Oh, Now The GOP Cares About Deficits? Bitch, Please.
Officially, US unemployment is now at 14.7 percent. Unofficially it is ... too horrible to contemplate, and rising. With pressure mounting for another trillion-dollar stimulus bill to help Americans who were laid off because Donald Trump couldn't be bothered to prepare for coronavirus beyond one, useless order to exclude Chinese nationals, the GOP has rediscovered its horror of deficit spending.
They didn't give a rat's ass about going into the red to pass Trump's tax giveaway for rich people and corporations. And the GOP never hesitates to put defense spending on the old credit card. But when it comes to helping poor and middle class people, this aggression will not stand, man!
Over at the White House, the Tea Party loons are balking at the prospect of bailing out the states, hoping to pivot instead to finally ramming through those cuts to entitlement spending they've had their eye on forever.
The Washington Post reports that a paper from a pair of conservative economists at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution proposes to give Americans a whopping $5,000 today if they'll just agree to delay accessing their Social Security. Additionally, the Post reports that the so-called "Eagle Plan" supports an "overhaul of federal retirement programs in exchange for upfront payments to some workers," which sounds suspiciously like a way to gut federal pensions.
The proposal calls for giving Americans $10,000 upfront in exchange for curbing their federal retirement benefits, such as Social Security, the report says.
Hey, doesn't this plan sound just like Ivanka's cool idea to "pay for" maternity leave by letting women borrow from their own Social Security? But Art Laffer approves of it heartily, so you know it's got to be great! And by "great," we mean a crock of shit designed to screw the poor. Half the White House has read this amazing proposal, but spokesman Hogan Higglegiggle swears on his stack of meticulously ironed Nascar T-shirts that Donald Trump would never, not ever cut the benefits Americans have already bought with payroll taxes.
"The mere thought of this so-called 'plan' is ludicrous on its face," Gidley told the Post. "President Trump has been clear that while he is in office, the American people can feel secure without a shadow of a doubt that he will completely protect Social Security and Medicare — end of story, full stop." Note that he didn't mention Medicaid or federal pensions.
Meanwhile, over in Congress, the GOP has suddenly rediscovered religion on deficits.
"We've got to figure out now how we're going to pay for it," Florida Senator Rick Scott, whose company perpetrated one of the largest Medicare frauds in history, told Bloomberg. Otherwise, "we're going to ruin this economy."
How can you "ruin" an economy where real unemployment is at 20 percent and rising? The senator did not say. But he did arglebargle some nonsense about not bailing out those irresponsible blue states because, when Florida gets hurricane relief, it also has to chip in to the pot. Which makes complete sense if you pretend that New York hasn't already spent billions of dollars on healthcare for covid patients.
Democrats are extremely not here for this shit. Trump's plan to cut payroll taxes during the pandemic, aside from being exactly zero help to the unemployed Americans who need it the most, is yet another way to allow us to pay for the recovery by stealing from our own retirement. That's DOA in the House, with Nancy Pelosi pointing to Fed Chair Jerome Powell's insistence that you can't worry about deficits when the economy is in free fall. Particularly when the GOP didn't give a crap about them in 2017 when the economy was good and they jammed through a tax cut that shoved us $1 trillion into the red.
"They moved the goalposts in the wrong direction when they passed that tax cut that went disproportionately to big corporations," Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen told Bloomberg. "That's set back any serious effort for the foreseeable future."
Which puts us back exactly where we started. With Mitch McConnell, whose own state just hit 32 percent unemployment, saying he doesn't intend to pass any further stimulus. Nancy Pelosi, who knows that he's full of shit, is working to craft a plan that at least reflects Democratic priorities before they get murdered by the Grim Reaper. And Donald Trump parked on his keister in front of the television, retweeting Q-Anon loons and barfing out nonsense about a Democratic conspiracy.
Every day, just like the last. Just a little bit worse.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.