The ‘COVID Relief Bill’ carries some ugly stains
So, since we last talked, our elected leaders in Washington approved spending $1.9 trillion of our money on a “COVID relief bill.”
Of course, only 9 percent of the bill relates directly to the pandemic and only 1 percent of it relates to manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine that is ending the pandemic.
But if they don’t care that this bill costs each taxpayer about $6,000, why would they care about other meaningful statistics?
When you get your $1,400 stimulus check, remember you could have gotten the same check with a bill one third this size, but it was rejected by President Biden and whoever is pulling his strings. That stimulus check-small business-vaccine bill suggested by 10 Republican senators would have had the votes of at least 60 senators (President Trump’s previous COVID bills had between 90 and 95 votes).
But who needs to fulfill promises of unity when 50 Democratic senators have the power to bail out the self-created debt of New York and other states, cities and public pension plans to the tune of $350 billion.
And, of course, states that shut down too long and therefore had the highest unemployment or schools that closed too long were heavily compensated, while states that handled the pandemic correctly were not.
But this is an “emergency,” we’ve been told.
Well, an emergency would have been in the late summer, when the vaccine was not yet available and hospitalityzation and daily death counts were more foreboding. But according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it was important then to not give a victory to President Trump. Beyond that naked priority of politics over the American people, there is the matter of $1 trillion from previous pandemic legislation that has not yet been spent.
But these are just facts. After the major media puts them in the washing machine and bleaches them with their protective, politcized product, this lazy payback to partisan interests will be presented as problem-solving.
But problem solving would be Texas and Mississippi governors announcing their states were reopening for business and dropping mask mandates based on two months of health statistics showing a sharp downturn in the pandemic since distribution of the vaccine started.
This was termed “neanderthal thinking” by President Biden. Two days later, Connecticut’s Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont similarly lifted most of the business restrictions in that state. He received no such label.
What is neanderthal is stopping construction of a wall at our Mexican border and allowing illegal, non-vaccinated immigrant caravans to flood through our communities — while the National Guard is deployed as a pseudowall at the Capital. This is disseminated as the heroic reforming of inhumane immigration policy and necessary protection against Far Right crazies.
Democratic Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar knows better. He says the recent surge in response to President Biden’s promises to open the country’s borders has overwhelmed customs and border agents, communities, non-profits and local governments. He urged the administration to coordinate a strategy so communities do not continue to shoulder the burden of taking care of migrants during a pandemic. He knows open borders are not humane borders.
What is neanderthal is self-creating pandemic-related problems. Too many businesses were shut down or overly restricted too long. Too many schools in urban areas have been too slow to reopen, with unrealistic wishes of some teacher unions favored over the health realities of COVID and the needs of kids, particularly low-income and minority students.
In the name of the more than a half million people who died from this pandemic, the health care workers and scientists who have cared for everyone and developed a vaccine and the parents, school children and small business people who have dealt with the COVID fallout, our country desperately needs more adults in the room such as Gov. Lamont and Rep. Cuellar.
Has anyone from the Biden administration or the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party sat down with a border agent or the mayor of a small city in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas near our southern border? Has anyone sat down with a single mom trying to hold a job while supervising the at-home education of children unnecessarily prevented from getting back to school? Has anyone swallowed their pride long enough to go to Florida and review how that state handled the pandemic so much better than others? If they want friendlier turf, they can pick Gov. Lamont’s brain.
From COVID handling to immigration to free speech and election regulations, we are sliding backwards\ as a country because political party has been put ahead of the American people. At different times in our history both parties have been guilty of this sin, but the stain on our democracy has never been as obvious as it is now.
David F. Troisi is retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette.