Just to see what the leftwing media are saying about the economic stimulus bill, I tuned into the afternoon show, MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi, on Wednesday. Velshi began by summarizing the MSNBC view of some of the bill’s main provisions:
Velshi: The bill provides direct cash payments of $1,200 to individuals earning up to $75K a year – it actually goes higher than that. Couples earning up to $150K per year can expect a check for $2,400 plus an additional $500 per child. The payments would decrease for people making more than $75,000 a year up to an income cap of $99,000 per individual and $198,000 for a couple. If you make more than that, you’re not getting direct stimulus checks. Secondly, the bill significantly bolsters unemployment insurance. It would increase the maximum unemployment benefit that a state provides by $600 per week. Chuck Schumer said that that would ensure that laid-off workers on average will receive their full pay for four months. The legislation would also extend unemployment benefits to those who would normally not qualify. This is really, really, really important because this part has changed so much since the last recession. We have far more gig economy worker, furloughed workers, and freelancers who will get this benefit as well.
Me: Naturally, Velshi hides the partisan nonsense inserted by the Democrats, including funding of PBS, the Kennedy Center, House salaries, and Howard University (just for starters).
Velshi continued: In addition, the bill is expected to provide $500 billion in aid for companies, including airlines and cruise lines, that have been hurt by the outbreak. It also includes $350 billion in assistance to small businesses, $150 billion for state and local governments, and $117 billion for hospitals and veterans care. Schumer says the legislation also includes a provision that would ban businesses controlled by Trump, Pence, members of Congress, and heads of executive branch departments and agencies from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs.
Me: Everything is used to attack President Trump with these guys. Everything. MSNBC has yet to do an investigation of how US foreign aid to Ukraine was laundered into Democrat coffers.
Velshi then interviewed Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who in my opinion ranks as one of the top three lunatics in the US Senate. And she did nothing to disabuse me of that notion with her comments during this interview. Here is some of that dialogue:
Velshi: Talk to me about this thing that some of your Republican colleagues are stuck on.
Hirono: I find it the utmost selfishness to hold up this huge bill that’s gonna help working people because there is [sic] some states that pay so little in unemployment compensation that in our effort craft something that would be fair to the majority or workers … that some of the workers in these poorer states will get a little bit more. I think that speaks a lot to what these people are talking about. You know, were it not for the 72 hours that we fought for workers and for what Chuck Schumer refers to as the “Marshall Plan,” the same people who brought us $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the richest people and companies in our country who would be getting what they want … and once again very little for the workers … and that’s why we fought so hard. It’s amazing to me that some of my colleagues would say, “Oh, we’re giving too much for those people who are getting so little already.” I just want to say, “Hey, shut up!”
Me: States run their own unemployment compensation, Mazie. It’s called federalism. One size does not fit all, as the cost of living and average salaries vary from state to state. Not that a Marxist like herself would understand anything about basic economics. And then she rails against the tax cuts that led to the best economy most Americans have ever seen. She has no clue (or if she does, she is lying; I prefer to think she’s clueless.)
Velshi: [after pausing because he probably couldn’t figure out what the heck she was saying] Is it your sense that this will get worked out and maybe there will be some kind of a vote tonight, tomorrow? What do you think is going to happen?
Hirono: I hope they don’t get their way because there was so much effort put into this, and what? We’re supposed to delay the kind of help that the states and the hospitals and the healthcare people are wanting because there are three or four Republican senators who say that we’re giving too much to the poorest working people in our country? I hope not, but you know, if there is some way that we can … frankly, you know what? The people who live in places like Alabama and, uh, those other places … give ‘em a break! My gosh. Let’s get this bill done.
Me: It wasn’t that debate that was holding things up. The real reason was that Democrats voted to block the compromise bill and attempt to substitute Pelosi’s garbage bill that funded every Democrat scheme possible instead. And of course, neither of them cared to discuss that inconvenient truth.
Velshi: Let me asked about the conditions that are put on officials – companies that are owned by Donald Trump, Treasury officials, whatever the case is. Schumer made a point that the people writing legislation shouldn’t be able to write legislation that benefits them. I think there would be a lot of Americans who would agree with that. But how will they work this out for employees of let’s say, Donald Trump’s company, many of whom are minimum wager earners as we know. Are they going to miss out on something because of this provision?
Hirono: Unemployment compensation will also apply to them, and frankly, if we didn’t have a president who already has exhibited a propensity to self-dealing, we probably wouldn’t have to put in this kind of legislation, but we have already experienced the fact that this president will take whatever he can from the system, and that’s why we have to put in this kind of provision. I think that there are other provisions that help the Trump employees, which, I’m hopeful that he actually pays them more than the minimum wage, but I’d be surprise if he does.
Me: Personal attacks on President Trump. It’s what they do at MSNBC, and Hirono is equally despicable. Where’s evidence other than innuendo and false allegations? The emoluments clause lawsuit you Democrats ginned up got tossed.
Velshi: Let’s talk about the provisions for the $500 billion, some of which will be loaned out to companies. Are you satisfied with the oversight? There was initially none. The $500 billion for corporations is the one that has got people concerned. Do we make sure that if we the taxpayers are giving them loans … that they don’t use if for stock buy-backs, that they don’t use it for executive compensation increases, they don’t use it for dividends, they don’t use it for things that will enrich shareholders … but they do use it to keep payroll going.
Hirono: Well, of course. Mitch McConnell’s bill as presented to us had absolutely none of those kinds of restrictions on the $500 billion that Mnuchin could have used … and with Trump, I guess … to help their friends, and that’s why we had to put in … we had to create a special inspector general and all that … transparency requirements … and also to prevent the president from benefitting his own corporations. And we extended that to members of Congress, and I think that’s appropriate at this point.
End of the Q&A. Once again, that was not the real reason for the hold-up; that was just the Democrat smokescreen. The real reason was Pelosi’s 11th-hour attempt to run a bait and switch, but for a change, the Republican senators didn’t cave. In fact, they were furious, especially Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, and Pat Roberts.
Did the Republicans get rolled again? My greatest fear remains that the election-meddling provisions will be in the final version. I just read this provision in version three of the draft bill:
Election Grants – The bill provides $400 million for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the safety of voting in-person by providing additional voting facilities and more poll-workers.
This is bad enough, but if ballot harvesting and no-ID requirements made it into the bill, then the Republican Party will have committed political seppuku, and the constitutional republic is doomed.