Monday, May 11, 2020

Truest statement of the week

Amid scenes of disease, death and hunger not seen since the Great Depression, the Trump administration and Congress are, in Trump’s words, “in no rush” to pass a “Phase IV” stimulus bill to provide aid to bankrupt state and city governments and relief to desperate working class families.
With today’s reconvening of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, following that of the Republican-led Senate last Monday, the largely stage-managed political wrangling over a new stimulus bill begins in earnest. But it is already clear that any bill that emerges will further enrich the financial aristocracy at the expense of the jobs, the wages and the very lives of the working class.

At the end of March, Congress passed, in record time and by a near-unanimous vote, the biggest corporate bailout in world history. Since then, tens of millions of American workers have been laid off, bringing the number of unemployed and underemployed workers, according to Friday’s Labor Department employment report, to at least 47 million, or nearly one-third of the labor force.
Millions of those laid off during the lockdown have received neither jobless pay nor the one-time $1,200 stipend promised by the government. Studies show that 40 percent of families with children are unable to buy enough food and mile-long food lines are springing up cross the country.
Despite rising coronavirus infections and death, concentrated in work locations such as meatpacking plants and logistics facilities (Amazon, the US Postal Service, UPS, etc.), the Trump administration and state governors, Democratic and well as Republican, are ordering workers back to work without any safety precautions and under pain of being cut off of jobless pay.

Meanwhile, the stock market, buoyed by the flood of cash from the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve, is roaring back and poised to surpass its record heights before the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in March.

-- Barry Grey, "As US House returns to Washington, Democrats signal readiness to grant companies immunity for worker deaths" (WSWS).

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