I don’t have any particular hook for this aside from the looming end of the year, but it’s depressing as hell to watch our leaders screw around with partisan bullshit while COVID-19 is destroying people’s lives. At the end of the year, millions of people will lose unemployment payments. More millions will be in danger of being evicted from their homes. Small businesses are going bankrupt and taking their owners with them. And right here, in the richest nation on earth, lines at food banks are stretching for miles in some places.
Forget about macroeconomics. Sure, spending more money would be generally good for the economy, but I happen to believe that we can squeeze by without a ton of new stimulus. What matters now is simpler and rawer: helping people who need help. That’s it.
I’m not an idiot. I know that even rich countries have practical limits on how much they can spend on social welfare programs. But we’re nowhere near that limit. And anyway, we’re talking about temporary help. By summer, when vaccine uptake reaches critical levels, most of this temporary assistance can be phased out.
So why the hell are we still arguing over it? Why can’t everyone agree that this is a one-off emergency and we need to help the people who need help? It doesn’t require anyone to change their deeply-held beliefs about spending or welfare or economics. It just requires a bare minimum of human decency. How is it that we’ve lost even that?