Congress Must Act Now to Help Workers

Or cause more human suffering during an already trying time.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

There’s an easy explanation for what is going on with the legislation Congress was going to immediately pass to help people through this crisis. It’s more than just partisan politics, because it goes beyond politics. But it’s still easy to understand. The problem is deeply held and seemingly uncompromising differences over the role of government in a capitalist democratic republic.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to give the lion’s share of the proposed two trillion stimulus to be allocated to corporations and businesses. He wants to pad their pockets and put public money in businesses so the rich can get richer. But that’s not exactly how he and the republicans try to explain it.

Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer want to give most of it to workers. Democrats don’t want to continue using money contributed mostly by the taxes of the working class to prop up the rich. They believe the welfare of laid-off workers is the priority. They want the money to go to those working people who have lost their source of income.

It is more than partisan politics. It is a fierce battle of ideological differences. It is fundamental beliefs about society that are anything but compatible.

The false trickle-down theory is still embraced by the GOP.

Republicans want to help the rich, and still subscribe to the “trickle down” economic theory. They think, or at least say, that making the rich richer will “trickle down” and create more jobs, higher salaries, and ultimately help workers, too.

It doesn’t work, it never has, and never will because… so many reasons. But mostly because the big corporations that the rich own keep their money at the very top. They use it for stock buy backs and to overpay executives. Workers make them rich, but are not rewarded fairly in terms of higher pay or better benefits. The big bucks go to CEOs.

If McConnell’s bill passes public money will be used to prop up private enterprises such as the airline industry.

Thingamajigs are not profitable if the people can’t afford to buy them.

Republicans have never been able to get it, or at least admit, that business and the economy cannot flourish if workers have no money to buy what the rich are selling. Big corporations can acquire or make all the thingamajigs in the world, but if the people can’t afford to buy their thingamajigs, they won’t profit. There will be nothing for the rich to prey upon if the working class has no money in their pockets.

Republicans have never been able to figure out that money goes up to feed business, and not the other way around. The rich get rich selling services, merchandise, etc., only if wage earners have enough money to buy their stuff. The economy flourishes when consumers can buy more than beans, rice and a seat on the sidewalk.

The Democrats think the key to a good economy is a well-paid and insured working class.

The Democratic Party’s agenda is to invest in working people and give poor people a hand up so they have enough money or can make enough money to not only survive, but become consumers. The working class must be healthy and have buying power to make commerce strong, according to the Democrats.

They are concerned that the pandemic will be used as another way to enrich the already rich, like the huge tax cuts Republicans got for the richest people and corporations. After all, the nation just spent over one trillion so the rich and their corporations could pay less taxes.

Democrats believe that when working people are well paid and helped to rise, commerce will ultimately benefit. Working people with the ability to earn and spend money feeds the economy and raises the market.

The working class must spend money on things the rich don’t need.

Rich people hoard money at the top that they do not have to spend. Rich folks don’t have to make car payments and thus pay interest. They also don’t live in places with insufficient insulation and drafty windows that run up utility bills and require repair, they don’t buy cheap merchandise that will need to be often replaced except to sell to the working class, and they don’t have to spend money to keep older cars running, just to name a few things the rich don’t have to spend their money for. The middle class — the working class — puts money into the economy because the must spend to live. The rich just get richer — which helps nobody down the line.

The parties never agree, of course. It’s been that way for a long time now and it’s not apt to change. Republicans believe if they further enrich the upper class, the entire economy benefits. That has been proven untrue. It’s the ability of millions of workers to buy homes, cars, and everything else that creates a good economy.

The primary difference between the political parties right now is that everything Republicans do is for the people on top. The Democratics want to help everyone except the rich — because they fear the growing inequity is of utmost concern, not to mention wealthy people in this country can use some of their money to get through the pandemic on their own.

The stock market is not the only indicator of the condition of the economy. Democratics say the real measure is whether a wage-earner can afford all their needs and at least some of their wants. They believe the first duty of government and primary use of public money is to directly help the working class and poor people.

That’s a wide difference with very little neutral ground in between.

While McConnell and the Republicans are willing to spend the country deeper into debt trying to replace business losses, private non-rich citizens will suffer. The suffering of the poor and middle class is not like that of the rich when their net worth falls or they stop making as much money. The rich already have more than they’ll ever need. It is very different for the working class and poor.

People will suffer while Congress fights.

Workers will suffer along with their children, if Congress doesn’t get something passed right now. Laid off workers will suffer because they don’t have enough money during this pandemic to buy food or medicine, pay rent, pay utilities or make car payments while they’re forced to be off work. And when this is over, they’ll be in much worse financial condition.

People who don’t have investments or even savings are not concerned about their net worth. They are just trying to have food and shelter and hold on to what they have.

…nothing but lint in the workers’ pockets, and the rich will be impacted, too.

Republicans don’t care if the old and poor die. They should care, though, because if not for the working class, the rich couldn’t continue sucking all the hard-earned money out of the pockets of workers. Are their any figures on how many grandparents are raising grandchildren or at least babysitting so their parents can work?

Not to even mention big corporations suck any government aid awarded the poor and disabled out of their ragged pockets through predatory practices and pricing.

If Congress doesn’t quickly pass a clean bill to meet people’s immediate needs, there will be nothing but lint in the workers’ pockets and the rich will be feel that, too. The problems this country faces will be exacerbated the top one or two percent can’t keep themselves rich. It’s the other 98 percent who do.

Business and industry is necessary in our capitalist nation, and it must do well to keep the country strong. But it can’t be the first concern when there are opportunities for business to stay afloat. Who is it always accused she’d of living on government handouts? It’s not who many conservatives think. It’s big corporations that take huge government handouts — like the tax cuts — and then suck the life from the economy and the people.

It should be remembered that before this crisis most prices were rising. Inflation was on the horizon and that hurts the working class the most. People were worried about high gas prices and grocery items being 25 to 50% higher.

Why can’t Congress pass one bill just to help workers replace lost wages?

Why can’t congress quickly pass a bill just to take care of survival needs and replace some lost wages? They could then try to create a second bill to aid adversely affected businesses and industry, if it was reasonable enough to get by the Democrats.

Congress needs to pass a bill to help workers right now. That would also help businesses through the crisis because it would retain some of family and individual buying power.

America needs it done now.

Taking care of the primary needs of people is the first responsibility of government in a situation like this. They can fight about the rest later, but send out the checks now to those who can’t wait three months to buy groceries and pay utility bills. Every day they wait is another day of stress for America’s working citizens.

The citizens — voters — are sure to remember who worked for them. After all, the election looms. It’s a good bet a lot of lawmakers are going home if they don’t take care of the people. Now.

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.

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