Consider they are also states with Democratic governors and have been targets of Donald Trump’s ridicule.
They are also commonly cited as the nation’s most electorally “blue bastions.”
At the end of last month, Florida was the only state to receive the lion’s share of equipment necessary to combat the coronavirus.
Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis received 100 percent of everything he asked for three days after his formal request on March 11, yet he kept his state’s beaches open during spring break, promulgating contagion and overburdening the nation’s healthcare facilities.
When Republican Colorado Senator Cory Gardner requested medical equipment, Trump tweeted the following:
Will be immediately sending 100 Ventilators to Colorado at the request of Senator Gardner! https://t.co/Nj4EPxfZl6
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
But when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo–dealing with the highest confirmed coronavirus/COVID-19 cases in the world–-was left to literally beg the federal government for 20,000 stock-piled ventilators, Trump accused him of lying.
If Trump’s craven animus toward states he did not win in 2016–and will likely lose again in November–is not evident enough, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), this week confirmed it along with the understanding that the entire Republican party has no interest in assisting Democratic states in times of need.
“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available.”
The National Governors’ Association explained states and local governments would need at least $500 billion to handle the virus, yet McConnell took credit for blocking their aid in the interim relief package the Senate passed Tuesday, stating:
“My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of. I said yesterday we’re going to push the pause button here because I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated.”
Yet even though McConnell is speaking for Senate Republicans, not all Republicans publicly support his stance.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, National Governors’ Association chairman, called McConnell’s claim “complete nonsense.”
“These are well-run states. There are just as many Republicans as Democrats that strongly support this. I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to—between the administration and the 55 governors in America, including the territories—we’re going to convince Sen. McConnell that maybe he shouldn’t let all the states go bankrupt.”
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo added:
“This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time. I said to my colleagues in Washington, I would have insisted that state and local funding was in this current bill, because I don’t believe they want to fund state and local governments.”
“I mean just think of what he’s saying. People died. 15,000 people died in New York.”
“It will undermine everything from public health to education if we don’t get the kind of support we need out of Washington, D.C.”
That is, of course, the point.
Despite all the talk of “fiscal responsibility,” and people needing to “lift themselves up by their bootstraps,” Republicans have never had any problem with “bailouts,” “stimulus packages,” “rescue packages,” or whatever euphemism is ascribed as long as their wealthy Wall Street donors are taken care of, as a quarter of the $2 trillion CARES ACT, the bipartisan relief package Congress passed this month, does.
Conservatives love to blame our economic woes on social safety nets, specifically Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka “food stamps,” public employee benefits and pensions.
“There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”
But when massive transnational corporations come to Congress pleading for financial assistance, or corporate welfare, there isn’t a moment’s hesitation.
The Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, receives $229,422,025 in government subsidies.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world while thousands of his employees are forced to rely on public assistance and a relief fund to cover sick leave for contract and seasonal workers stricken with COVID-19.
The federal government hand him $2,379,871,238 in corporate welfare.
McDonald’s receives $7,368,093; Goldman-Sachs, $796,696,599; JP Morgan Chase, $1,580,273,880; Morgan Stanley, $413,241,084; Bank of America, $689,530,980; Boeing, $14,921,178,528; Exxon Mobil, $1,015,682,466; FedEx, $606,171,062; General Electric, $2,176,390,015.
The list goes on and on and on.
This is what American taxpayers are handing these companies despite record profits.
Quoting a recent Slate piece:
“Regardless of how quickly state governments act to lift restrictions on economic activity, there will need to be at least one more major relief bill. PPP [Payroll Protection Program] will run out of money again. Hospitals will need more money. Human beings will need more money! At least 22 million jobs have been lost in the past few weeks—and we have no idea how long it will take for them to come back. The damage is incalculable. It is untenable for a legislator or president to say their hands are tied because of the deficit, because that legislator or president will risk blame for a worsening economic depression in an election year.”
We are rapidly descending toward Republican Great Depression unemployment numbers because the coronavirus shut-downs are accelerating the demise of an economy that was already teetering on a precipice.
It took four years for the unemployment rate during the Great Depression to reach its 25% apex.
It’s taking us four months.
Many economists warn we could be headed for an historic–and crippling–32%.
As David Sirota wrote in his newsletter TMI:
“His [McConnell’s] goal is to use the coronavirus crisis to realize one of the most radical long-term goals of the conservative movement: empowering states to break existing contracts and slash previously pledged pension benefits for teachers, firefighters, cops, first responders and other public-sector employees.”
People are waking up to the con in republican.
As every economic crisis has demonstrated, we are about to fundamentally change our economy and society.
The question is, what direction will we choose–social democracy or fascism?