Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Trump/Pence Regime Is Clueless About Americans' Finances

Steven Mnuchin -  utterly clueless.
Perhaps it's the result of loading one's regime ("administration" is too complimentary a term) with rapacious billionaires and ideologues who worship vulture capitalism, but whatever the cause the Trump/Pence regime is proving itself utterly clueless as to the finances and lives of average Americans, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck.  Among the most clueless is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seemed to imply that $1,200 stimulus checks would be enough to tide American families over until the coronavirus pandemic crisis passed.  One has to wonder what planet these clueless and uncaring monsters are from.  With 22 million people seeking unemployment benefits over the last three weeks, perhaps Republicans will get a glimpse at how their reverse Robin Hood agenda has harmed so many Americans.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the depths of the Trump/Pence regime's callousness.  Here are highlights:
Earlier this week, a video of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaking on “Face the Nation” late last month began making the rounds. Mnuchin seemed to imply that the government’s current financial support system — the temporary boost to unemployment benefits, the small business lending program and the $1,200 stimulus check — would be enough to tide American families over until the coronavirus pandemic crisis passed.  This is all ludicrously, offensively inaccurate.
There are at least 22 million people who lost their jobs within the past month — and that’s what we know of. Antiquated state unemployment systems cannot keep up with the demand. And despite the fact that gig workers are supposed to be covered — for the first time ever — the Trump administration’s Labor Department is attempting to issue regulations to get around that directive. “We want workers to have work, not to become dependent on the unemployment system,” Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and Small Business Administration head Jovita Carranza wrote in an op-ed published by Fox Business (where else?) this week.
No surprise, thousands upon thousands of people are lining up at food banks, desperately seeking help — and the cost of staples such as eggs is soaring. Food banks, in turn, are increasingly concerned about running out of food, money or both. Meanwhile, the Trump administration needed to be publicly shamed into backing off an attempt to impose work requirements on food stamp recipients, even as jobs have disappeared.
As for the small business loan program designed to keep people employed — the Paycheck Protection Program — it was so underfunded that it ran out of money within days of opening up for applications.
More finance facts: According to the real estate site RENTCaf√©, the average rent in the United States is more than $1,400, over $200 more than our one-time $1,200 stimulus check. In many cities — including hard-hit New York — it’s more than $2,000. Almost a third of renters didn’t pay their rent bill for April, not because they were suddenly financially irresponsible, but because they didn’t have the money. They lived paycheck to paycheck, and when that paycheck suddenly vanished, so did their financial resources. Those Americans need a rent freeze, not a measly handout designed to make the narcissistic President Trump appear beneficent.
And that check? The American Prospect, in a great scoop, revealed that Mnuchin’s Treasury Department gave banks permission to seize the money if the account holder had outstanding balances for anything ranging from a past-due loan to an overdraft. Moreover, Trump’s insistence on putting his name on the checks means a delay in sending them to people who don’t have a bank account — that is the poorest, most financially desperate Americans.
But what would Trump care about that? He’s a man of inherited wealth who has fooled no small number of voters into believing he assembled his vast fortune all by himself. As president, he then went on to put together the wealthiest presidential Cabinet ever known. Mnuchin — estimated net worth $300 million — is all too typical. . . . Among Mnuchin’s pre-Trump claims to fame: foreclosing on the homes of financially desperate people during the financial crisis.
So instead of meaningful help, Americans get pep talks. Trump, Mnuchin and the Republican Party pursue a financial relief plan that showers gains on Wall Street and corporations, while leaving smaller businesses and individual Americans fighting for mere scraps. No amount of financial literacy is going to fix this bad penny of an administration.

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