The 600 Dollar Direct Payment To Americans
Category: Op/EdBy: john-russell • one month ago • 180 comments
Some interesting tidbits about the recently "announced" direct payment to middle and lower income Americans ( it is believed that approval for these 600 dollar checks to individuals will occur in the next day or two as part of the new covid relief bill).
Stimulus checks for "all" were thought to be a dead issue as the weeks before the holiday break by Congress rolled by, but it was revived, apparently successfully, by mainly, Bernie Sanders and the freshman Republican senator Josh Hawley of Missouri.
As the deadline drew near, reports are that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave his blessing to the direct checks because he had grown fearful about the effect the issue was having on the special senate elections in Georgia. Kelly Loeffler , one of the GOP candidates in Georgia, was reportedly tongue tied when asked in a debate to give a sum of money she was willing to approve to send to those economically suffering because of the pandemic economy. McConnell knows that most people are willing to spend (as a nation) a few hundred billion dollars to help struggling people.
But there is an ideological component to all this. "Fiscal conservatives" are worried about the addition to the national debt. I heard that Joe Manchin, a senator from West Virginia who represents one of the poorest states in the country , got into a "heated exchange" with Sen. Bernie Sanders yesterday over the prospect of giving individual Americans 600 dollars each. Manchin reportedly told Sanders that the bill should include extended unemployment insurance OR the 600 dollar stimulus checks, BUT NOT BOTH. And Manchin is a Democrat. But he wants to be "fiscally responsible". I also heard that some Republicans involved in the discussions of the covid relief plan wanted to make it so individuals could accept unemployment insurance payments or they could accept the 600 dollars stimulus check, but not both. They called it "double dipping" to accept both.
The truth is that , McConnell's worries about Georgia aside, conservatives have a gnawing fear here. Direct payments from the government to individual citizens have the opening spark of a Universal Basic Income movement in them, or so some conservatives think. The government of the United States is set up to help business and part of helping business is convincing workers that they owe their livelihood to the benevolence of corporations and consumerism. Some conservatives and others who are "fiscally conservative" would rather see some Americans starve, or at least suffer want, rather than use the government to disperse an element of universal economic sustenance to the population.
That's fine, everyone should work, and our national ethic at this time needs to be to require the able bodied to work. But what is going to happen over the next 60-80 years, as many tens of millions of jobs are permanently lost to artificial intelligence and automation?
Are gimmicks like Bitcoin going to prevent poverty and income inequality or exacerbate it ?