Politics Magazine

Stimulus Bill Stalled - GOP Doesn't Care About Workers

Posted on the 05 August 2020 by Jobsanger
Stimulus Bill Stalled - GOP Doesn't Care About Workers The Coronavirus continues to rage across the country, preventing a substantial reopening of the economy. This has left millions of Americans out-of-work, and there is little hope of them returning to work until the virus is under control -- something the Trump administration is not even trying to do.
This country is currently in a recession (with the second quarter GDP shrinking by 9.5%). And making matters worse, the enhanced unemployment benefits have run out. This will make the recession even worse as many fall into poverty and face eviction from their homes.
This was foreseeable. The House Democrats passed a stimulus months ago. Sadly, the Republican Senate has not debated or voted on the House bill -- and their intra-party squabbling has prevented them from coming up with a bill of their own (which could be a starting point for negotiations with the Democrats).
Why won't the Republicans act to help American workers and keep the economy from sinking into an even deeper recession. Because they don't care about workers. They are quick to funnel more money to the rich and corporations, but not to help workers (who need help much more than the rich and corporations).
Here is some of what Paul Krugman (winner of the Nobel Prize in economics) says about the GOP intransigence in his New York Times column:
Above all, Republicans seem obsessed with the idea that unemployment benefits are making workers lazy and unwilling to accept jobs.
This would be a bizarre claim even if unemployment benefits really were reducing the incentive to seek work. After all, there are more than 30 million workers receiving benefits, but only five million job openings. No matter how harshly you treat the unemployed, they can’t take jobs that don’t exist.
It’s almost a secondary concern to note that there’s almost no evidence that unemployment benefits are, in fact, discouraging workers from taking jobs. Multiple studies find no significant incentive effect.
And unemployment benefits didn’t prevent the U.S. from adding seven million jobs, most of them for low-wage workers — that is, precisely the workers often receiving more in unemployment than from their normal jobs — during the abortive spring recovery.
By the way, a great majority of economists believe that unemployment benefits have helped sustain the economy as a whole, by supporting consumer spending.
So the attack on unemployment aid is rooted in deep ignorance. But there’s also a strong element of malice.
Republicans have a long history of suggesting that the jobless are moral failures — that they’d rather sit home watching TV than work. And the Trump years have been marked by a relentless assault on programs that help the less fortunate, from Obamacare to food stamps.
One indicator of G.O.P. disingenuousness is the sudden re-emergence of “deficit hawks” claiming that helping the unemployed will add too much to the national debt. I use the scare quotes because as far as I can tell not one of the politicians claiming that we can’t afford to help the unemployed raised any objections to Donald Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.
Nor was disdain for the unlucky the only reason the G.O.P. didn’t want to help Americans in need. The recent Vanity Fair report about why we don’t have a national testing strategy fits with a lot of evidence that Republicans spent months believing that Covid-19 was a blue-state problem, not relevant to people they cared about. By the time they realized that the pandemic was exploding in the Sun Belt, it was too late to avoid disaster.
At this point, then, it’s hard to see how we avoid another gratuitous catastrophe. The fecklessness of the Trump administration and its allies means that millions of Americans will soon be in dire financial straits.

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