By David Glenn Cox
A Facebook Meme asked, do you like surprises? An obviously loaded question but I went to my mailbox the other day and got a surprise. A surprise letter in a plain white envelope and the return address said, Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service. The Facebook meme flashed in my brain with decidedly negative implications. The thought raced through my brain as my heart pounded, “What did I do now?”
I opened the envelope and much to my surprise the title on the letter read: THE WHITE HOUSE. Your Economic Impact Payment has arrived. Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider myself to be sort of observant. If you put twelve hundred dollars into my pitiful checking account, I’ll notice it every time. And if I haven’t noticed fresh money in three weeks chances are, I couldn’t read the letter anyway.
“Our great country is experiencing an unprecedented public health and economic challenge as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.” Is this news to anyone?
It reminds me of the Terry Gilliam film “Brazil” about a dystopic society. This is your receipt, and this is your receipt for your receipt. The letter is to advise you that we have sent you money three weeks ago. If you did not receive the money fill out the appropriate paperwork and we will send you more money. The letter included a genuine copy of the President’s Sharpie signature. Just in case I forgot who lived in the White House.
“Every citizen should take tremendous pride in the selflessness, courage and compassion of our people. America’s drive, determination, innovation, and sheer willpower have conquered every previous challenge— and they will conquer this one too. Just as we have before, America will triumph yet again—and rise to new heights of greatness.”
From the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam!
Three million more Americans filed for unemployment this week bringing the running total up to thirty-three million people. More Americans than the entire state of Texas are now unemployed. Mitch McConnell and the Republicans fear unemployment benefits are too generous, and you bunch of good for nothing lay abouts won’t look for work. And here I was all excited about triumphing and conquering and shit. But because of the unprecedented emergency state unemployment offices are swamped and most of the thirty-three million unemployed have received…nothing.
I’m very grateful for the stimulus money but Houston, we’ve got a problem. In most places, twelve hundred dollars won’t pay the rent on a two-bedroom apartment and the days are peeling of the calendar. Think of it like this. Thirty-three million tanks of gas not purchased each week. Federal Motor fuel taxes fund highway construction projects. Sales taxes support local government and no bucks means no Buck Rodgers.
“In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.
In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.
More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The fundamental strength of the economy is unimpaired.” – Donald Trump
Many states are rapidly running out of unemployment funds as the Republicans in Congress are dithering at another round of stimulus. When Cortez and his men were surrounded by the Aztecs, they faced a choice. They could run for it and probably escape but they would have to leave behind all the gold they had looted. Moscow Mitch faces a similar predicament; spend the money and you might save yourself. Hoard the money and face disaster.
The fundamental strength of our economy is impaired. Our economy is seventy percent driven by consumer spending and thirty-three million Americans are unemployed. Herbert Hoover thought the answer was to make loans to big business to restart their factories but without customers with purchasing power who could buy their products?
Republicans then like Republicans now were against any direct aid to Americans. Because we are untrustworthy scum that don’t really want a job anyway. We are scum to be scrapped from the bottom of their shoes. After giving billions to corporate America Republicans now offer, we must take a wait and see approach.
They wait and we see! America’s food pantries were overburdened with the economic casualties from “the best economy ever!” before. For a United States Senator to question assisting the states and the people during an unprecedented national emergency is tantamount to treason. Treason with a poison pill attached. When states and municipalities begin defaulting on trillions of dollars in debt what good is a bank bailout going to do?
The bond market will be reduced to the level of the defeated Confederacy. It is unimaginable, and Republicans who once felt confident in keeping control of the Senate are now packing to go bags. The irony of using insider knowledge to preserve their wealth while undermining the value of the currency.
Let’s take a scenario, say your state defaults on its loan obligations. Then your state runs out of funding for unemployment and SNAP. Due to high unemployment and low sales tax collections your state lays off employees exacerbating the very problem it is trying to solve. These millions of people in your state are destitute and can’t pay their bills as the snowball picks up volume and velocity.
Now imagine that same scenario in your neighbor state followed by fifteen or twenty more states. And the value of the US dollar would be? The dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government, blow that credit and you blow your dollar. No foreign investor would ever invest a shekel in government bonds again. The cycle would rinse and repeat circling the drain in a nightmare of Capitalism’s mainspring coming unsprung hanging them and us for their own miserliness.
Every country is three days from revolution. The stomach is an ungrateful wretch.