Friday, January 1, 2021

COVID Relief: An Average Americans Take

A week or so ago, Congress passed an annual funding bill to which approximately $900 billion in COVID relief was attached.  President Trump reluctantly signed the bill, but not before demanding a larger $2000 stimulus payment. On December 31, many Americans found a $600 payment added to their bank accounts whether they needed the money or not.
What was driving this 11th hour spending spree during the waning days of a presidential administration?

With the pandemic came a fear that few of us had seen, not just for our health but for our standard of living. The Great Recession has not been in the rear view mirror long enough to forget how tax cuts and hastily crafted funding for large corporations left thousands unemployed and failed to save countless families from losing their home.  But here we were, government was not just repeating this move once but twice and the new administration was promising a third round of payments. 

There is no doubt in my mind that countless citizens on both sides of the aisle have contacted their representatives requesting caution.  Certainly, this is not a good time for people in need, but there is never a good time for people in need. Why is this time creating such an emotional response from our elected officials?

For more than forty years, US leaders have bounce back and forth between economic growth and healthcare as political priorities. Now, they have come together to create a monster of rapid spending that has cost the country billions of dollars in fraud. 

Respectfully, who do they think they are kidding? Bipartisan or not, there are surely better ways of handling this money and whatever funds will follow in the future.

The American people deserve better. I am just one of millions of Americans who have survived decades of economic fluctuations and personal trials. We have owned businesses and farms. We have lost our savings, struck it rich but mostly just gotten by. We have been professionals, laborers and yes, sometimes been unemployed and destitute. Mother Nature has seen us burned out, flooded, damaged by wind and baked by drought. We have educated ourselves and our children while becoming homeowners, saving for retirement, and paying more for health insurance than we did for food. We are Republicans, Democrats and the Undecided.  We are young and old and as diverse a group as one can be in this country. We have lived in the real world and, for the most part, solved our problems without government help.

All of this makes us uniquely qualified to advise government on what it needs to do. Unfortunately our opinion doesn't matter. 

Our portrayal as a deeply divided country is perpetuated by marketing specialists whose data comes from Twitter feeds and polls that pop up during Solitaire games.  Ironically, this data supports a government which then uses it to steer America into debt and poverty.  

It is not COVID-19 that is our greatest danger. America will survive. There will be a cost and like every time before, it will be citizens that pay that price, not our leaders. 

As a country, we are not waiting for COVID to end or a vaccine to save us. We support our local restaurants and service providers. We buy tickets to virtual concerts and ‘run' in virtual fundraisers.  We give to churches and charities and, unlike government, we know which ones work and which ones don’t.  

We have walked this road before and will walk it again. We are the experts here, not the ones who try to predict the future as something dark and unforgiving.  We support our community silently and behind the scenes without Facebook or Twitter recognition. There is a job to be done and we are doing it.

COVID gave this country the opportunity to change a 40-year path that resembles a Hunger Games spinoff. Government takes from the easiest targets, gives it to those who make promises of better times, and then makes us fight each other to get it back - not something to be proud of. Is it?

The sad part is that our leaders  have worked so hard to maintain a system which has not worked for the average American for a long, long time.   Additionally, each time, it puts this country closer and closer to the brink of being financial unable to serve anyone.

In the end, it will not really matter. Americans will feed their families, go to work, raise their children and bury their dead whether our country is on solid ground or not.  Maybe that is what makes America truly great.