was not solely disagreement over the top-line price of the package deal but in addition over particular coverage provisions inside the invoice, together with the funding for states and localities. Trump has repeatedly signaled his resistance to “bailing out” states and cities run by Democratic leaders.
The dynamic right here is obvious. Trump, McConnell, and the GOP are dedicated to representing and serving solely a part of America, what some have referred to as Trump’s “United Base of America.”
The assault on states, we have to acknowledge, has constructed into it one other goal—unionized public staff who typically have state-funded pensions.
And this assault on public-sector staff is equally an assault on all of us dwelling states, because it means states might not have the ability to pay for lecturers, firefighters, cops, and a complete vary of significant providers upon which all of us rely for roads, parks, libraries, public colleges, reasonably priced state universities, clear water provides, police and fireplace safety, rubbish pick-up, snow removing, public well being providers, and extra.
We have now to marvel: why wouldn’t the federal authorities present related help to states dropping out on key revenues due to the pandemic so lecturers can maintain educating youngsters, police can maintain the peace, staff can preserve infrastructure, hospitals can obtain help, firefighters can handle emergencies, and so forth?
These providers could also be way more important than the t-shirt store down the block. So why is funding states and serving to to maintain state staff employed and thus important providers obtainable to folks, such a problem?
Whereas McConnell and the GOP wish to shield the paychecks of staff within the personal sector, public-sector staff will, of their plan, be frolicked to dry, as will all of us relying on the important providers these staff present.
In earlier iterations of aid funding proposals, McConnell has merely mentioned he refuses to bail out states who’ve created their very own fiscal issues by way of mismanagement and underfunding pension methods. He thinks states ought to declare chapter, though it’s really unlawful for states to declare chapter and default on obligations, together with pension obligations.
As I’ve defined elsewhere within the pages of PoliticusUsa, McConell is definitely exploiting this second—and Individuals’ struggling—to pursue his long-desired political plot of getting states, significantly blue states with strong public sectors and a considerable unionized workforce, underneath the funds jurisdiction of the Federal judicial system. Chapter proceedings are overseen by federal courts, so if McConnell can move laws permitting states to declare chapter, he can get these blue state budgets—and in addition their governing insurance policies—underneath federal management.
We are able to see that these actions are merely nefarious political maneuverings after we contemplate the current previous.
First, bear in mind again within the Nice Recession when banks behaved badly, irresponsibly issuing poisonous loans and mortgage-backed securities and derivatives, resulting in the close to whole collapse of the U.S. financial system? They weren’t punished for his or her habits, for “issues they created for themselves.” They have been bailed out supposedly to avoid wasting the financial system, as a result of they have been “too massive to fail,” although many Individuals nonetheless suffered foreclosures, eviction, and job loss.
If states are having hassle funding pensions, nicely, at the least that’s an issue brought on by making an attempt to assist folks stay a dignified retirement. Whereas banks created their issues within the Nice Recession as a result of they have been grasping and making an attempt to tear folks off.
Furthermore, aren’t states too massive to fail, additionally? States shedding staff and being unable to offer fundamental providers and preserve infrastructure, will probably be an enormous hit to the financial system.
Trump, McConnell, and the GOP, although, merely aren’t fascinated by the financial system and other people’s dire wants in these methods.
They’re too busy politicizing this example and in search of vengeance of their political enemies—a mode of governing that inevitably harms the American folks, leaving us frolicked to dry.
Tim Libretti is a professor of U.S. literature and tradition at a state college in Chicago. A protracted-time progressive voice, he has revealed many educational and journalistic articles on tradition, class, race, gender, and politics, for which he has acquired awards from the Working Class Research Affiliation, the Worldwide Labor Communications Affiliation, the Nationwide Federation of Press Girls, and the Illinois Girl’s Press Affiliation.