[please take 3 actions suggested below]
If you guessed that these adjectives (among others) describe Donald Trump’s responses to the raging nation wide coronavirus -- you guessed right.
They are equally appropriate words describing the thinking of too many federal elected officials about the current related economic crisis -- one that was coming to light before COVID-19 and has deepened and widened to harm tens of millions of people since its outbreak.
Congress and the President are negotiating now on a fourth federal stimulus bill. Many legislators still deny the true financial needs of people to pay for food, health care, rent, mortgages, debt and other basic necessities. They’ve distorted the fact that many people can’t safely return to work, as well as that fewer jobs now exist. And they’ve deflected attention from the unlivable wages earned by most service and gig workers before the pandemic by claiming that the extra $600 per week of federal assistance to people has been a disincentive to return to work.
Also a factor may well be what author of The Jungle Upton Sinclair once said: “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Translated: legislators who receive large political campaign contributions/investments from the super rich and corporations are relatively clueless to the needs of low income/wealth people, the working class, people of color and women. On the other hand, these same legislators are financial geniuses in instantly comprehending and handing over our tax dollars to the mega wealthy and corporations.
Constitutional so-called “rights” of corporations to donate/invest in political elections (one of many outrageous corporate constitutional rights invented by the Supreme Court) and political money legally defined as First Amendment protected “free speech” are the rotten roots why corporate needs almost always preempt people’s needs.
This explains why corporations and small businesses received 54% of the $2.2 trillion funds from the CARES Act passed in March, compared to workers and families who received only 26% in aid. This grossly underestimates the corporate haul since it excludes how the Federal Reserve leveraged the $450 billion from the CARES Act tenfold (up to $4.5 trillion) for additional loans and purchases of corporate and bank bonds and stocks, plus an additional $370 billion that was passed in April by Congress to expand the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and lenders -- a tidy sum of which went to wealthy families, large corporations that avoided paying taxes, and companies tied to Trump and Congresspersons.
Tens of millions of people face an even greater financial emergency, a ticking time bomb, if federal help is not continued. Remember that little clause in the Constitution’s Preamble stating one of the purposes in creating the government is to “promote the general Welfare”? In that spirit, some are calling in the new stimulus bill to expand Medicare for All, to provide a $2000 monthly cash payment and to suspend student and credit card loan payments through the pandemic, among other proposals.
Republican Senators are now open to some ongoing assistance, but want two major items in return: (1) blanket corporate immunity from lawsuits if employees, customers, patients and students catch the virus due to business neglect -- retroactive to the end of 2019 before the virus appeared through 2024, and (2) a "Trust Act" designed to "rescue" trust funds like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which poses a serious financial threat to them all.
Denial, distortion and deflection also aptly describe the approach of too many federal elected officials concerning corporate constitutional rights. They deny that corporate rights can actually be abolished, even though they only exist because of deliberate and conscious decisions by courts that can be legally undone via a constitutional amendment. They distort the fact that without constitutional rights, corporations will be legally defenseless -- which is untrue since corporate employees, shareholders and other people connected to companies can speak on their behalf. And they distract attention away from efforts, for example, to abolish all corporate constitutional rights via our We the People Amendment by asserting all that’s needed to keep corporations accountable are a few tougher regulations or laws, heftier fines or clearer moral pleas for corporations to be more responsible “corporate citizens.”
Immediate financial help IS required to avoid mass economic hardship, and maybe prevent or minimize an outright long term depression. Yet, we must also take action to address the fundamental problems that the pandemic further exposed: systemic racism and oppression, the rapid rise of economic inequality and other injustices, a political system unresponsive to people’s needs, and environmental destruction -- all of which are sparking people’s movements in this country and around the world. We also need to learn more and collaborate with others where we live to build a just and sustainable alternative future.
TAKE 3 ACTIONS
Call your Senators and Representative: Tell them •Expand support for basic financial needs through the pandemic, and •No to corporate immunity and the "Trust Act."
White you’re at it, ask your Senators and Representative to sponsor or co-sponsor the We the People Amendment to end all corporate constitutional rights and political money as free speech. (Go here for a list of current House co-sponsors)
- Sign up yourself or with others as a group to take our Movement Education Program, a free online, self-paced course for activist and organizers that addresses the way corporatism, capitalism, white-supremacy, patriarchy and related oppressive structures impact our organizing, and it offers alternatives to consider as we work to build a powerful inclusive movement for justice.
Stay safe out there!
P.S. Move to Amend has never denied, distorted or distracted attention away from the reality that our country has never been authentically just or democratic. This makes it difficult to raise money from “the establishment.” We rely, therefore, on the grassroots, YOU, to invest in real change. Please donate what you can -- either one time or (even better) monthly. Thank you!