COVID-19 relief in the United States' supposed peer nations shows how cruel Republicans are
The failures of the United States to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant economic challenges is well documented. More than that, millions of Americans are living those failures every day: The $600 in expanded unemployment insurance that expired in July and wasn’t renewed. The Paycheck Protection Program that didn’t reach many of the businesses that needed it most. (Disclosure: Kos Media received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.) The state unemployment benefits extension that will expire soon, and the eviction protections similarly expiring. The struggling industries that didn’t get bailed out. It’s disaster after disaster, and “failure” is a generous word since it’s the result of a refusal by Senate Republicans and Donald Trump to do the right thing.
We have only to look at other countries to see that it didn’t need to be this way. Just to the north in Canada, workers who’ve lost jobs or income are getting $2,000 a month in addition to subsidies for children and bailouts for affected industries.
Germany is aiding businesses affected by the pandemic, with companies paid to keep workers on the payrolls, preventing unemployment from skyrocketing to begin with. As France went into lockdown for a second time in late October, The New York Times reported, “Businesses hardest hit by the new confinement will get 10,000 euros per month, and their payrolls will effectively be nationalized so that employees who cannot work may keep their jobs.”
Even in England, conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed the extension of an 80% wage subsidy for those displaced by the virus.
Republicans in the U.S. are a special kind of cruel, though. No such relief is coming for U.S. workers or small businesses as Senate Republicans and the White House—months after the House passed a comprehensive COVID-19 stimulus package—negotiate a pittance, then pull it back, then dangle another offensively stingy proposal, then pull back again while formerly working people spend hours lined up at overwhelmed food banks and count the days until they may be evicted.