Now is the time for us to stand as one. Now is the time for us to be who we are, and who we have shown the world to be, one nation united under God, indivisible as Americans who can do anything and beat any challenge that faces us. Now is not the time for partisan politics.We have been very, very fortunate here at Speedy Concrete Cutting. Our boards have remained full for the most part, and even though we are economizing to brace for the oncoming financial storm, no one has had to suffer catastrophic economic loss. But Americans are suffering, and suffering greatly. The hospitality and food service industries have already taken tremendous hits. One restaurant group has already shed 80% of its total workforce (Union Square Hospitality Group). Unfortunately, my fears are that this will get much worse before it gets better. One needs to look no further than the closed doors of your favorite pub or eatery to see clearly that many, many more of our fellow Americans will be out of work.
The US Congress is currently playing tennis with a bill that would give immediate aid to those in the greatest need but, as has become the status quo, our politicians are focusing on partisan games rather than on serving the American people. What started as a fairly simple, but hugely expensive bill at $1 trillion, has grown to 1,200 pages of side bars and pork projects and nearly doubled in cost.
The “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ bill, or the ‘‘CARES Act,’’ as it's called, is designed to provide immediate relief to those hit hardest by this pandemic and to keep public systems operating through the crisis. Some of the key benefits and components of the bill are:
Direct payments to the American people; $1,200.00 per individual, $2,400.00 per couple and $500.00 for every child.
$350 Billion in relief for small businesses
$250 Billion to bolster unemployment insurance
$100 Billion in immediate aid to the overrun hospital systems
$4.5 Billion to the Center for Disease Control
$11 Billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other preparedness needs
$20 Billion each for the Veteran’s healthcare system and public transportation emergency relief
US Senator Chuck Schumer, D-New York, says that the bill does not contain enough safeguards to ensure that the monies would go to the American worker, and NOT be used by large corporations to secure their own stock or pay outlandish bonuses to CEOs and board members. You won’t hear me say this often, but he’s right! This was a huge problem with the Obama year’s bailout, large corporations used funds to purchase their own stock before the price was inflated from the bailout funds. But he’s only telling you a very small part of the story.
Democrats are using this emergency legislation to force adoption of some of their more controversial and ideologically driven priorities rather than working together to do what’s right at a time of great national emergency. Even if it did pass the Senate in its current form, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, won’t bring it to vote unless those items, completely unrelated to the coronavirus emergency, are included. Some of these items are:
Use of funds to cover private union pension debt and the use of taxpayer money to fund private union pension plans through investment in the stock market.
A requirement of airline companies to give a seat on their board of directors to a union member and new emission standards for the airlines including full carbon offset by 2025.
A provision to provide federal funds, via taxpayer dollars, to forgive the debts of the US Postal system (most of which are a result of their bankrupt pension system) even though postal workers are considered essential and will not experience a work stoppage.
An expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to apply to smaller employers.
Expanded tax credits and incentives for wind and solar power manufacturing companies and contractors.
And of course, $1Billion to build on and expand the program that provides discounted phone service for low-income consumers (the “Obama Phones” program).
Senate Republicans and Democrats did have a tentative agreement on the bill before Pelosi, arriving back to Capitol Hill from recess, said she would introduce her own legislation. Of the Democrats’ efforts to add non-coronavirus items to the bills, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said, “They ought to be embarrassed. This is no time for this nonsense.”
"Today, 102 Americans died while the Democrats blocked consideration of this bill," said Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, "One Texan died while this chamber decided not to show up for work and do their job."
Both the promise and the dysfunction of American politics, and insight to this repulsive game being played was perhaps said best by former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel; “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that (is) it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
To illustrate that point (and this one is really scary); Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, said the coronavirus crisis is “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” That is a quote. In other words, this pandemic gives good cover to impose progressive bureaucracy on an American people facing a devastating financial and health emergency.
I AM NOT saying that Democrats are the only ones to play these games during times of crisis, they are not. But, every time the country faces a crisis, real or perceived, there is a rush in Congress to pass massive bills that go far beyond responding to the matter at hand. These phonebook-sized emergency acts are too long and detailed for any legislator to read and fully comprehend, but you can bet they are stuffed with gimmicks, giveaways, sweetheart deals and ill-advised policies with no bearing on the crisis itself. What I am saying is this; DO YOUR HOMEWORK! If you watch the mainstream media you won't hear any of this stuff. Do your research online (but do be careful what you read there), visit the congressional websites, look at the bills these people are trying to pass, read the voting logs and for God’s sake, KNOW WHO YOU ARE VOTING FOR!
Until next time I wish all of you and your families and loved ones the very best of health. Be safe.