Handouts: A different perspective

So far, the total relief money allocated by the federal government in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis is $2,000,000,000,000. That’s a 2 with 12 zeroes. And there’s more to come.

There are 328,200,000 people in the USA. Ages 0-14 years = 61,110,000; ages 15-64 years = 214,478,000; over 65 = 52,610,000 — all approximately until the new Census is tabulated.

If everyone under the age of 14 was given $250 a month for five months, and everyone aged 15 to 64 was given $1,500 a month for the next five months and everyone over 65 was given $1,000 a month for the next five months, the total payout by the government would be $76,387,500,000 + $1,608,585,000,000 + $265,050,000,000 for a grand total, spread over five months, of $1,950,022,500,000 or less than the $2,000,000,000,000 already allocated.

Now, imagine you’re a working family of four. Your bank and everyone you have to deal with (car payments, utilities, etc.) would know that over the five-month period you would have a federal guaranteed income — non-repayable, not a loan — of $17,500, or $3,500 a month. Of course, if your kids were over the age of 14, then the monthly total would be $6,000 and it would be $30,000 over five months.

A retired couple — still getting Social Security — would also have $2,000 a month or $10,000 over that five-month period.

Why is this more fair? Because work in America and taxes in America are all about people, not companies, not Wall Street. If General Motors has to shutter its plant while the pandemic rages, what does it matter except for the workers who may never return? By shoring up the workers, you can be assured they will be able and capable to return to work. Guaranteeing short-term employee wages at a time when GM and other consumer good manufacturers won’t be selling any cars or goods achieves nothing for the families and only enriches the factory owners and business.

Business without employees or customers always fail. It is that simple. In times of crisis, when work is impossible (and that’s a key ingredient here), the only future asset a company has is the employees. If the employees are able to weather the storm, then the factory and manufacturing, and diners and hair salons will be able to re-open when the storm passes. If you fund the business instead of the workers, you may allow that hair salon to pay a landlord, but you never guarantee the worker will be able or want to return. If you fund the manufacturing plant you may guarantee that loans to banks and bond holders get paid, but when you want to re-open the plant you may not find either a healthy or able workforce.

Now, many will say that’s what unemployment pay is for… let’s start with a simple fact. The estimate is that 30% of the people who have tried to file for unemployment let alone Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) can’t even get online or anyone on the phone. Lines in offices are days, yes days, long. Unemployment, sudden massive unemployment filing was never contemplated or funded. It’s a mess. And unemployment is limited in time, way shorter than five months state by state.

If the reason for any bailout or relief is to weather this pandemic and be able to resume normal life, it makes far more sense to fund the people whose life it is, not the businesses that need their labor.

 

Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now lives in New Mexico. 

Latest News

Summer sizzle puts trout in hot water

This smallmouth bass ignored the tempting green Gurgler and instead took a reverse-hackle wet fly typically used in Tenkara angling. Fish are funny that way.

Patrick L. Sullivan

The dog days have arrived.

This phrase refers to the summer, which brings heat, which makes trout unhappy.

Keep ReadingShow less
Cool coffee granitas

Second helpings of coffee granitas are usually required.

Eliza Osborne

As I write, it is about a thousand degrees. And said to be staying there as we slog through this existential climate change, which I believe used to be known as summer. I was going to write about new and exciting developments in the pizza world, but probably no one south of the Nordkapp is going to turn on an oven much before October if this keeps up. So pizza will have to wait for who knows when, and, instead, I’ll offer something that’s really cold, really easy, and really good. You’ll love it, I promise.

Hang on a minute, I have to go open the refrigerator door and lie down on the floor in front of it for a while first. Be right back . . .

Keep ReadingShow less
Norfolk Artists & Friends annual exhibit returns

Norfolk Artists & Friends founder Ruthann Olsson.

Jennifer Almquist

For the past 17 years, a community of artists have shown a visual feast of their paintings, sculpture, jewelry, photography, and decorative arts in an annual exhibition in Norfolk.

Following tradition, more than thirty members of Norfolk Artists & Friends (NAF), a membership organization of professional artists, will be showing their artwork this summer in a group exhibit at the Art Barn Gallery on the Battell Stoeckel Estate in Norfolk from Aug. 1 to 4. The show is sponsored by the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival – Yale School of Music, to which 15% of the sales is donated.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Litchfield Jazz Festival returns for year 29

Now celebrating its 29th year, The Litchfield Jazz Festival will take place July 26-28 at the Tisch Auditorium and the Bourne Courtyard at the Frederick Gunn School in Washington, Connecticut.

Presented by Litchfield Performing Arts, the festival began as a classical series supplemented with dance and theater and jazz. Executive Director Vita West Muir spent time consulting with jazz gurus like DJ Ken Woods from WPBX Long Island, going to concerts, visiting other festivals in New York and New Orleans, and gathering advice from friends.

Keep ReadingShow less