Republicans in Congress right now are fighting each other over how severely they should cut back on unemployment benefits to people out of work because of this administration’s incompetence in handling the coronavirus.
Some Republicans want to do away with the $600 a week altogether, others suggest it should be cut to $100 or $300 a week, and others want to make it some fraction of a person’s previous income, which will produce a math challenge for the Treasury Department that could take months to untangle.
Whatever they decide, the bottom line should be clear to all Americans: Republicans were more than happy to hand more than $3 trillion to billionaires, giant corporations and the very, very wealthy but don’t give a flying flip about America’s working people.
The GOP has been running this scam on working people since the 1980s when Ronald Reagan said that destroying unions and cutting taxes on rich people would lead to “prosperity“ for the working class. It was a lie then, and it is a lie now.
This weekend, various Republicans went on multiple news shows to talk about how they don’t want people making so much money on unemployment that they felt comfortable “sitting at home“ rather than desperately searching for work.
Yet Donald Trump and the GOP governors who follow him have brought us a total, screaming pandemic all across this country. No rational person, given the choice, would choose to expose themselves to a disease that could kill them or, if they’re lucky, only lead to lifelong kidney, heart and brain damage.
Republicans think that the risk of becoming homeless, being unable to pay for healthcare or medications, or going hungry will propel people back to work.
But Republicans don’t want Americans to have that choice. By ending the moratorium on evictions, and allowing the $600 a month unemployment benefit to expire last week, Republicans think that the risk of becoming homeless, being unable to pay for healthcare or medications, or going hungry will propel people back to work.
It may have that effect, but using the threat of homelessness and death from a terrible disease to force people to look for work - particularly when there are no jobs! - is the worst kind of brutality.
This is not new.
In a Republican primary debate some years ago, congressman Ron Paul essentially argued that an injured, unemployed person laying on the street bleeding in front of a hospital should simply be allowed to die if he can’t afford to pay for treatment.
Republicans have worked to screw working people and shovel as much cash as possible to the very rich for longer than most of us have been alive.
From their opposition to Social Security in the 1930s to their fighting vigorously against Medicare in the 1960s to all of their efforts to prevent America from having a simple social safety net like exists in every other developed country in the world, the GOP are simply the party of greedy wealth and privilege.
As a result, today America has a massive and growing homeless problem with homeless mothers and children taking over federal buildings in Philadelphia, tens of thousands of people dying every year because they can’t get access to healthcare, and millions of children going to bed hungry every night.
This coronavirus is not going away anytime soon, regardless of what happens on the vaccine front. We should take this moment as an opportunity to reinvent our political and economic structures to do what should be the first goal of government (and is the first goal of government in most other developed countries), which is ensuring the health and safety and, as the Declaration of Independence says, the “happiness“ of its people.
Only when Americans across-the-board realize that the GOP is simply a scam and a front group for America’s super rich, and vote accordingly, will America have a chance to become a “shining city on the hill.“
Today, instead, much of America is simply the Republican Party’s trash heap.
This article was originally published in BuzzFlash