A government that tells its citizens they cannot work cannot require them to pay their bills. 

by Paul Moomjean

paulmoomjean@yahoo.com 

As we leave July and start looking into the future of a hot summer and rising COVID-19 cases, the most harrowing question being asked right now is the most practical and self-serving: Am I going to get extended unemployment benefits past July? After a $4 trillion bailout of banks, major businesses and mega churches, we are finally seeing the day of reckoning coming. The American people were given $1,200 (maybe) to pay their bills, and organizations got millions to take care of themselves. With rent and mortgage back payments looming and an economic planning nightmare ahead for small businesses, it is time for a government for the people and by the people to rise up, and the crony capitalism that has emerged to be called out and canceled as fast as possible. The fate of our county, state and nation is contingent upon it.

Back in March, the government, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump, doled out over $4 trillion in economic relief. But that relief is about to dry up. CNBC reported in late June, “Unemployment checks are about to shrink dramatically. For the tens of millions of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, the extra $600 boost will run out sooner than expected. The $600 weekly payments from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program were put in place as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act Congress passed in late March amid the coronavirus pandemic. Americans who are eligible for unemployment insurance receive an extra $600 on top of what they normally claim under their state’s benefits. Yet this boost is scheduled ‘to end on or before July 31, 2020.’”

With their bandaid of a stimulus package looking to leave millions of Americans stranded financially, Americans will see a mild hysteria on August 1. Suddenly, people will have no jobs or limited working capabilities or — even worse — no livable income. A government that tells its citizens they cannot work cannot require them to pay their bills. This is literal mafia-like tactics based less out of aggression toward its people and more out of blatant ignorance of Economics 101. What the government should have and still should do is allow Americans to stop payments on all forms of housing and real estate payments and insurance until we’ve gone back to normal. What is the point of owning “prime real estate” in the business sector if no one can walk by it? That’s why people leased or bought the land. Now, a take-out only dine-in restaurant is worth less than a drive-thru restaurant with a window to serve customers. 

Meanwhile, people are making regular payments to health and automobile insurance carriers without having hospitals and doctors readily available and driving nowhere near the same amount of mileage. The whole world has been turned upside down except the pricing of goods and services. And with unemployment benefits being reduced, how will people pay for things that already were too expensive already? 

Meanwhile, one group benefiting the most right now are organizations that never paid a dime into the system from the get-go: Religious organizations. Newsweek reported that groups getting taken care of are those that pay no taxes at all:

“Treasury Department data released Monday shows that religious organizations, ranging from nearly 10,000 Catholic churches to hundreds of Jewish groups, received 88,411 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans since the program began April 3. Several churches affiliated with outspoken Trump supporters and close associates amassed at least $17.3 million in loans intended to help small businesses and nonprofits retain workers.”

In one of the most ridiculous acts of crony capitalism, Trump’s base gets the perks of government socialism, while preaching against all those who used food stamps, welfare checks and government assistance. What do they need the money for? Unless they plan to maintain paying for missionaries abroad, close the doors and get on Zoom like the rest of us. I’m a Christian. I taught and worked in churches and Christian education, but watching right-wing groups who preached against those living off the land getting the fattest portion is so beyond hypocritical, it’s beyond ironic and reaches sadly comical. 

We elect government officials to protect our rights and protect us. They are doing neither. And while there have been a lot of marches for good causes, maybe it’s time we all come together to march for something we all need right now: a government for the people and by the people.