How Can Congress Not Agree on $2,000 for every American?

Why is it considered a success to give businesses trillions while people can’t even get 2k from the government for one month?

This year, the S&P 500 is up an astonishing 15% this year, and the NASDAQ is up an absurd 43% amidst the biggest demand crisis since the Great Recession and the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu. While some may see this as a success story of the response, the inequities and injustice is has dealt to ordinary people are utterly overlooked, and they are truly disgusting. Right now, the government is trying to pass the next covid relief/government funding package in one, 5500 page package that no congressperson could possibly have read. It’s bad enough that our representatives literally don’t know what they’re voting for. It’s perhaps worse that they can’t even agree to give people who they have demanded not work for nearly the whole year a measly $2,000, instead settling on $600. Why would you expect people to follow quarantine when they are threatened with homelessness, hunger, and the rest of the things that plague poverty?

Why would you expect people to follow quarantine when they are threatened with homelessness, hunger, and the rest of the things that plague poverty?

So it is, that people have a monetary incentive to break quarantine. So it is, that we’re nearing 300,000 deaths caused by this virus, in no small part because of this prioritization of businesses over people. But wait, they say, funding businesses is helping people! It would seem we have learned nothing from the trickle-down economics that even George H.W. Bush denounced as “voodoo economics,” to say nothing of the immense death toll caused by people breaking quarantine. It seems we also didn’t learn with the bailouts from the 2008 Great Recession, when millions were foreclosed on and lost jobs, savings, and, for some, everything, while businesses were bailed out en masse. So it is, with great fervor, the entirety of government has prioritized the interests of businesses even while insisting people don’t return to work. The result has been people once again being screwed, while businesses get so much cash they actually turned tidy profits — with little to no oversight which itself resulted in billions wasted to fraud — with which they can use at their discretion with few, if any, strings attached.

Rather than improve consumer spending, the fundamental building block of the economy, by giving people money besides covering unemployment (which doesn’t help tens of millions of Americans at all), the government instead tried to supplant the places of consumers by giving these businesses the money directly. It is horrifying that the government would prioritize businesses over people to begin with — literally putting profit over people — but the sheer audacity of what they have done goes further. As of April(!), the government had spent a whopping 6 trillion on the pandemic response, which doesn’t count trillions more spent then, which almost entirely went to businesses. This includes 4 trillion from the Fed to buy bankrupt-prone, junk-graded bonds from corporations. Wouldn’t it be nice, if you could offer a get a loan with a junk credit score and have the Fed guarantee they will spend every dollar known to man to give you such a saving grace? Instead, they felt only businesses should have this resource.

Congress seemed to agree with the Fed’s strategy. While it seems purposefully obfuscated how much the grand total the government has spent so far (go ahead, try finding the number), a reasonable estimate would near 10 trillion. Certainly no less than 7 trillion. For that amount of money, how much reached your pockets? Theoretically if 7 trillion was spent to provide people with money, while 3 trillion went to everything else, each person in the U.S., including every baby alive, would get $20,000. If we limit this to adults only, this would be $35,000! If you went on unemployment, the sum total of paying for your benefits from January to October was 128 billion, literally a fraction of that spending.

Unemployment insurance payments for January to October 2020

If you were unemployed though before January, as someone who is retired, a student, or otherwise unemployed, you probably got an amount more like me; a student who received a grand total of $1800, including the $600 expected in the upcoming package. In any case, every adult receiving $35,000 would surely bring the biggest expansion of the economy in living memory. The problem was, who benefits?

The government and the Fed, as always, decided businesses should benefit above all. So it is, that during the worst pandemic the stock market is up more than even a normal year, while once again millions of people get left behind. The egregiousness of this can’t be overstated, but it is especially audacious when you realize it is a dual-edged sword; that money will have to be paid back! While some businesses will pay back some money, by far the main burden will fall to taxpayers, who will then have actually paid money to have their money taken from them and given to businesses. Taxpayers will now have not only lost all the services that money could’ve provided, including instantly receiving $35,000 as one option, but they will have funded the businesses in an effort to maintain their jobs. This is like paying your employer to hire you. The level of audacity simply has no parallel.

And yet…we can’t even agree on $2,000 for one month, when the pandemic is reaching new heights once more. That the government might put profits of people might be expected, but lives themselves? No one is going to stay at home if they can’t provide for themselves and their families. They ensure by their policies people will be out and about, forced to work or decline into extreme poverty. By ensuring businesses — not people — stay afloat, they merely delay the economic crisis to later, ensuring when it comes another bailout for businesses is on the list, since people are too broke to pay for anything. Eventually, we reach a point where taxpayers are paying businesses to employ them and stay open, reaching for new heights of crony capitalism. If there’s one thing we can all agree on this year, it should be this; give the damn $2,000 to people, and stop letting businesses be the only winners in every crisis.

Psychology graduate and law student. I'm a paraplegic writer interested in everything, especially psychology, science, history, law, politics & philosophy.

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