‘Unbelievable,’ Says Sanders, That Some Dems Want to Further Limit Eligibility for Covid-19 Relief Checks

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer at CommonDreams. Originally published at CommonDreams

Sen. Bernie Sanders took to Twitter Saturday night to call out Democrats in Congress who are considering a proposal to exclude millions of Americans from receiving $1,400 Covid-19 relief checks with narrower eligibility restrictions than the previous coronavirus pandemic packages passed under former President Donald Trump.

As the new chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders (I-Vt.) is playing a key role in congressional Democrats’ efforts to enact President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Amid reporting this week about lawmakers potentially further restricting direct relief, Sanders has repeatedly and forcefully spoken out against that.

“Unbelievable,” Sanders tweeted Saturday. “There are some Dems who want to lower the income eligibility for direct payments from $75,000 to $50,000 for individuals, and $150,000 to $100,000 for couples. In other words, working-class people who got checks from Trump would not get them from Biden. Brilliant!”

Sanders followed up with a post reiterating his position: “I strongly oppose lowering income eligibility for direct payments from $75,000 to $50,000 for individuals and $150,000 to $100,000 for couples. In these difficult times, ALL working-class people deserve the full $1,400. Last I heard, someone making $55,000 a year is not ‘rich.'”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) concurred, declaring that “it would be outrageous if we ran on giving more relief and ended up doing the opposite.”

“In conclusion,” Ocasio-Cortez added, “$50k is wack and we shouldn’t do wack things.”

Other lawmakers have also slammed lowering the income eligibility this week.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein, “I understand the desire to ensure those most in need receive checks, but families who received the first two checks will be counting on a third check to pay the bills.”

Stein had reported Tuesday that “the White House is open to narrowing eligibility for the next round of stimulus payments but not lowering those payments below $1,400 per person.”

In a preview of an interview with CBS‘s Norah O’Donnell set to air Sunday night, Biden said that he is set on $1,400 checks but “prepared to negotiate” on who receives them.

“But here’s the deal: middle-class folks need help,” the president added. “It’s somewhere between an individual making up to $75,000 and phasing out, and a couple making up to $150,000 and then phasing out, but again, I’m wide open on what that is.”

CBS News reported Sunday on how economic conditions are fueling demands for relief:

Many Democrats are arguing for a large stimulus package, pointing to renewed economic distress in recent months as the pandemic worsens. The January jobs report indicated subdued hiring, with employers adding a modest 49,000 jobs. White-collar services [led] the gains as lower-paid service jobs continued to suffer.

“It may look good, but it ain’t,” wrote Oxford Economics economist Lydia Boussour in a February 5 research note. “The labor market recovery remained stuck in a rut in January as the pandemic’s winter surge weighed on hiring.”

The labor market isn’t likely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, according to a February 1 report from the Congressional Budget Office. The U.S. economy shrank 3.5% last year, its largest annual decline in 74 years, government data shows.

Both chambers of Congress—which are controlled by Democrats—have now passed a budget resolution laying the groundwork for enacting a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate early Friday, after an overnight “vote-a-rama” on amendments. The House, which had passed a previous resolution, approved the amended version later Friday.

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  1. vlade

    All you need to do is look at what Larry Summers says, and do exactly the opposite. With almost 100% assurance it will be the right thing to do.

    Given he says “it’s too big”, the right thing is to make it even larger (direct to people, not company pork). QED.

  2. the suck of sorrow

    It appears to me that when you hear aid described as ‘stimulus’ then that person is a neoliberal. Calling for ‘direct payments’ or ‘relief’ is something a neoliberal just cannot do.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    This really is idiotic, whether you look at it from a purely economic, or a solely political perspective. You really have to wonder what planet someone is living on to think that this is a good idea. You would think that even the billionaire donor class should recognise the dangers of doing a bait and switch like this.

    1. rusti

      You really have to wonder what planet someone is living on to think that this is a good idea.

      It seems consistent with the world view of a class of political operators for whom the golden years were the 1990s when there were budget surpluses, free trade agreements and welfare/criminal justice reform. The fact that these same people are back in power in 2021 must feel like vindication that they were right all along. Any lessons that might have been learned can be explained away easily enough as Russian sorcery or ignorant rural slack-jawed yokels or whatever.

    2. vlade

      Indeed. If Dems had a smidgeon of sanity, they would _increase_ the amount, not restrict the recipients.

      Even a relatively small increase 100-200 would be something that they could put out as a major victory, and in the package would cost peanuts (assuming 200m Americans getting the money, $100 is 20bln. In close to 2trilion package, i.e. ~1%.)

      This is so dumb it’s unbelievable.

      1. vlade

        Thinking about it, there seems to be a massive disconnect in the US media, which brings out two headlines – the 1.9 trillion dollars, and the 1400 cheque.

        Under the absolutely most generous case, where every single US citizens (~328m) would get the 1400, the total cost would be ~460bln, or about 24%

        That is not even a quarter of the total package. I can’t find any good numbers on the # of recipients, but a rough guess would be about 200m (just because I like the number, feel free to correct).

        That means the real cost would be something like 15% or less than 1/6th. One sixth of the total money, yet all the focus is spent on this, and how to shave a few bobs here and there.

        Yet, I can’t see anyone in the media calling it out, that the arguement here is about pennies in the total package, yet no-one’s scurtinising the other parts of the package nearly as much as this… Is it because the other parts to to “deserving” corporates (directly or indirectly), like say health providers etc..?

        1. CuriosityConcern

          I came up with an analogue to your calculation as well, but it was 660 billion for 2k checks. 1.9 trillion is enough for 3 months of checks.

        2. cocomaan

          What the hell is in the rest of the package?


          The rest of the plan is all over the place. It has all kinds of payments to different groups that, I trust, will end up being embezzled or misplaced.

          The other big line item is:

          Biden wants to send $350 billion to state, local and territorial governments to keep their frontline workers employed, distribute the vaccine, increase testing, reopen schools and maintain vital services.

          Bets on how long before this money is also wasted.

          Take the damn 1.9 trillion and just give it to people, spaced out over the year. Enough of these programs and systems and payments and nonsense.

          1. vlade

            That’s my point – fighting of, at the most possibly generous, not even a quarter of the package while the other part gets close to zero attenation and everything in it gets just waved over.

        3. Adam1

          I haven’t even really heard it yet in the media, but a good chunk of the money from those checks is probably already due back on April 15th. I would suspect that given the number of Americans who were or are collecting unemployment, many don’t have a lot of experience with unemployment. That’s taxable income, and at least here in NYS no federal or state tax was withheld. Add in weeks of extra $600 and $300 payments and there is plenty of tax the government is expecting back. I suspect we’ll hear screaming soon as hard pressed people start realizing their refund this year is smaller or now money owed.

          1. urblintz

            a lot of people receiving ACA subsidies and who may have received UI benefits in excess of their estimated income may end up owing a significant portion of those UI benefits… and you can bet your last devaluing dollar there will be “claw-back” from Uncle Joe, uh…. Sam…

        4. urblintz

          It has been estimated that we have spent over 5 trillion for our on-going and unwinnable wars of choice and aggression over the decades, which that doesn’t even include the well documented 23 trillion “unaccounted for” by the Pentagon since 1990’s.

          Is 1.9 trillion really a lot of money?

        5. Felix_47

          What the hell are they spending the rest on?????
          No one can deny we are inflating the Chinese industrial economy. And we might question whether having an industrial economy based on largely poor migrants cooking food and the domestic workers serving it at less than minimum wage and existing on tips, healthcare, finance, law and war is making any sense at all. What bothers me about the trillions is that all that money could have been paid to the bottom third of Americans as a guaranteed annual income from the start of the crisis. Wherever it is going does not seem to be doing much except for pumping up the stock market and the real estate market. And if we get 1970s style stagflation I doubt we have the political will to do something about it. Until they passed my parents, raised during the German inflation, described it as one of the most horrifying experiences of their lives. And economic instability and grinding poverty are what led to the rise of the Nazis. They basically gave everyone a job who needed one and a guaranteed annual income. Six trillion would give the bottom third of Americans 60,000 or 5000 per month for a year. New York spends 40,000 per year per homeless person. So the trillions…..what the hell are they buying? Just wondering. And yes it should be means tested. In the last bailout I noticed David Boies got a few million to keep his law office going. To make means testing work they could hand it out and then take it back, if indicated at tax time. And goodness we need much higher taxes if we want a socual safety net.

          1. Basil Pesto

            And goodness we need much higher taxes if we want a socual safety net.

            No you don’t. Taxes don’t fund any of the programmes that comprise the ‘social safety net’.

      2. Massinissa

        As other people have said, $600 dollars to everyone + 1400 to some people does not add up to 2000.

        Apparently the Republicans are the party of the people now, at least in comparison…. Good lord…

        Other countries pay people lost wages. American elites think a one time payment of 2600 dollars and 1400 more that only goes to people who were already poor in 2019 without helping the now jobless 10 million people in the country… I don’t even know what to say. If I didn’t know they were completely clueless, I would think they were being sadistic on purpose.

        1. Discouraged in WI

          What $600 to everyone? We got a debit card loaded with $49.40. That’s all, and we are definitely middle- not upper-class. Haven’t seen anything else. (Love the 40 cents.)

          1. Ludus57

            In the spirit of those highlighted by this thought-provoking article, surely the big question is:

            What’s the big deal with the 40 cents?
            The Dollars can look after themselves.

          1. Wukchumni

            All prices were negotiable on aged round metal discs on dealer to dealer transactions when I was in business, and sometimes you didn’t need a discount but you didn’t want to get rusty, so i’d ‘sport chisel’ on occasion just to keep sharp.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I really hope you aren’t accusing Biden of malarkey. CoronaJoe has taken a very firm stand by promising to deliver less than he originally promised to likely far fewer people. That is not negotiable!

    4. DJG, Reality Czar

      PlutoniumKun: Notes on idiotic.

      On my FBook feed are several earnest liberal types, including some people widely published. You wouldn’t believe how they have jumped on the means testing. Last week, one of them trotted out some article in the Washington Post (Pravda of the Potomac) on the need for means testing. It was written by some professor at Brown U whom I had never heard of. But it had some data!

      I kept pointing out that means testing is a failed tactic in politics. In short, that the Democrats plan to lose the midterms because of means testing.

      The idea that mishandling these payments is (1) a chronic problem with Democrats, who want clientelism rather than a citizenry, and (2) idiotic, as you say, when the cleanest way is simply send more than one monthly payment that totals to well over $2000, simply does not sink in.

      In a couple of weeks, these people will be quoting long mournful columns by Heather Cox Richardson and wondering what went wrong.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Let’s also not forget that the means testing will be based on FY 2019 income, because very few Americans have filed tax returns so far in 2021. So you the test of means is for pre-Covid income.

        Means testing has nothing to do with current conditions and everything to do with the traditional U.S. disdain for labor. Any country with “right to work” laws truly doesn’t care if the citizens starve.

          1. Ping

            “The 2019 tax returns don’t capture what’s happening to household finances/income during the pandemic’s shutdowns.” Exactly, using that benchmark inaccurately eliminates many citizens.

            And I still can’t get over the bi-partisan rush, without debate or quibbling, to approve the defense budget, larded up with hundreds of billions and many billions in “foreign aid” like around 500 million to Ukraine, many billions more to Israel and others.

      2. Michaelmas

        DJG: I kept pointing out that means testing is a failed tactic in politics.

        The Dems are the party of the PMC, for the PMC. Means testing entails jobs for PMC folks and their relatives gatekeeping and humiliating the Poors, and the maintenance of PMC power.

        It’s that simple.

      3. Jabura

        Thank you for mentioning Heather Cox Richardson – childhood friends who are safe economically and think they are liberal send me her columns and I cannot express the distaste and disappointment it elicits. The true sorrow are the crickets when I respond to counter her nonsense.

    5. Noone from Nowheresville

      It’s a divide and conquer strategy. We’ll be pointing fingers at our neighbors; determining whether or not they are worthy aka our own local informal means testing. We’ll kick downward if we can.

      If we get past our neighbors then we’ll look closer to home. Most of us have no idea of who the actual billionaires are or where to find them in real time. If we’re really strapped for cash, how would we even travel to protest in front of their empty gates? I’ve yet to hear of riots which destroyed or looted gated communities of actual wealthy people.

      So over here one has the $2000 now $1400 checks with new means testing criteria. Over there proposals to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt. Way over there, revoking and reversing SALT. Coming soon to a theater near you, the grand bargain. etc. Throw in an “insurrection,” an impeachment, a crappy vaccine rollout, lack of healthcare and finally continuing triggered trauma caused by systemic racism. With all this, why would the little people direct their anger at the billionaire class?

      The billionaire class recognizes that there are more than 60 million people in the top 20%. 60 odd million people in the top 20% are the best protection billionaires could have as long as they stay loyal to the system. Key groups within those ranks are the ones which using bait and switch techniques on would be problematic.

      Unless there’s a bunch of someones to bring them altogether. Even then, there’s always the aftermath after the momentary storm has passed.

    6. Keith Newman

      I agree it’s unfair and wrong economically, however I don’t agree it is politically wrong. Where will dissatisfied people go? The US is a one party state with two party theatrics. Enough people believe there is real choice to prevent any change. There are no alternative political options.

  4. ambrit

    I now distrust the Democrat Party so much that I want to see just what the “amendments” contain. Even though the “vote-a-rama” amendments are basic ‘virtue signaling’ exercises, they show where the sponsoring legislator’s “hearts” are.
    Is this an exercise in “sausage making” as usual?
    To ‘vlade’s’ point above; “Larry” Summers has ‘form’ as a neo-liberal apparatchik. He was involved in the despoilation of the Ex Soviet Union among other malfeasances. He looks to be trying to replicate that feat of his former glory days here ‘back home’ in America. Yet another example of the principle of ‘blowback.’

    1. notabanker

      Yes, the checks and who they go to is a red herring. There is something more fundamental lurking within that bill. My guess is stripping corporate liability, under the guise of COVID claims, but far more sweeping.

    2. DKarp

      I would love to know more about Larry Summers and former Eastern bloc despoilage—can’t find relevant facts. It’s only because I read Naked Capitalism that I learned, long after the fact, that his debacle at Harvard was not just about the women in science idiocy.

  5. The Rev Kev

    This does not make progressives look good in any case. I saw Bernie in an interview forcefully argue that the $1,400 had to go out immediately. So any talk about a full $2,000 payment was then firmly stuck in the rear-vision mirror. But having compromised on that, now they are being expected to compromise on which set of desperate people will actually get them, much less which month. If the Democrats keep doing stuff like this, it is only a matter of time until Trump’s picture starts appearing online and in papers with the caption ‘Do You Miss Me Yet?’ making people wonder.

    1. Aaron

      You are spot on. But it is not just the 2000-1400 fudging. Why set income eligibility at all? Why not give the money to everyone and take back from people who file income above 50K/100K two years later?

      The tweet I would have expected from Bernie is this:
      “There are some Dems who want to set income eligibility limits for stimulus checks. In other words, people who got checks from Trump would not get them from Biden. Brilliant!”

      All these tantrums are just Bernie desperately trying to hide the fact that he too is a sellout. Just like AOC and the rest of them. All the progressive posturing is just to get into power. He is a millionaire and nearly 80. Why not take a stand on principle? Is the committee post so important? I am disgusted.

      1. tegnost

        to be a millionaire in the u.s. all you have to do is own a house. Bernie didn’t sell anyone out, and he still has power and is using it on behalf of the people. Who’s having a tantrum here…
        All this is proof of is that biden 2020 will crash it faster. The job of elite dems is to crush the working class and turn everyone into a prop 22 enforced gig worker, and then lecture the rest of the world about how great we are,proof being the proliferation of “our” 100 billionaires.

        1. flora

          I wonder if the Dem estab is desperate to lose the Senate in 2022 so they don’t have to govern? Remember O’s policies’ effects in the 2010 midterm. /heh

        2. Felix_47

          Sanders was my choice in 2016 and 2019. He is a sellout contrary to your statement. He proved that small donations would fund a full bore campaign. So many of my coworkers skipped lunch, gave up so many things so they could send a few bucks to Bernie……he sold them all out. That was the reason the Dems were so afraid. Their business model was about to be destroyed. To run against people like the DNC requires the ability to draw a lof of blood. There was more than enough dirt on Biden to wipe him out. Before South Carolina Sanders could have called Obama and said that if Jim Clyburn weighs in (which he specifically said he would not do and which he ended up doing to protect the health insurance industry and his PAC money….look up how much drug money he gets) so he could get the primary earlier in SC and if Obama weighs in against him he would ask his followers to vote for anyone else. If Sanders had turned against the dems my coworkers would have voted for someone else….Green?. It is like tennis. You put the ball where the opponent cannot return it. And had Trump been reelected at least we would not be facing 16 to 20 years of more neoliberal rule with a Harris Buttigieg lineup. We would have had just four more years of bad government and a better shot at getting out of Africa and Afghanistan. When you have a bad hand you throw it in and hope for something better next draw…….the US doubled down on a crappy hand. Sanders is a good man but he is no leader and he wasted a golden opportunity which we will be paying for for perhaps centuries. We may see universal health coverage a few decades after the US has national high speed rail. And the beauty to a national system is that the government at some point can institute price controls and utilization controls and without that any system is doomed.

    1. ambrit

      Silly old me. Here I am harbouring the quaint notion that Terran humans are supposed to be “better” than animals. Yet, here are the ‘Sons of Bernays’ diligently beavering away at ‘training’ the general population to do tricks on ‘command.’
      I had to look “Queenslander” up and found that, d—it man, it looks just like an old Southern Gothic bungalow. I’ve seen many an example of the North American Deep South variety.
      Question; here, the primary woods used on our varieties are pines, with hardwood floors and occasionally cypress trims. What did the builders Down Under use, tropical woods?
      Thanks. Stay safe. Be strong.

      1. skippy

        Mostly Spotted Gum, Blackbutt and Ironbark weatherboards&interior studs with silky oak windows and old slow growth pine for interior trims and doors. Most of these manors or cottages are about 100 years old and there is a tremendous amount refurbishing/modernizing/upgrading these intercity rings houses at the moment.

        If maintained these houses will outlast all RE built since the assembly line developer model was introduced in the 70s till today. I admin allows I will post a couple of photos later.

  6. LawnDart

    The longer that they can keep these debates going, the longer it is until the NEXT relief package comes up for debate.

    I’m sure that the bills can wait.

        1. ambrit

          That’s a false argument. One can reject a political option without preferring the other “options” put forward. The old Greek term for a ‘strike’ was, I have read, “withdrawing one’s labour.” Here, the ‘strike’ is political and consists of “withdrawing one’s ‘consent.'”
          Oh, and do get that knee looked at.

  7. Bob Hertz

    If the labor market is going to be stuck in a rut until 2024, then there is going to be a limit on how many times we can do a stimulus. We cannot send out $450 billion every few months.
    (Unless one believes totally in MMT, which I do not.)

    In other words, we have to set limits somewhere. Summers is right.

    1. tegnost

      Bosh. Did you not see that the stimulus is 1/4 of the bill? Could you hand wring a bit about the other gravy trains? We had to get the dems in office or else end of the world is here (look at the piles of hair on the ground from the tearing, and the rent garments), now we have to be lectured by alcoholics about the danger of drinking…

    2. Big River Bandido

      MMT is not something one “believes in” or not. MMT simply explains how spending works. We do it for war all the time.

      1. RMO

        I don’t believe in quantum theory and the theory of relativity, therefore hydrogen bombs do not work. See how foolish that sounds?

        MMT also does not say that money can be created and spent infinitely with no consequences. The limiting factor on spending however are the real productive resources of the nation that creates that money which does mean that the flexibility of a state to spend is much greater than is commonly acknowledged. This is entirely for political reasons – as an excuse to not do things which an interest group does not want to do. This can be seen plainly by the manner in which every austerity pushing politician, pundit or lobby is silent on the “how are we going to pay for it?” whenever it comes to something they want themselves.

        1. Jason

          I don’t believe in quantum theory and the theory of relativity, therefore hydrogen bombs do not work. See how foolish that sounds?

          Actually, the inanity lies in analogizing economics/finance to other sciences.

          1. ambrit

            The real inanity is calling economics a ‘science’ in the first place.
            Unless you consider the word ‘science’ to be a “term of art.” Then we get into “field” theory.

              1. Terry Flynn

                Samuelson ADMITTED balanced budgets were a religion because people couldn’t be trusted without “superstitions” otherwise. My favorite YouTube video ever.

    3. flora

      Shorter Summers: Wall St (my friends) bailouts? No limit. Main Street (not my friends) bailout? Skin flint limits!

    4. John Zelnicker

      @Bob Hertz
      February 8, 2021 at 7:54 am

      MMT is not a belief system. It is a practical and accurate description of the way our monetary system operates in the real world, without the obfuscation of political decisions and processes instituted over 50 years ago. Those decisions and processes have no purpose other than to fool people into believing that the federal government can’t afford to provide all that it should for the general welfare.

      There are, in fact, limits already. The limit is the availability of real resources necessary to provide the things we need to live and prosper.

      Edit: Seems I’m a little late to this thread. Better answers than mine from others above.

  8. Chuk Jones

    So the dems want of further divide our classless society? Now you will not have to be a billionaire to look down on working people for receiving those “gov’mint handouts”, you can do it from the great height of 75k. Democrats just don’t want to win.

  9. Michael C.

    Beware the 2022 midterms. Either on of these two must be true:
    1)The Dems have learned nothing, or
    2) This is who Dems really are and to expect differently is foolishness.

  10. GlassHammer

    “Waste” and “conservation” only matters to Congress when it concerns “money”.

    And that is hilarious.

  11. antidlc

    So lemme get this right.

    Some people could end up getting more stimulus money from the Trump administration than the Biden administration.

    Did I get that right?

    The Dems really, really want to lose the 2022 mid-terms, don’t they?

  12. allan

    The Superstar Research Driving the Checks Debate Has a Problem [American Prospect]

    … The only way you get to the conclusion that low-income people spent the check quickly and higher-income people didn’t, in other words, is by saying that ZIP codes that had lower-income people in them between three and seven years ago contained a higher level of immediate spending than ZIP codes with higher-income people during this period.

    All of this time, of course, pre-dates the pandemic. As Lindsay Owens, interim executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative, told me, “There is absolutely no reason to be nickel and diming families, many of whom have seen their incomes drop since 2019, on the size of the promised checks.”

    When I asked Opportunity Insights about this, they acknowledged “the distribution of incomes change within each ZIP code over time and as people move.” However, they expressed confidence that 2019 distribution of incomes is similar to the ACS ZIP code data, and that since employment rates have fully recovered at the top end of the income distribution, that the ZIP code data for the top households is fairly consistent.

    ZIP code data is used fairly commonly in micro-economics, and you could make a somewhat plausible case that this proxy works. But lots of economists have problems with it. “I think the paper is unsuitable for the policy discussion,” said Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve and Council of Economic Advisers economist. “It’s one paper at odds with 20 years of research.” Sahm noted that only household-level spending and income data would be appropriate to draw the kinds of conclusions the paper reaches. The sampling errors in the ACS data are pretty high. “I know the sampling error has to be in the thousands of dollars, there’s no way it’s that precise,” Sahm said.

    There’s also potentially significant variation of income within ZIP codes, a point that Census economist John Voorhies made on Twitter. The Opportunity Insights data is presented implicitly as if the income variation doesn’t apply. “This means there’s such severe income segregation that the only possible policy conclusion from your research is to burn the whole thing down and start over,” Voorhies noted. …

    Oops. But, if it’s quoted in the Post, it must be serious, amirite?

  13. Jeremy Grimm

    I searched for the text of the House or Senate bill containing the text of the Corona stimulus package. I think it is included as part of H.R.133, of 3 January 2021, a 2000+ page package of supplements to the 5500+ page “Rules Committee Print 116-68 Text of the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 133” of 21 December 2020, to be referred to as “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021”, 116HR133SA-RCP-116-68 … or something like that. I am confused by how these bills are titled. Their length appears to result from both their actual length but also from their formatting. I also found some summaries of what was referred to as the COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill at the National Conference of State Legislatures [NCSL] website, https://www.ncsl.org/ncsl-in-dc/publications-and-resources/covid-19-economic-relief-bill-stimulus.aspx . All kinds of stuff is tucked into the Corona bill and labeled as Corona relief. I think the magic Trillions numbers for ‘stimulus/relief’ are just like the CARES Act Trillions — aggregates intended to obscure rather than clarify to whom the Trillions have been allocated.

    I did spot an interesting item under “Disaster Relief” among the Corona relief bullet item details on the NCSL webpage: “Provides a 40% tax credit of wages (up to $6,000 per employee) to employers in disaster zones (areas where individual and public assistance is mandated). The credit will apply to wages paid without regard to whether services associated with those wages were performed.”
    I have no idea who might benefit from this disaster relief.

    After a cursory look at several government bills and Federal Laws I am convinced ordinary citizens are not supposed to know what their representatives have legislated. I doubt our representatives know all the goodies tucked into the tree-killing bills they vote on. What kind of democracy can exist in a system of such extensive and apparently deliberate obfuscation? I think in our democracy ordinary citizens are supposed to take what is taken from them, accept what they are given, and just believe what they are told.

  14. Cat Burglar

    Can Senators Sinema and Manchin, the means tester advocates, be so powerful that they have forgotten Arizona and West Virginia might need some federally funded roads? That’s a real nice federal office center West Virginia has, it would be terrible if budget concerns required closing it. Why isn’t anyone cutting a deal with them? They have needs — how much are they willing to give to get them satisfied?

    We have The Economist That Ate The Harvard Endowment and the Peterson Institute weighing in against real stimulus, but my guess is that the real power being exerted in favor of more restrictive means testing is coming from Biden administration officers — I have not found good reporting on it.

    Any limitation on how much can be spent on stimulus must be at least 16 to 23 trillion dollars, which is what the Fed put out on the early bank bailout.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sinema and Manchin are just the rotating villains. They are taking criticism for other villains who are conspicuously silent such as the other Virginia’s Senators. Biden wouldn’t give a damn if it wasn’t going to reflect on his poor Presidency.

  15. CarlH

    So we aren’t even talking about $2000 anymore? We’re just gonna let them memory hole that and let them settle on $1400 as the starting point to negotiate down from? This is why I no longer have any faith in Bernie, the Squad, or anyone else caucusing with the Dems.

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