Wednesday, March 18, 2020

No Extended Paid Leave For Workers - Unless They Have Kids Out Of School - Is Not only Wrongheaded But Immoral

Two aspects of the current tumult that drive  both of us to a near frenzy:  i) Young Turks who think they can just sashay all over hell's half acre because they believe they are invulnerable to the COVID-19 (and so spread it to the rest of us) and ii) Austerity fetishists who view with disgust any attempt to deliver money to the workers who desperately need it now with this nationwide shutdown of schools, restaurants, theaters, small businesses etc.  And have the absolute nerve and chutzpah to proffer palliative "solutions" that don't do diddly or squat.

Meanwhile we read in today's WSJ ('House Cuts Back Paid Leave Plan', p. B3), the original House bill (HR 6201:   'Families First Coronavirus Response Act')   has taken another austerity -driven hit.  Now, instead of ALL lower paid workers getting up to 10 weeks of paid leave, only workers who have children whose schools are shut will be able to benefit. Thus:

"Workers who had been in quarantine or caring for a family member affected by the virus wouldn't be eligible for the additional ten weeks of leave."

Given the shutdown to quell the virus is likely to last at least for part of the summer, this is nothing short of barbaric. Or to quote Janice:  "This is an atrocity perpetrated by vermin whose DNA contains only cruelty!"  I totally concur.      Why?  Because in the original bill, which at least had large elements of human decency (before the corporate asslicking Reeps got to it) there was a provision for the added 10 weeks of paid leave but at two -thirds pay. In addition, that added additional paid leave covered "health care providers and emergency responders"  but who "are no longer guaranteed additional 10 weeks of paid leave."

Why the hell not? They are the ones putting their lives on the line for all of us now!  They are the ones tending directly to patients and who have to worry about carrying back the infection into their own homes! Because of Trump and his merry band of buffoons those front line medical practitioners - doctors, nurses, PAs, are already having to improvise, i.e. reusing surgical masks (not the N-95 proper masks needed) and without other protective clothing.  As Dr. Tara Narula put it this morning on CBS: "Our medical providers now feel like fire fighters who are having to charge into a burning building with only a bikini and pail of water!"

  What the hell is wrong with this picture?   So if any of these front line workers go down - sick with the virus - they are supposed to possibly go without even 2/3 compensation for ten weeks or  more?  Well, thanks to the deplorable party of austerity- anti-spending apes holding the majority in the Senate (53- 47) and whose votes are needed to get any aid package passed. And now proud to be balking with the excuse they are "defending business"  (Though they are quite happy to include a $50 billion bailout for the airlines. )  As blogger Stephen Pizzo put it:

"Maybe most galling are the airlines. They're looking for something in the order of a $50 billion shot in the arm from Uncle Sam. And Dopey Don is fully onboard:"

Well, there you have it.  And what sort of solutions do these austerity assholes propose for the Burger King, Mickey D, Target or other workers forced to  "shelter in place."  Well, a LOAN!  (WSJ, p. A17, 'How to Treat the Financial Symptoms of COVID-19') .  The contributor, John Cochrane, writes:

"Loans are better than gifts. Rather than give each of us $1,000, allow us to borrow a fraction of last year's income from the Internal Revenue Service  and repay it when we file our taxes."

So, ok, let's work it out for this ignorant austerity asswit: A BK worker is already stretched thin with bills out the wazoo and needs  $10,000 to make it through an additional 10 weeks of shutdown.  So he has to go cap in hand to the IRS to beg for a $10,000 loan to pay back when he has to file taxes in 2021?  When he already will likely be in hock for back rent, utilities, etc.  What exactly is this asswipe smoking?  Must be some powerful dope to turn him into such a clueless dope.  But this kind of thinking pervades the reactionary Wall Street Journal op-ed pages. For example, in today's illustrious editorial ('The Fiscal Stimulus Panic', p. A16) we read:

"The checks no doubt will be popular....but they won't come cheap, running at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars for the first round.  What happens if the pandemic lasts into the summer?  The clamor will be for another round and then another."

Well, uh yeah! DUH! Because people ordered to stay shut in, no work, no paychecks coming in, will still need some moola to buy food, pay off utility bills etc. How hard is this to get into your noggins?  As multiple sane economists  (e.g. Paul Krugman)have noted, in order to defeat this virus the economy will have to tank.  Like a real world version of Heisenberg's Indeterminacy principle (where one cannot obtain both position and energy of a particle to the same accuracy) it simply will not be realistic to survive this COVID-19 pandemic with minimal deaths AND preserve the economy at the same time, Deal with it, asswipes!

So yeah if the virus keeps workers shut in, and our health care providers at risk,  another trillion or two trillion will be needed! We provide it because if we have a grain of human decency in our DNA that is what we do. And we smile when we pay out what's needed and stop proposing cockamamey bullshit like "loans"  from the IRS, or tax cuts!   To say or do anything other than providing extended paid leave- in multiple checks if need be - would be not only grossly wrongheaded, but immoral.

Meantime, the walking pestilence fouling the White House-a  cowardly imp who ran from service 5 times using bone spurs- declared himself a "wartime president".   And yet, as our hospitals and ERs begin to crater because of lack of supplies (protective masks, ventilators, room respirators to clear air in patients' rooms etc.) he refuses to invoke a Korean War era Defense production law.  This would at least enable U.S. industry to begin producing most of the medical necessities now in short supply.  Why won't this coward act now?  He claims  wants to wait until "it's really needed".  The time is now you execrable POS not when 90 % of medical providers themselves get ill and we face a collapse like Italy.    You cannot just yelp "Abracadabra!" and have all the supplies appear!

I will have more to write tomorrow about the low IQ Millennials who continue to congregate (like on Florida beaches)  and refuse to hunker down like the rest of us.  They are putting the entire social distancing strategy at risk with their selfish, short sighted behavior and inability to see beyond their own noses.

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