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EDITORIAL: It is time to pass stimulus, stop playing politics

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has engaged in political warfare with her equally malfeasant counterpart, President Donald J. Trump. People are suffering as a result.  – Photo by Wikimedia

The American economy is in shambles right now. Payroll employment has cratered since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began and average hourly wages have decreased, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The second fiscal quarter of 2020 was the worst one for America on record.

“Business ground to a halt during the pandemic lockdown in the spring of this year, and America plunged into its first recession in 11 years, putting an end to the longest economic expansion in US history and wiping out five years of economic gains in just a few months,” according to CNN.

But this economic collapse has not impacted everyone equally either. In a year partially defined by protests against racial inequality in the United States, the coronavirus disease was more likely to harm Black Americans due to systemic issues in healthcare — and the fiscal downfall has harmed them more as well.

“The coronavirus is also having a hugely disparate impact on Black people’s finances and prospects. For myriad reasons, Black Americans will have a harder time rebounding economically from the pandemic, and the fact that they began this period far behind whites in average income, wealth and home-ownership rates will only make it more difficult,” according to The New Yorker.

Naturally, the government stepped in to help stimulate the economy, which was the least it could have done considering the recession was a result of government-imposed lockdowns. 

The suits of Washington D.C. passed the paycheck protection program into law earlier this year, which — at least in theory — provided loans to businesses to keep them afloat during the most stringent portion of lockdowns.

In addition, stimulus package was signed into law in the spring, which among other things, gave Americans (not all — those who worked and were not dependents) a $1,200 check. 

“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President (Donald J.) Trump on March 27th, 2020. This over $2 trillion economic relief package delivers on the Trump Administration’s commitment to protecting the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19,” according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

But March was a long, long time ago in the grand scheme of the coronavirus disease pandemic. Most of the benefits of the CARES act have expired, but the economic damage caused by the lockdowns has not. The American people are in dire need of a second round of stimulus. The talks for another bill are ongoing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Trump have failed to compromise on a stimulus bill. Simply put, Pelosi wants certain stipulations in the bill that Trump has thus far refused to give ground on, including more money. 

“(Pelosi) is taking a gamble in coronavirus relief negotiations, playing hardball in 11th-hour talks when she thinks she has more leverage over President Trump than ever. For weeks, the California Democrat has been drawing a tough line with a president increasingly desperate to produce a pre-Election Day achievement as he lags in polls,” according to The Washington Post.

So far, it seems it is working. Trump is willing to raise his $1.8 trillion stimulus offer and concede to some of Pelosi’s demands.

“Later, President Trump said that he would raise his offer for a stimulus package above his current level of $1.8 trillion. House Democrats have passed a $2.2 trillion bill,” according to CNBC.

Still, it is evident that both of them (Trump and Pelosi) are privileged bureaucrats playing politics over this money. Pelosi does not want a bill passed before the election, as she is fearful it will bolster Trump’s chances at retaining the White House. Trump desperately wants to pass a bill for exactly that reason.

Pelosi, in fact, got into a dispute with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer regarding the issue.

“When Blitzer continued to press Pelosi on statements made by (Rep. Ro) Khanna (D-Calif.) and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who also favors cutting a deal with the president, Pelosi again grew exasperated. ‘Honest to God, I really can’t get over it. Because Andrew Yang, he’s lovely. Ro Khanna, he’s lovely. They’re not negotiating this situation,’ Pelosi said, adding, ’You evidently do not respect the chairman of the committees who wrote these bills,’" according to Yahoo News.

Needless to say, both of these politicians would do better if they actually worked for the American people and cut a deal already. Again, it has been since March that we have had a stimulus bill passed, and people are legitimately suffering — and unequally suffering as well.

In addition, other countries have not only been able to work out their politics and pass legislation for stimulus, but have provided more relief overall, with many nations choosing to give weekly payments as a function of a worker's paycheck.

Also certainly worth noting is that these stimulus bills impact us, as college students, directly as well. The CARES Act provided relief for colleges, and a renewal of such relief would be for our benefit.

In an ideal world, we should note, the lack of a perfect stimulus bill would not be so devastating. If we had affordable healthcare or a public option for healthcare, and more substantial government support programs in general, the lack of a stimulus would not literally kill people. But we are a long way from such broad reforms.

For now, these two would be best advised to knock it off and help their constituents — the American public.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 152nd editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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