When Washington embraces one purpose

 

For a moment, the plague brought together our supposed representatives, who typically are befuddled by gridlock and acrimony. Robert Brenner wrote:

There has been, and will be, no serious challenge to the corporate bailout [the CARES Act, Pub L 116-118] because the Democratic Party, no less than the Republican, strongly supports it. The rescue should not be particularly associated with the Trump Administration, though the President of course pushed hard for it. The top leaders and chief funders of both the two main political parties strongly identified with the handout, and overwhelming majorities of their followers in Congress went along more or less enthusiastically.

For Congressional Democrats, being gutless has its costs. Brenner continued:

The strategy of the dp’s top leaders appears to have been to allow the Republicans to take chief credit for the bailout, while quietly ensuring its ratification, as it was a top priority of their most important allies, ‘the donors’ — viz., their corporate backers—and was supported by the great majority of the Party’s elected officials in Congress. They apparently hoped that, with the victorious corporations’ spectacular gains grabbing the headlines, they could pry compensatory concessions from the Republicans for their other constituencies — on unemployment insurance, medical equipment and health care, and for supplementary or substitute salaries, as well as support for small businesses. But the fatal flaw of this approach was that, by allowing the Republican Senate to shape the legislation, the Democrats gave up their major source of political leverage, which lay in their House majority. Once the cares Act was approved, Schumer and Pelosi were obliged to admit, implicitly, how far they had fallen short by announcing, immediately upon its ratification, that they would call for a new expanded version of it.

What we saw in March was political theatre meant to serve as a legitimation device for what amounts to the removal of trillions of dollars by the already wealthy and some well-connected corporations. The plague that is killing thousands provided a pretext for this remorseless wealth-taking without pride. The commoners, on the other hand, were provided with a one-time payment of $1,200, a meager month of minimum wage income; expanded unemployment insurance, set to expire soon; and a limited rent holiday. Each of these provided only a starting point for supporting the well-being of most Americans. What was needed was debt forgiveness, jobs, income maintenance, health insurance, etc. What was provided was hardly sufficient to fend off the disaster. Unemployment remains high while the GDP has plummeted and remains negative, according to Shadow Stats. The money used to fund this orgy showed that the federal government has always had the capacity to generate the money needed to pay for programs, services and items most Americans need. Single-payer health care anyone? Jobs for all?

Most Americans will pay the costs incurred on their behalf by their representatives. Deficit hawks The wealthy and influential, on the other hand, were protected from the consequences of this event.