Right-Wing Economic Assholes Need To Self-Quarantine Their Mouths Until Pandemic Ends
The economy's about to collapse. Millions of people are losing their jobs. But free market, conservative whiz kids Stephen Moore, Art Laffer, and Steve Forbes are on the job. America has a quite literal fever, and the only cure is ... more tax cuts. Yeah, these Heritage Foundation geniuses are prescribing massive payroll cuts as a fix to the inevitable recession (that's if we're lucky and avoid a sepia-toned economic depression). Don't know how often we have to tell Flat Earth flat taxers that payroll tax cuts aren't much benefit to all the people who are no longer on payrolls.
They also released the following Scrooge-like joint statement. “Are there no prisons?"
The government has (rightly) discouraged all work that you can't do inside your own private bubble from Idaho. Not a single newly unemployed bartender or restaurant server is bragging on Twitter about their #coronavirusstaycation. They're afraid of ending up homeless. If assholes like Forbes, Laffer, and Moore ever talked to a working person in their natural habitat, they'd know that most people want to work. The world isn't filled with parasites who'd lie around and goof off if they didn't have to worry about food and shelter. Most Americans don't want to just survive. They want to feel as if they're working toward something better — not just for themselves but their children. Instead, the coronavirus has knocked them on their asses and put their hopes and dreams in an indefinite quarantine.
I was on a conference call this week with the management of a local theater company that is figuring out how to exist during the shutdown. One thing was clear: The staff wanted to work. They were willing to do anything legal and responsible that would keep them engaged with the community. No one was asking about unemployment “vacations" or free Obamaphones.
People want to work.
At one of my first jobs in New York, human resources had a rule that no one was ever fired or laid off on a Friday. This was back in the mid-1990s, before everyone was on the Internet, and the thinking was that you didn't want to let someone go and force them to wait all weekend before they could start actively applying for other jobs. People want to work. It's a blow to their mental health when they can't. The last thing they need is to stress about keeping a roof over their heads. People work today to make tomorrow better. Few Americans are happy subsisting on a percentage of what they made yesterday. It's a sick conservative lie to claim otherwise. Paid leave and unemployment benefits are palliative treatments not a permanent cure.
Some Seattle businesses forced to close due to coronavirus www.youtube.com
People want to work. Forbes, Laffer, and Moore exist in a world where CEOs can tank companies, cost employees their jobs, and still cash out with severance packages that ensure they'll never have to work again. People who've had their lives upended after the government ordered their workplaces closed aren't going to spend their free time on an Elizabeth Gilbert journey of self-discovery.
Forbes, Laffer, and Moore aren't just wrong on humanity. They're wrong on economics. Melissa Kearney, a fancy-pants economics professor at the University of Maryland, responded to their “ludicrous" statement with some actual facts: Income benefits now will keep the consumption/spending floor from collapsing under the weight of a nation-wide shutdown. Also, and we'll just have to keep screaming this forever, there's very little evidence that welfare programs make recipients shiftless and permanently dependent on government.
People want to work. Right now, all we can do is help them stay alive.
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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).