We must clearly, boldly and persistently exert power on our elected officials to help ourselves, our families and our communities facing the current health and economic crises.
Public outrage over big banks being bailed out with public funds while homeowners were left to drown in debt triggered both the Occupy and Tea Party movements during the financial crisis of the 1980’s.
Now it’s the big banks and other corporations and the rich who are not only being bailed out, but also being lavished with tax breaks, shielded by regulatory reductions and profiting in numerous other ways under the cover of COVID-19 and the economic crisis.
Meanwhile, the various stimulus bills passed by Congress have not met the ongoing basic needs of people, especially the most vulnerable.
Recent corporate and super rich glaring grabs of profits and power (way too many to include in a single email) include these Sickenly Seven examples:
Corporations are directly profiting from the pandemic -- including pharmaceutical corporations able to set exorbitant prices for vaccines and drugs they develop with taxpayer dollars and a ventilator corporation paid by the government four times the price compared to a ventilator developed with taxpayer funds.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included a $500 billion “slush fund”: $46 billion for loans and loan guarantees to airlines, cargo carriers and large “businesses critical to national security;” and the remaining $454 billion to Treasury Secretary and “Foreclosure King” Steve Mnuchin for loans and purchases of stocks and bonds of large banks and corporations.
The $454 billion was transferred to the Federal Reserve, where it will be leveraged 10 times to create $4.54 trillion for loans, but also to purchase preferred and junk (bad investments) bonds of large banks and corporations. The corporate bailouts will inflate stock prices, which disproportionately benefits the rich. BlackRock corporation, chosen to decide which bonds to buy, is also eligible to have its bonds bought -- but no conflict of interest of course!
The CARES Act included a sweet provision for rich real estate investors to use depreciation on their properties to cut their taxes on stock market profits. The vast majority of the $135 billion over 10 years in savings will go to households making at least $1 million. Just a coincidence that Congressional members invest more money in real estate than in anything else.
Large coal, oil, fracking and other fossil fuel-related corporations -- all corporate polluters which experienced economic problems before the pandemic began and all linked to the Trump administration -- received millions in funds that were earmarked for coronavirus small businesses aid.
The pandemic is being exploited to roll back hundreds of protections against corporate abuses in the areas of the environment, health care, workers rights, farm/food, and banking, among others.
- The pandemic has been a terrific distraction or excuse to double down on pro-corporate policies that public pressure has in the past prevented. These include pushing for the Keystone pipeline, slashing and/or privatizing Social Security and postal services, corporatization of prisons and schools, and expanding digital intrusion in our lives.
While corporations have been bailed out, We the People have been relatively shut out. A one time $1200 check, extension of unemployment eligibility and duration, a limited-time $600 per week extra unemployment payment and a requirement to make all coronavirus tests free are good as far as they go...as are the financial loans/grants for our friends and neighbors in our communities who own small businesses.
The problem is that they don’t go anywhere near far enough in eligibility and funding to address the basic housing, food, health care and financial needs of the vast majority of people.
Our political representatives as a whole have been far more responsive to the needs in representing large corporations and the richest 1% than most of us. We know a major reason for this: big money in politics and corporate constitutional rights, which our We the People Amendment would abolish.
The House of Representatives is planning to vote TODAY (Friday) on the next (and what may be for awhile, last) major funding pandemic bill, the HEROES Act.
While it would extend financial support and insurance to many people who are in need -- once again, it’s not nearly enough.
It lacks recurring direct cash payments, a paycheck guarantee (i.e. the Paycheck Guarantee Act proposed by We the People Amendment sponsor Rep. Pramila Jayapal) and an expansion of Medicare to cover the unemployment and uninsured.
What it does include is an outrageous expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program eligibility (meant for small businesses) to include, you guessed it, corporate lobbying organizations. It also leaves the door open for direct bailouts to fossil fuel corporations.
Three ASAP Quick Action Steps:
Call your U.S. Representative. (find your Rep. here) Tell her/him to vote NO on the HEROES Act as it now stands. Say it needs to be amended to include the above items bolded above and exclude the bailout of corporate lobbying organizations.
While on the phone, if he/she is already a co-sponsor of the We the People Amendment (HJR 48), thank them. A list of cosponsors is here. If they aren’t, ask them to co-sponsor. The corporate exploitation of the pandemic crises and unmet basic survival needs of most people are exactly why we need to pass HJR 48.
- Forward this email to family and friends and encourage them to Take Action too!
Finally, in this extraordinary moment, we know conditions are tough. We’re feeling it at Move to Amend as we’ve dramatically reduced (for now) our staffing and other expenses. If you can make the extraordinary effort to make a donation, we would be extraordinarily grateful.