Trump's Name Going On Stimulus Checks. Now Put It On Ventilators, Body Bags.
Donald Trump almost got his wish, hooray! His signature won't be on the paper version of the $1200 stimulus checks that will start going out to Americans next week, but his name will be, in the memo box, so people will know what a nice fellow he is. And will anyone really mind having to wait a few extra days for the checks to go out? Surely it's worth it, to have Dear Leader's name on there.
The Washington Post reports that the final order to add Trump's name only went to the IRS's IT team yesterday, which will require a bit of reprogramming and testing to make sure the Treasury Department's printing apparatus won't choke on its own vomit. That's going to slow down the sending of the first batch of checks, according to "two senior IRS officials," but a Treasury spokesperson says that's not true, everything's fine, we love this very cool very normal departure from all previous printing of IRS checks ever.
The Post notes that putting a president's name on an "IRS disbursement" of any kind is completely unprecedented, either for annual tax refunds or for the occasional economic stimulus checks that have been sent over the decades. In 2008, the checks sent out by George W's administration to prevent the Great Recession were signed by a Treasury functionary, which may be just as well since the recession happened all the same. (I used my check to purchase my first laptop computer, and was careful to give mental thanks to Bush before posting shit about him in Wonkette comments using my new machine. In a nice parallel, I'm using part of this year's check to help Kid Zoom replace their busted laptop.)
And in 2001, when Dubya sent out checks for $300 to $600 to help spend down Bill Clinton's budget surplus, the White House wanted the IRS to send along a letter that included a line crediting Bush for "giving you your money back." But the IRS commissioner refused to stoop to such rank partisanship, proving that the Deep State has been out to make Donald Trump look bad for nearly two decades.
The paper checks were supposed to start going out tomorrow, the Post reports, with a signature from somebody in the Treasury Department's "Bureau of the Fiscal Service," which handles printing up tax refunds and the like. Insiders say Trump had asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to let him put his very presidential signature on the checks, but darn it, the "president" is not legally authorized to sign government disbursements. But is anyone in the Fake News media pointing out what a wonderful guy Trump is for not going ahead and issuing an executive order saying he could have his name on the checks? Or thanking Trump for his generosity in not having his name appear right after "Payable to"?
So instead, the checks will have a memo line reading "Economic Impact Payment," and below that, President Donald J. Trump. An unnamed Treasury official told the Post that the decision to print Trump's name on the checks had been planned for "weeks," so that's a really good use of a government agency's time during a pandemic. What do you want to bet we'll eventually learn Trump devoted a LOT of attention to negotiating how his name would appear?
WaPo dutifully notes that, for Americans who got their stimulus payments through direct deposit, "Those payments do not include Trump's name." (Here's how to check the status of your own bailout check.) But the paper checks, which are being sent out to people for whom the government doesn't have bank information, will.
Computer code must be changed to include the president's name, and the system must be tested, these officials said. "Any last minute request like this will create a downstream snarl that will result in a delay," said Chad Hooper, a quality-control manager who serves as national president of the IRS's Professional Managers Association.
A Treasury spox insisted that's simply not true, because who are you going to believe, some expert who knows how this works, or a flack for the Trump administration? The REAL plan involved sending the first batch of checks next week all along.
"Economic Impact Payment checks are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned—there is absolutely no delay whatsoever," the representative said in a written statement. She said this was a faster process than the stimulus checks the George W. Bush administration issued in 2008 to head off a looming recession.
"In fact, we expect the first checks to be in the mail early next week which is well in advance of when the first checks went out in 2008 and well in advance of initial estimates," the statement said.
So the emergency relief that was passed three weeks ago, to offset an economic crash that's left over 17 million Americans without jobs so far, will go out a lot faster than the 2008 checks that were aimed at blunting a downturn that hadn't fully arrived yet. Heck of a job, brown-noser!
The paper checks are going to arrive a lot more slowly than the direct deposits did, too. About 5 million checks will be sent out each week, and the last aren't likely to arrive until September. But at least we found exactly one part of this sorry clusterfuck that we can call a good idea: The printed checks will be sent to Americans with the lowest incomes first, so at least there's that.
Also too, we have to include a nod to Nancy Pelosi for her mastery of strange archaic idioms: The Post says she has criticized Trump's desire to get his signature or name or dick outline on the checks, saying the payments needed to be sent as soon as humanly possible, without any "waiting for a fancy-Dan letter from the president." The Merriam-Webster website explains the adjective usage "fancy-dan" dates back to 1938 and means "showy," as in "fancy-dan basketball players hotdogging on the court."
We'd never seen that term before, but fancy-damn, it really does fit.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.