2020 was a year full of contrasts. We have seen terrible tyranny and oppression by the far-right governments across the globe. At the same time people have come across to help and stand by each other against these oppressive forces. On one side when the world is in deep distress by the outbreak of novel Coronavirus, the vaccine trial results coming out from around the world give the ray of hope and belief in the success of life and to continue the battle ahead. On one hand when we witnessed the racial murder of George Floyd, on the other hand we saw the biggest mass protests on the US streets in decades with the name of Black Lives Matter. People of the United Sates had experienced a painful 4 years of Trump administration and the same people rose up to the expectation and overthrew Trump with a clear mandate. When the capitalist governments around the world are in dismay due to the pandemic, the socialist governments are doing much better and the capitalist administrations are taking various socialist measures like stimulus to handle the situation.
Due to the pandemic millions of jobs lost worldwide. In the USA, the data from labor department shows that 9.8 million of more Americans are not employed in November than in February. To make it worse, 345,000 Americans have died due to COVID so far. Leisure and hospitality industry have been worst affected. Not only unemployment, the inequality has further increased. The young people, low-paid workers, women (mainly with children) and ethnic minorities took the hardest hit of the inequality. While millions of poor Americans are now living on unemployment subsidies, many of them evicted from their houses, can’t afford a health insurance; America’s 614 billionaires grew their net worth by a collective $931 billion since the pandemic began.
Keeping in mind the hardship that the US citizens are bearing, US government had to take a policy by which the government sent $1200 to each working American in the month of June as a one time assistance. But the hardships of the working-class Americans have not yet recovered, rather it have worsen for many. Democrats, especially the progressive part of the Democratic Party wanted to send another stimulus check of $2000 to every working American. But the GOP thought it otherwise. However, a stimulus worth $600 was passed in both the house and the senate in a bipartisan way. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Trump did not sign the bill and advocated for $2,000 amount. After much persuasion he signed the bill but asked for a bill with rest of the $1,400. He also asked for a bill to repeal the section 230 of the constitution which provides immunity for websites from third-party content and another bill to constitute an investigation on the alleged fraud in the presidential election. While the congress passed the additional stimulus amount bill in a bipartisan way, the senate majority leader Mitch McConnell stood between the bill to be passed and the American working class getting $2,000 stimulus checks. He did not bring the bill on the floor for vote because he felt the bill is nothing but socialism for the rich. He said that this check will go to people who don’t need this amount, who has not lost job and this will create a huge debt. One of his GOP colleague in the senate said that he fears that this bill might be utilized to payoff credit card debts.
Bernie Sanders on the senate floor rightly rebuked this theory by explaining what socialism for the rich actually means. He said that companies like Amazon, Delta Airlines and Chevron have paid zero tax and they got more than 100 million dollars as tax rebate, year after year. That is called socialism for the rich. According to the criteria for the eligibility of the stimulus checks, any person earning more than $100,000 per year will not be eligible to get the checks. How can this benefit the rich? Bernie gave real life examples of people to whom this $2,000 means food for her 3 kids or not to choose between food and house rent or to bear the insurance for critical illness.
Even when some of the republicans are up for this bill, Mitch McConnell and some of his colleagues are rigid on not to go with the bill, even if that means going against Trump, ironically. The two senate races in Georgia scheduled on January 5, also played a significant role on the politics over stimulus check. If the democrats win both the seats, they will hold the senate in the next session and the people of America might get the additional stimulus. But the working-class Americans will remember senate majority leader Mitch McConnell for single handedly tearing apart their chance to live a better life amidst this pandemic.
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