It’s been instructive, at least, to see how much various politicians believe it costs to be alive and not working in this vast and powerful country of ours: Nearly two months since the first case of coronavirus was recorded in the United States, over the last 24 hours a gaggle of politicians have floated the idea that perhaps it would make sense to give the rest of us some cash.
Because, of course, we live in the most bizarre and horrifying possible version of our world, it was Senator Mitt Romney, a man who not too long ago reminded reporters he was really not particularly concerned about the poor, who first valiantly sent a tweet expressing support for a $1,000 emergency assistance check being mailed out to every American. That Romney’s stated attempt to help out his cherished definitely-not-poor constituency might cover half a month’s rent in Utah, but couldn’t cover anything close to the median rent in the cities that are currently shutting down and laying off hundreds of thousands of workers by default, did not seem to occur. Today, taking the progressive position, Senate Democrats Corey Booker, Sherrod Brown, and Michael Bennet stepped up to lobby for a $2,000 infusion as well as additional payments down the line that could add up to nearly $4,500 a person.
Not to be outdone, and apparently realizing that people could really fucking use a little money right now, President Trump directed Secretary of Treasury Steve Munchin to find funding for a “big number” of dollars to be sent to Americans sometime soon. From the New York Times:
Over lunch in an office building across from the Capitol, the Treasury secretary privately told Republicans that he envisioned the direct payments covering two weeks of pay and going out by the end of April, with additional checks possible if the national emergency persists, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private discussion.
Rent, of course, is due not at the end of April, but instead in about 15 days:
A win for the Yang Gang!, some not very smart people said, except Andrew Yang’s proposal was for a universal basic income doled out, one would imagine, during the course of a regular lifetime and not during a historic crisis in which half of American jobs were either already gone or at risk.
Having sailed right along through the stages of shock, denial, and apparently even maybe some pain, our President has arrived at the third stage of grief: furious and omnidirectional anger!
From Vanity Fair:
With the markets in free fall despite emergency action by the Fed over the weekend, Trump is waking up to the reality that’s been clear to everyone: Coronavirus poses a once-in-a-hundred-years threat to the country. “In the last 48 hours he has understood the magnitude of what’s going on,” a former West Wing official told me. As Trump processes the stakes facing the country—and his presidency—he’s also lashing out at advisers, whom he blames for the White House’s inept and flat-footed response. Sources say a principal target of his anger is Jared Kushner. “I have never heard so many people inside the White House openly discuss how pissed Trump is at Jared,” the former West Wing official said.
- While the rest of San Francisco is on lockdown, ICE agents continue to make arrests, joining celebrities and rich people in the category of “people besides healthcare workers who somehow have access to masks.” [LA Times]
- Seattle is giving $800 of Safeway vouchers to 6,000 families to supplement food assistance programs. [CNN]
- Chicago election officials say they wanted to cancel in-person voting for today’s primary, but were prevented from doing so by the Governor’s office. [NBC Chicago]
- A DNC memo threatens states with a reduction in delegates by up to 50 percent if they hold primaries too late. [The Guardian]
- White House officials, apparently not busy enough with the national emergency on their hands, appear to be spending their days coming up with deeply unoriginal racist jokes. [Twitter]
A previous version of this blog erroneously included a recent tweet from Kamala Harris about her 2018 LIFT act, written to provide $500 assistance to working families in the course of their everyday lives—the senator says she is working on an additional piece of legislation to be introduced soon. Jezebel regrets the error, and reminds its readers that even in moments of great panic and uncertainty, you should never read Twitter to get your news.