With 14.7% unemployment can we agree that all businesses are essential? How about all of us being in this together? Can we agree on that too? The American people might concur. We aren’t the ones calling the shots. Fighting economic devastation is impossible when the ones who create our pandemic strategy are not only fighting each other, but trying to benefit from adversity made worse by politics.
If this were not an election year I suspect the drama would play out much differently. Whether it’s a shallow nod to unity like “Families First”1 or “all Americans first,”2 the truth of the matter is that the strategy being pushed by House and Senate Democrats and too many state governors is Democrats First. That means America will suffer because this is first and foremost not a campaign against COVID-19. This is the same campaign against Donald Trump that has wasted Congress’s time for three and a half years.
Democrats First means look for inspiration in Mexico?
On Cinco de Mayo Nancy Pelosi suggested:
On this special day, let us draw inspiration from our Mexican neighbors’ hard-won victory at the Battle of Puebla in our tireless fight against the coronavirus, and let us continue our work to overcome this unprecedented threat and build a healthier, safer and more prosperous future for all.3
Perhaps I don’t understand because I’m not a Democrat. Why do we need to cross the Mexican border for inspiration when we have so much right here at home? She might have asked that we draw inspiration from Mexican American citizens who are tirelessly battling circumstances and misfortune the likes of which most of us have never seen. Instead, Pelosi’s “prosperous future for all”4 raises the question what does “for all” mean? It doesn’t include anyone who doesn’t agree with a Democrats First agenda that divides us into pander-ready special interests with the excuse that we’re battling hate from the White House:
House Democrats are committed to opposing racism, xenophobia and all forms of hatred that weaken our communities and undermine our response to this deadly pandemic.5
Now we’re getting down to what’s really important.
Democrats wasted no time fighting a national threat with divisive politics. They quickly separated their base into special interests like Asian Americans,6 LGBTQs,7 African Americans,8 and undocumented immigrants.
Why? It makes it easier to attack our COVID-19 response.
Democrats First encourages a special kind of hate
There is one very special type of hate that Democrats First deems acceptable: hatred for President Trump. Encouraging hate by creating a national enemy places this agenda first and foremost in the national spotlight while Americans suffer thanks to a faltering, politicized response to a threat that the failure of state disaster preparedness and hopes for federal bailout funds helped create.
Lower standard of living for unemployed is not relief
How many of our 14.7% jobless are non-essential?
It didn’t take long for Democrats to rally against the president because of an April jobs report that should not have surprised anyone. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) hails from a shutdown state ruled by fellow Democrats. She blamed the president for unemployment and death:
President Trump’s failed leadership over the last few months has been catastrophic—bringing record unemployment, illnesses, and deaths. Worse still, he and his administration have no plan to get this public health crisis under control through a national strategy on testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantining.9
Trump is not the one who segregated Connecticut workers as essential and nonssential.10 DeLauro can thank Democratic Governor Ned Lamont for that.
Chuck Schumer also hails from a Democratic “non-essential businesses” state.11 He joined in from the Senate side and used American misfortune as an opportunity to spread fear about the economy with an attack on Republicans:
Republicans who choose inaction in the face of these historic economic and health crises will be taking the same misguided path as Herbert Hoover.12
There is no excuse or benefit to be had from calling workers non-essential when we have soaring unemployment unless growing the number of welfare recipients is more important than restoring the economy.
$500 per week welfare hopes to trade votes for debt
More spending with CARES2 is already on the table to protect “the life of our democracy:”13
As we work to take the next step, Democrats will always put families and workers first. We will never stop fighting until we have overcome this deadly threat For The People.14
Is this true?
Democrats applauded the Economic Impact Payments despite a long list of problems disbursing the checks that was detailed by the Washington Post.15
According to Reps. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) many Americans still face a long wait for their mini bailout:
Though Treasury is expected to begin releasing stimulus checks this coming week, unbanked Americans and those who have not previously filed direct deposit with the IRS will face weeks or months of delays despite their urgent need of assistance.16
That’s not the kind of action Pelosi promised:
The American people deserve a government-wide, visionary, evidence-based response to address these threats to their lives and their livelihoods, and they need it now.17
Many of us, me included, are still waiting. Fortunately I am still working and don’t need the check. Nor do I need the monthly $2,000 welfare payments The Hill reports are very much on Pelosi’s table for the next round of handouts.
The obvious question is why are we doling out welfare to people who don’t need it? More important, why are we promising even more federal relief without looking at where the money is going and who needs it most?
The recipients list for CARES2 is suspicious:
It [CARES2] must provide strong support for our heroes with robust state, local, territorial and tribal governments on the frontlines of this crisis who desperately need funds to pay the health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs. It must ensure further support for Americans who are losing their jobs and their health coverage.18/sup>
Like the majority of Americans, first responders were working before and they are working now. States and localities that were broke before are even more broke. They charted their own destiny and made it worse by closing down their economies because they were not ready to tackle a public health crisis. State and local debt is not the Federal Government’s fault even if Democrats First argues that bailouts are a priority.
Democrats won’t stand by their own $15.00 livable wage
Nothing threatens a Democrats First agenda like opening up the country and restoring the booming Trump economy they despise. While the White House tries to find ways to put people back on the job, Democrats are talking mass welfare payments that don’t even measure up to their own standards.
This is what Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) propose:
The Emergency Money for the People Act expands relief to more Americans and includes a $2,000 monthly payment to every qualifying American over the age of 16 for up to 12 months. It also fixes a bug in the CARES Act to ensure college students and adults with
disabilities can still receive the payments even if claimed as a dependent.19
The bill is backed by 37 House Democrats and calls for the payments to continue for six months with the option to renew for another six months.20 H.R. 6496 was proposed on April 14, 2020 so in the very unlikely event it passes in May those six months will end right after the November election.
The timing is not a mistake. The error is in the payments. Democrats have harangued businesses for years over their failure to pay a $15.00 livable wage. That works out to $2,600 per month. Since we’re already spending trillions like so much pocket change and plan to spend even more, shouldn’t Democrats First at least stick to one of their party’s most cherished values, the minimum livable wage they demand we inflict on businesses by force of law?
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib asked for $2,000 debit cards for every person in the U.S. including illegal immigrants. The cards would be renewed with monthly $1,000 payments until a full 12 months after the pandemic is past.21
Tlaib plans to fund her program by asking the Treasury to issue $1 trillion platinum coins. Fortunately the threat of the virus spreading on paper money means Germany’s 1920s currency strategy is not an option.
The payments are in addition to yesterday’s call from a trio of Dems to cancel, rather than temporarily suspend a minimum of $30,000 student loan debt per borrower based on an unemployment rate that has absolutely nothing to do with accumulated debt or the racial divide Democrats First exploits:
This public health crisis has unveiled many of the deeply entrenched racial and economic inequities that have plagued our communities for generations.22
Democrats First proves we are not Americans first
While Democrats, Republicans, and the White House spar over relief the loss of life is enormous and growing. Americans can’t pay their bills and taxes. If the $1,200 check from Congress was needed to get by it was gone long ago. The unemployment benefit phone lines are jammed. Retirement accounts have plunged. The pursuit of happiness is gone. The focus is on staying alive and not going bankrupt in the process.
That is the unfortunate hand we were dealt this year. For Washington our misfortunate is an unprecedented opportunity to engage in political brinkmanship the likes of which we have never seen before even during the 2008 recession.
The Democrats First agenda creates an out of control political leviathan so damaging that it threatens to destroy everything generations of Americans have worked for. When we need accountable government from Democrats tugging at our purse strings we get this instead from House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT):
The COVID-19 pandemic should not and cannot become a partisan issue – there are too many lives at risk. We are all Americans first. But the White House’s partisan politics are clearly at play in this decision during our nation’s most challenging public health and economic crisis, and that is both alarming and offensive to the work the American people have elected us to do.23
We are clearly not all Americans first. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer helped prove it when he set the stage for more time wasting congressional investigations:
It is unacceptable that the White House has blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before the House Appropriations Committee while allowing him to testify before the Senate. Though the White House is claiming that it is counter-productive for Members to hear from a key member of the Administration’s coronavirus task force at this time, that could not be further from the truth and it is clear the President is playing partisan games.24
We face one of those pivotal moments that preys on weakness. Fate handed our bloated, too expensive bureaucracy the coronavirus. Now Democrats in Congress want to add to our mountains of unsustainable debt. This isn’t just about Washington, though. It’s also about fiscally irresponsible states that view COVID-19 as an opportunity to get a little extra federal money to pay down problems that have nothing to do with a virus. That’s what led shameless Illinois, a state suffering from a catastrophic accountability deficit, to ask for $10 billion to deal with its pension debt25 while it suffers from one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation.
Escalating deficits will demand a Democrats First tax increase
The Congressional Budget Office delivered some bad news on Friday:
All told, the federal budget deficit was about $1.5 trillion in the first seven months of fiscal year 2020, by CBO’s estimate, $949 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year. Revenues were 10 percent lower and outlays were 29 percent higher through April of this year than during the same seven-month period in fiscal year 2019.< sup>26
Democrats talk about trillions like we used to talk about billions. In the face of a massively escalating deficit and enormous incentives for a politicized national welfare program let’s not forgot how much money they think they can scrape up with a tax increase on the wealthy like Elizabeth Warren’s $2.75 trillion Ultra-Millionaire Tax proposal.27
Why the worst will be over November 4, 2020
It’s not difficult to predict when the worst of the pandemic’s economic fallout will be over. If Donald Trump wins on November 4 and Democrats get trounced in the House it will end very quickly. States will have to get people back to work because the Democrats First agenda that puts the party first and foremost will be dead and with it the bailouts states are counting on to deal with problems they refuse to fix.
In the also catastrophic event that we end up with a Biden presidency and Democratic Congress this crisis will go on for as long as it takes to pass a bill to tax wealthy Americans back into the middle class. When that job is finished the pandemic will end because the real national emergency is political. That means turning Democrats First into law.
Content updated and dust storm image added after original publish date of May 10, 2020.