COVID-19, Day 121

I’m starting to really worry about folks who are going to lose their enhanced unemployment benefits at the end of this month. I know at least one person in that boat. It’s going to be bad for him and his family. It’s going to be bad for every family that loses those benefits.

The Republicans have tried to put a negative spin on this by saying that folks claiming the enhanced unemployment are disincentivized, that they don’t want to go back to work because they’re making more now than when they were employed.

There’s a lot to unpack here.

More than 40% of unemployed folks say they’re making more now. As of June, 17.8% of people were unemployed. That means over 7 million people in the US are doing better with an extra $600 per week than they were with regular employment.

A mere $2,400 per month was able to change the lives of millions of Americans for the better. This is staggering.

“Million of Americans find out life is better when they got a million dollars a month from the government” is not surprising. “Million of Americans find out life is better when they got $2,400 a month from the government” is fucking wild.

What does it say about America that we have millions of people who are making less than is required for a basic standard of living, and we have the power to help those people up, yet we don’t do it? Can we blame them for not wanting to go back to a shitty job that doesn’t help them cover their expenses?

But the message from the government continues to be, “This is a disincentive.”

Phrased differently–in a positive light under the guise of a universal basic income–$2,400 per month would be a positive change in favor of those who need it most. It’s not a disincentive; it could save lives and businesses.

You say disincentive to work; I say incentive not to go out and infect other people.

And poverty has a corollary with violent crime. We could actually reduce crime rates by providing a UBI during the pandemic.

But Republicans are against anyone receiving anything–ANYTHING–that a wealthy white elderly male has deemed unnecessary. Never mind the recipient’s circumstances. “Fuck you, got mine” continues to be the rallying cry of the right.

Billionaires continue to consolidate wealth. Our poorest citizens continue to suffer. This is America.