The America Recovery Act, President Biden’s first $1.9 trillion US COVID-19 stimulus package, will face much the same response President Barack Obama’s Recovery Act did by Republicans.
The Bill is scheduled to be voted out of the US House today, after which it will find its way to the President’s desk to become law.
As has been the case for Democrats, Bill Clinton,& Barack Obama, Joe Biden was elected after Republican [Plutocrats] created a mess, leaving the country in a tailspin.
The last one was far worse than the two previous Republicans to occupy the executive mansion. He left the economy in a tailspin, race-relations near civil-war stages, and an unattended and raging pandemic that took hundreds of thousands of lives on his watch.
It follows a similar pattern, Democrats generate positive economy-growth, using a bottom-up strategy that empowers everyone. Republicans take over; they pass laws giving tax-cuts to the richest one percent of Americans who have no use for the money. The tax cuts do not get plowed back into the economy, so it generates zero positive growth.
In the end, the poorest Americans are left holding the bag to pay for their reckless retrograde policies.
How can people see this and continue to vote against their own interests, when the results are so clear?
I will address that but first, let us see what’s in the Biden Bill that we learned was just approved in the House and headed for the President’s signature on Friday, March 12th.
- The bill provides direct payments to individual US citizens, tax credits for families with children, and hundreds of billions in bailouts for state and local governments, pension funds, small businesses, public schools, and healthcare providers.
- The bill provides an estimated $225bn in one-time, direct payments of up to $1,400 for middle and lower-income Americans. Eligibility was narrowed for the cheques to limit individual taxpayers making $80,000 a year or less.
- The bill includes $350bn for financial aid to states and cities, and tribal governments to cover extra costs and revenue shortfalls incurred during the pandemic. The revised Senate bill seeks to limit how the funds are used, prohibits bailouts of public pension funds, and assures smaller states will get their fair share of the funding.
- The bill provides $130bn in funding for primary and secondary public schools across the next three years to begin to reopen and recover from shutdowns that have caused US students to lose up to a year of their education.
- The bill seeks to reduce child poverty, which had worsened during the pandemic, by expanding the federal child tax credit. The credit is available for taxpayers earning up to $200,000 a year who have a child living in their household for at least half the year. The bill increases the child tax credit to $3,000 from $2,000 and allows it to be paid by the IRS in cash during the second half of the year.
- The bill does not include an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour last set in 2009. The minimum wage varies from state to state but must at least equal the federal standard. The US House of Representatives had approved an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Still, the provision lacked sufficient support in the Senate to overcome procedural hurdles and was removed.
- The bill includes subsidies for health insurance for people who have lost jobs. Under existing US law, those who lose their jobs can remain on their company’s health plan for up to 18 months. The COVID-19 relief bill would provide those people a 100-percent monthly subsidy through the end of September. It also expands the availability of health insurance plans on the government-mandated exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.*The legislation includes $14bn for distribution and supplies of vaccines as the Biden administration pushes to get every US adult vaccinated by the end of May. It also includes $8.5bn for rural healthcare providers, $45bn in rental and mortgage assistance and extends a federal moratorium on evictions through September, and $30bn for public transit agencies.*The legislation also provides continuing funding for the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which gives subsidies to small businesses that pledge to keep employees on their payroll.
One does not need to be an economist to see the benefits to the American people in this bit of legislation that is to become law without a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate.
Republicans in both chambers, will go back to their states and districts where their constituents are suffering from one, or several of the issues addressed in this recovery package, knowing that they did not lift a finger to help them receive a single benefit to offset their woes.
How can they get away with voting against a package that has 61% approval with the American people, and is popular with their own voters, and is not concerned about their intransigence?
When it comes time to vote, they undoubtedly will vote for them, as a block in state after state, even after receiving the benefits their representatives and senators voted against.
In Red states, Republican supporters will vote for their whiteness instead of their interests.
They will continue to support the Republican party that no longer believes in democracy, is willing to commit insurrection to overthrow the process, and set up a plutocracy that does not benefit them.
It is a mindset born out of the four-hundred-plus years of racial superiority that has been planted in their heads by rich planters. The rich and powerful planters and business interests separated them from Blacks based on race in order to maintain control of poor whites.
Out of fear for the burgeoning numbers of enslaved Africans and poor whites, the need to create space between the two groups became paramount.
Even though many were poor and destitute, and even though they resented the rich’s incredible opulence, whites liked the idea of having someone to feel superior to.
Hundreds of years later, like a cowboy’s horse left untethered; they remain unhitched while the cowboy enjoys himself in the salon.
They become useful again when the cowboy needs to ride like hell to get away from the trouble he started in the salon. Today they are needed when it becomes time to vote.
Hundreds of generations later, many of them are no farther along economically, because they are still tethered to the sense that their whiteness is currency.
Their Representatives and Senators fear no blowback from them. They know that their voters would rather have no relief for themselves, than relief for all Americans in need, regardless of race.
Republicans in the House and Senate know that their voters would rather drain the pool than share it.
Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, black achiever honoree, and creator of the blog mikebeckles.com.