Mitt Romney Wants To Give YOU $1,000 Plus An Obamaphone!
The House passed a coronavirus relief bill late Friday, but the Senate couldn't be bothered with it because Republicans had big weekend plans. It's not like there's a global pandemic devastating the nation's economy. The Senate is back in session and ready to get down to business, which involves pissing on the House bill.
Tom Cotton — the worst senator not currently in quarantine — declared on "Fox & Friends" this morning that the House bill is likely not to pass because it just plain doesn't do enough for average Americans. This led Huffington Post reporter Zach Carter to seriously claim Cotton's comments, which you should totally trust, puts him to the left of Nancy Pelosi on economic policy. I know it's increasingly harder to recall a time before the coronavirus outbreak, but Tom Cotton isn't Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi isn't, well, TOM COTTON. Some perspective, people. It's like media dudes will take any opportunity to diss the Pelosi.
We've mailed Carter a signed edition of Saturday's Wonkette, where we clearly explain that it was Republicans who watered down the House bill. It's not the fault of “Democratic Party leadership" that Republicans exist. That's on God and people who vote for Republicans.
COTTON: There are too many gaps in coverage for the smallest businesses and for medium-sized businesses. And I and a lot of other senators who I've spoken to over the weekend are worried that we're not doing enough to get cash into the hands of affected workers and families quickly. So we're going to be focused this week on how to do just that.
It's true that this disaster has degenerated quickly. Paid sick leave — while crucial — doesn't address the looming economic collapse as a result of literally everything shutting down except for drive-thru Costcos. Still, the clock is ticking. This isn't some everyday infrastructure bill. If Cotton had issues with its scope, he should've talked to the House Republicans who were forcing the bill in the opposite direction.
COTTON: If you've got the virus, if you've been quarantined, if your business has shut down, or even if you have to stay at home because you have a child whose school has closed, you should not worry about buying the groceries, making the car payments, paying your rent. We're going to do everything we can to get cash into the hands of affected workers & families as quickly as possible so we can all get through this pandemic together.
It's like Cotton's been infected with the spirit of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. One "practical progressive" idea he shared with the “Fox & Friends" panel was refunds from the Treasury Department for all 2018 taxpayers. But what about the 47 percent of deadbeats who don't pay taxes? Mitt Romney — their biggest fan — wants to just send them money! It's what your conservative relatives used to claim Barack Obama was going to do for black people.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposed a universal basic income last year, and now Romney's joined the Yang Gang. This is a shocking shift from standard conservative orthodoxy. Their theory was always that if you made life less Dickensian for poor people, they wouldn't work. They'd just sit around at home and watch Netflix on their big-screen TVs. Yet, when the coronavirus hit, everyone wanted hourly workers to do just that — stay home! Don't go to your jobs! Hey, what do you know? Poor people aren't moochers without a work ethic. Maybe a sensible safety net is a good thing, so that the working class aren't walking the tightrope over financial ruin even in a supposed “boom" economy. I wonder what 2020 Romney would say to 2012 Romney, who boasted he “wasn't concerned about the very poor" and thought the existing safety net was just fine.
Romney — who I repeat is a Republican — is advocating straight-up liberal solutions to this crisis. His proposals aren't just tax giveaways or injections of funds to businesses under the theory that this will encourage them to hire people. It's direct support to the most financially vulnerable.
Cotton is whipping up opposition to Pelosi's House bill. He argues that the Senate should “think bigger." He wants to “expand and loosen criteria" for welfare programs, so the surge of expected Americans who'll need assistance can receive it quickly. Cotton's motto is “Cash to workers. Loan to businesses. Keep it simple. Make it fast." (He's still blaming China for the coronavirus more than America's incompetence containing it, but you can't have everything.)
This all speaks to the lack of coordination from the federal government (looking at you, Trump administration) and hard-working governors at ground zero of the pandemic. If Trump listened to experts, he'd have known a total economic shutdown was almost inevitable. A competent administration could've prepared the nation for this — not individual governors taking the necessary lead themselves. Now Pelosi got stuck with a banana in her tailpipe. She owned a bill that weekend events arguably made irrelevant.
Americans who've lost their jobs or fear losing their businesses don't want Friday's bill. They'd wipe their ass with that bill and save the toilet paper. Generally speaking, Americans will always prefer the bill that gives them $1,000 over the one that spares fucking McDonald's the burden of paid sick leave. And that's why you should never trust Republicans.
Seriously, Mitt Romney wants to give me money. What a world.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).