US “Job Creators” Negate The Humanity Of Workers

Yesterday, I retweeted this list of stimulus packages from around the world and added a rant on how it means that when the US economy reopens (see Marcy here on why it’s not Trump’s call to make, despite his claims), the US will be left in the dust because so many workers who were laid off during the shutdown will have lost everything and likely will face a long delay in finding re-employment.

As you can see from the list, much of the world is taking care of workers to see that they are able to meet their basic needs of shelter and food until social distancing begins to be lifted. (I won’t even go into the fact that the rest of the world also assures universal health coverage as well, so as not to upset my blood pressure even further).

The sad reality of these numbers is that in the US, workers simply aren’t acknowledged as human. They are merely tools the “job creators” use to enrich themselves. This Washington Post article from yesterday drives that point home in disgusting detail. Here’s a screencap of the headline and subhead:

That subhead, coupled with the comparison of different countries’ approaches for stimulus packages, perfectly sums up the complete negation of humanity for US workers. In the civilized portions of the world, governments are stepping in directly to make sure workers continue getting paid at a rate that is fairly close to their usual wages. In the US, direct payments to the public at large are essentially taboo, so token $1200 payments have been approved and we can rest assured that the Trump administration will drag their feet and fuck this up enough to make sure most workers won’t see this money for a very long time if ever. So, enter the plan to funnel money to workers through the SBA and the “job creators” who are so sacred to the distorted US view of how to structure the economy. But even here, “job creators” just can’t grasp the idea that workers are humans who need food and shelter during the time that, through no fault of their own, they can’t work. The idea of paying workers to do nothing simply never can be entertained, even if it literally means life or death.

Here’s how the Post article opens:

Bob Giaimo, founder of the Silver Diner restaurant chain, is hoping to receive emergency funding in the coming days through a federal loan program. But he doesn’t want to spend the money right away.

Small-business owners are supposed to use the loans immediately to keep employees on their payrolls during the coronavirus crisis, but at the moment there is little for Giaimo’s workers to do. His restaurants in Virginia, Maryland and the District will be closed for sit-down service until local officials allow them to reopen.

“Getting the loan is hard enough. Using it is harder,” said Giaimo, who is lobbying his members of Congress for more flexible loan terms.

No, Bob, using those SBA funds is not hard. The whole fucking point of this program, right there as the Post says, is “to keep employees on their payrolls during the coronavirus crisis”. It doesn’t matter that they have nothing to do. What matters is that they need to buy groceries and pay rent.

Let’s get back to Bob, because he’s such a gem of a “job creator”.

For Giaimo, part owner of Silver Diner, which runs 19 restaurants, the mandated timing of the spending is a problem.

In his 30 years in business, he says he’s never laid off an employee, until now. After the coronavirus hit, local authorities ordered restaurants to close for sit-down service, forcing Giaimo to temporarily lay off 1,600 of 1,800 workers, he said. Most of them are now collecting unemployment, he said. (Some regional restaurant chains qualify for the loans even if they employ more than 500 people.)


He applied through a local bank for a $9.5 million emergency loan and is awaiting approval. But rehiring his workers immediately would be impractical, he said.

“There’s no job for them,” he said. “We would use all the loan proceeds while we’re closed, and we’d be out of funds to reopen.”

But poor Bob. Even though his business doesn’t really fit the definition for small, he’s found a loophole to still apply for a $9.5 million forgivable loan that is specifically designed to keep employees of actual small businesses on the payroll. But, you see, he cut 89% of his employees off the payroll to join the flood of those seeking paltry state unemployment benefits. And Bob has needs now:

Giaimo wants the rules to change so that the companies can qualify for loan forgiveness if they wait to rehire workers until they are legally allowed to reopen. Meanwhile, he’d like to use part of the loan to pay the workers he has retained and to pay suppliers of food and other goods, but he says paying suppliers isn’t an allowed use of the funds under current regulations.

You see, Bob has bills. He needs to pay those bills, like the ones from his suppliers. As for all those workers he laid off? Fuck their bills.

It should be noted, although this point will be totally lost on Bob, that this loan program is already under discussion for expansion, presumably to extend the amount of time workers could continue to be paid as we await the chance to restart activities like dining in restaurants. But it just never enters Bob’s little mind that he could take these funds, which he wouldn’t have to repay, and use them to pay those workers he laid off, even if they can’t work right now.

110 replies
  1. BobCon says:

    The core issue is that this program really should have been both an employment maintenance program AND a small business support program, and instead ended way too small to do either well, in order to add to the bloat of the slush fund, the real estate investor tax break, and other high end garbage.

    One of the really disappointing things about the way Pelosi shut down the House is that no means of holding remote hearings was approved before recess. Committee chairs should have been holding hearings all of this time to build a case for ground level relief. Instead, stimulus package negotiations are happening with little public input, and we are going to get a lot more bloat.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Small businesses can afford little new debt. When the hell are they gonna reopen and what will their new normal be for business, which relies on repeat customers? What money will those customers have to spend and will they be comfortable spending it?

    Civilized countries make outright grants. They take tax dollars derived from their citizens and give a portion of it back to them in the form of emergency replacement income. They do not tie the amount to fucking means testing. If policy requires clawing back funds paid to the already wealthy, they do it through the annual tax return system. But they get the money out first, when it’s most needed. And workers have access to a no/low cost postal banking system for simple deposits and withdrawals, avoiding the need to pay often exorbitant bank charges.

    It is beyond tragic that American establishment politicians, their patrons, and their courtier economists pretend that massive tax subsidies and legal immunities for the largest businesses is “good policy,” but small payments direct to workers creates a moral dilemma impossible to resolve in workers’ favor. Horse manure. It is a choice and a priority that must change.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      With 19 locations and 1800 employees, I would no longer consider Bob’s business “small,” especially not if he can contemplate an additional $9.5 million in preferential loans. He should not have access to this program.

      Bob has needs too, of course, like all business owners. They are best met by giving repetitive, minimum income grants to individual people. They will spend it shortly after they receive it, which will help the economy immediately. Some of them will go to Bob’s restaurants. But if not, is it not normal capitalist theory that he has failed, the business risk is his, and the market has proven its brilliance one more time?

      • Yargelsnogger says:

        This is post-Reagan America. Assistance to the poor and working class is given grudgingly and with huge strings attached. The rich are showered in subsidies as they are too virtuous and important to let fail.

      • ducktree says:

        No doubt, Bob will avail himself of Schrodinger’s Loophole, from MotherJones:

        https: //

        It’s the SOP for GOP bailouts: lather, rinse, repeat the ripoff.

        • rip says:

          Wow. So the big franchise businesses get suck at the teats both ways.

          Friends in high places. They paid good money for their lobbyists and now deserve to reap the rewards.

  3. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Yeah, but thank god our billionaires and their money are safe…

    Isn’t that what makes life worth living?

    Knowing that the filthy rich are staying rich, and possibly getting even richer, while all this is going on?

    It’s what makes America a great country.

  4. drouse says:

    Thirty years and nary a layoff? Actually that’s very telling. Employers generally dislike having to pay their portion of unemployment. They don’t lay off, they just make things miserable enough to generate a quit. Reducing hours, scheduling games and out and out wage theft are typical tactics.

    • P J Evans says:

      “Zero-hour scheduling” – so they can’t work AND they can’t get unemployment. Any business using that should be fined the amount of pay for those employees, and the employees get the money – all of it.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Plus a percentage of annual revenue. Have to make it hurt or government would be subsidizing the moral peril of “free riders.”

        • harpie says:

          Like this?:

          3:20 PM · Mar 25, 2020

          Objecting to a provision in the Senate coronavirus bill providing unemployment benefits for people in financial trouble, Sen. Lindsey Graham says nurses are “going to make $24 an hour on unemployment” which he claims would incentivize “taking people out of the workforce.” [VIDEO]

          There should be a TV show called
          “The Real Welfare Queens [trade mark: Ron Reagan] of the United States”.

        • Tom says:

          David Lewis of the Canadian federal New Democratic Party coined the term “corporate welfare bum” back in 1972.

        • e.a.f. says:

          poor crazy Lindsay. just isn’t with the real world anymore.
          $24 an hr. for U.I. is not enough to keep a roof over your head, etc. for a nurse. it may be e nough to keep lazy political assholes like Lindsay at home, but the nurses of the U.S.A. are working and doing what needs to be done even when the American government is ensuring they don’t have the protective equipment they need to stay health. its people like Lindsay who have no idea of how the real world operates these days. it may be time to have a 2 term limit on those highly paid do nothing senators. come to think of it has Lindsay graham ever had a real job in the past 30 years

        • P J Evans says:

          $24/hour sounds about right for RNs on unemployment. (It’s about 50K per year, which is adequate in someplace like the cheaper parts of L.A., if you live alone, or with someone else with income, in a bigger apt.)

  5. Doug Fir says:

    Would it help to reframe government support to individuals as payment for workers to stay home and stop the spread? That stopping the spread is a worthwhile job right now, an essential job right now, and should be compensated?

    • Jim White says:

      That would be great framing. But I suspect the Fox News blathering idiots would still rail against the socialist giveaway scam even while the bulk of their viewership dies of starvation.

      • Doug Fir says:

        I guess “government support to… workers” is a bit of a dog whistle.

        Sorry, I’m from Canada where even the maple leaf on our flag is red. ;-)

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          Indeed they are, and also thru the fat times too, apparently…

          From Forbes magazine:

          “Since 2008, however, the top 10 farm subsidy recipients each received an average of $18.2 million – that’s $1.8 million annually, $150,000 per month, or $35,000 a week. With the median household income of $60,000 a year, these farmers received more than 30 times the average yearly income of U.S. families.”

          It would appear socialism is alive and well in some parts of the country…

        • e.a.f. says:

          those lobbyist have done a good job including argi corporations in with family farms. doesn’t matter what is happening the argir corps get their money while small farmers kill themselves. there ought to be a limit on the size of farms which receive these hand outs from the government.

          some of these big argir corporations aren’t even American owned. wonder how many of them are Brazilian owned?

      • harpie says:

        Farmers Got Billions From Taxpayers In 2019, And Hardly Anyone Objected
        December 31, 2019 4:13 PM ET

        In 2019, the federal government delivered an extraordinary financial aid package to America’s farmers. Farm subsidies jumped to their highest level in 14 years, most of them paid out without any action by Congress. […]

        The U.S. Department of Agriculture simply sent him a check to compensate him for the low prices resulting from the trade war. […]

        On Capitol Hill, there has long been a quiet alliance between lawmakers who support farm subsidies and those who support food stamps, or SNAP. Together, they’ve supported the budget of the USDA, which runs both programs.

        Events in 2019 tested that alliance, as the USDA helped farmers while restricting SNAP payments. […]

        • P J Evans says:

          “Big Ag” is profitable. Anything smaller is going to make money about one year in five or ten. Equipment is expensive – why there are harvesting crews that travel from south to north – and they have to pay near-retail for seeds, while their crops are sold wholesale.

  6. Peter E says:

    I feel that this blindness to workers as people is abetted by the orwellian term ” human resources”. It is decidedly not ok to exploit people but it is always open season on “resources”.

    • rip says:

      Good point. The HR department is the pearly gate for getting on-boarded (unless you are a friend/nephew of some C-suite). It is also the grim reaper for disposing of outdated “resources”.

      And a scarlet letter is attached to that “resource” to make sure that the thing is not easily used again.

    • Lulymay says:

      Oh, back in the 80’s we in British Columbia had an extreme right wing government who decided that all government workers, commonly referred to as either public servants or government employees, decided to change that, so from then on we were all referred to as “full time equivalents”. I was in a lower management position at the time, but still used to refer to this change as what it really was: the dehumanization of all employees.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Apology industry writers working overtime. This is a typical neoliberal response when neoliberal governance failures become public, from the UK’s execrable Home Secretary, Priti Patel:

    “I am sorry if people feel there have been failings” on PPE.

    Use of the passive voice, “have been,” which omits agency and the ability to assign blame to the proper party. Blame the victim, “If people feel.” Blame their “feelings,” rather than objective fact. Omit discussion of devastating consequences. Take credit for working hard, “virtually every single day.” Avoid admitting to policy failures, poor or destructive judgment, and the inability to get the job done. The White House will be taking notes.

    • BobCon says:

      The gross domestic equivalent is this Peter Baker article in the NY Times:

      The article is practically propaganda. The headline frames Trump as “torn” between competing necessities, the lead photo shows a posed, almost prayerful president, and the caption quotes Trump referring to god.

      The lede suggests Trump is weighing advice carefully, and credulously suggests his public statements are made in good faith.

      Only deep in the article do the opinions of public health experts urging caution show up, and the quotes suggest a narrow focus compared to the big picture president.

      And the article fails to meaningfully address the central issue — until Trump endorses a massive national testing and quarantine program, it is pointless to “reopen” the country.

      Baker is so stupid that he simply cannot recognize that lifting restrictions without meaningful countermeasures in place means we will just be back to square one, compounding the economic disaster.

      Why is this so hard for the NY Times?

      Don’t answer – I know the reasons. But it infuriates me as well that Timesspeak doesn’t allow for calling Trump a liar or racist because they can’t look into his heart, but they have no problem projecting the state of his soul and intellect here.

        • BobCon says:

          I think Haberman is savvy enough to know the game that is being played.

          I think Baker really is in Wolf Blitzer territory as far as stupidity.

          But I acknowledge that Pat Healy may know what he is after when he pitches stories and angles for Baker to cover.

        • Wm. Boyce says:

          A much better Times article is front page this Sunday:
          “Despite Timely Alerts, Trump Slow to Act.”

          Half-a-dozen reporters worked on this one, and it is really frightening to me just how stupid the creature in the WH is revealing himself to be. He’s as stupid as his loyal base.

          The economy is going to continue to free-fall and the Repubs and some Dems are not even coming to grips w/it. As another poster had noted, politicians at this level of our government are utterly clueless about the lives and economic realities of most of their constituents.

          And thank you for the post, excellent piece.

  8. BobCon says:

    A big underlying problem is that the huge players in the economy are conditioned to think of corporate debt as a liability, but consumer debt as a commodity which can be bought and sold and used as collateral and the basis for bonds. They want the American public maxed out on their credit cards and borrowing against future unemployment checks.

    They aren’t realizing that the scale may potentially exceed the dangers of the 2008 crash, and it is not to their advantage to overwhelm the public with debt. The housing crash was just barely manageable with huge federal bailouts, but if they think that they can count on government backstops against the potential wave of consumer bankruptcies, they are smoking bad weed.

  9. Dan Riley says:

    Most of the programs in that tweet (“x% of salary”) are essentially unemployment benefits. So shouldn’t the comparison include the $600/week boost in US unemployment benefits? AIUI NY and CA are already paying it, not waiting for disbursement of funds from the federal gov.

  10. Callender says:

    And a close read of the Washington Post today informs me the Labor Secretary, Eugene Scalia (yeah, spawn of Antonin) is concerned about “unemployment insurance being too generous,” while making it easier for some companies to avoid paying gig workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers. Way to go Eugene.

    Then I read in today’s same issue banks, hedge funds, private credit funds and real estate investment trusts are lining up at the federal trough to “demand the Fed step in as buyer of last resort” on all those risky credit securities and loans created by the unregulated “shadow banking system.” Leader of the pack at the trough is Thomas Barrack, friend and supporter of Trump. Way to go, Tom.

    And finally, in state sponsored religion news, have no fear. “pastors, rabbis, imams and other employees of religious goups taking an economic hit will see their paychecks covered by the federal government.” No word on the irony alert that comes in October and early November when many of these religious types, particularly those of an evangelical bent, start preaching for their congregants to support Donald Trump as the servant of God and “small government.”

    Jefferson is spinning in his grave.

    • P J Evans says:

      E. Scalia should have to live on unemployment for six months. Then he can tell us how generous it is. (I would recommend that everyone going for an MBA get a job that pays by the hour, for six months or a year, as a prerequisite for the program, just so they know what it’s like for non-management. Some of them have that experience already, but not enough.)

  11. e.a.f. says:

    what some of those countries recognize is its less expensive to pay people enough to keep themselves afloat than have them being bankrupt and living on the streets or squatting. In my opinion the U.S.A has always been a country which valued winning the lottery. Yes, some people have the opportunity to get very rich. but what about the others. they sell the snake oil of if you work hard enough you too will be rich. then add in the religious b.s. of if you love god or she loves you you also will be rich. The U.SA. also seems to have this old religious thing about the sins of the fathers being visited upon their children. so if parents are poor their children ought to be poor. its the fault of the parents so the child ought to not have any opportunity. In Europe they figured out they could all have a decent standard of living and bring down the crime and disease rate and still have money for the corporate class.

    all that money being handed out now by various governments, will also be taxes. the governmetns will get some of it back. in the meantime kids get fed, parents, seniors, etc. will go to local stores and buy groceries and pay what they can for rent. every one is some what happy In the U.S.A. ITS THE I don’t give a shit what your problems are I WANT my money and I want it now. if you can’t afford the rent, you can live on the street. dying health care workers, who cares, I’ve got my private doctors.

    Not much is going to change in the U.S.A. especaily with trump as president. at some point so mnay will become so broke they will be living on the streets. I remember the riots back in the day in the U.S.A. My Mom got me out of bed to watch the late news. I don’t think she’d seen that type of activity ever. She went through WW II in Europe, but this was something different, but also something similar in how destructive it was to American society.

    Now I’ve seen two hockey riots in Vancouver, B.C. yes we riot over the outcome of hockey games. but its been 2 in the past 40 yrs. The police got it under control. the general public was not amused. people were charged, etc. those who were rioting we mostly young people from what one could refer to as the working middle class.

    when things get truly ugly in the U.S..A. my concern is the rioting will involve all income levels. because no one has anything to loose. there is a real lack of humanity in the American federal government and trump might want to have a look at history to see how it ended for some leaders such as himself. he may be shot by one of his own guards, shot in the street by rioters, who knows. but I do know if the next American election is not fair and this continues, there will be a civil war. there is no reason the U.S.A. can’t send each family $2K a month. it would actually be less expensive and keep small business afloat.

    We have closed a lot of businesses in Canada, but once this is over we will start up again, slowly. people will go back to their jobs and get their lives together because most of them will still be in the same homes they were, in the same neighbourhoods and same schools. it won’t be like before but it will be a reasonable imitation of what we had before.

    In the Netherland, my cousins tell me they work from home, the grandchild is home from school. their adult children either work from home or are essential. life goes on. boringly so, but it goes on. same in the other countries.

    in 1969 while visiting relatives in Rotterdam, we drove past a couple of old cathederals. I commented how nice they were. cousins: those are night clubs where they are allowed to sell drugs. Me: what, we go to jail in Vancouver. some of my friends went to jail. cousins: yes the government felt that wasn’t a good use of money so they just let them deal in those two night clubs and they can keep an eye on them. its saves money. everything then was, well it saves money. that is something the americans never learnt from a social perspective, to save money you some times have to spend a little money. they seem to understand it from business, but for people not so much, but then the u.s.a. DOES HAVE a huge other problem and that is how the government treats people of colour and that may be the root of all the problems. no money spent because people of colour may benefit.

    I am a leftie, Canadian version. this morning I watched as a number of M.PS. debated in Parliament the passing of another bill to help Canadians. so as not to crowd Parliament each party sent a delegation on a pro rated basis. Actually its the best behaved Parliament I’ve seen since the last on like this. each party understands they have more to loose than gain by getting in each other’s faces. The P.Q. speaker (Quebec seperatists) said it best. he described what they were doing was democracy but vigilantly. They were vigilante to protect our democracy and see things were done to provide for the citizens of the country. vigiliantly.

    Each party leader got up to speak, supporting and thanking the PM for work done to date and then adding some things they still wanted done, but it was about how to get the country through this. Oh and the NDP lefties, commented that this money ought not to find its way into corporate bonuses of CEOs.

    We will have a huge deficient once these bills are passed. On the other hand, most Canadians will still be afloat. being retired with pensions, I’m O.K. as our the siblings. I guess what makes us different perhaps from Americans, is that although we didnt’ get any cash, we’re o.k. with that and when taxes go up to pay for this new deficit we’re going to be olkl with that also because the kids got fed. we all got our medical care,

    I have gone on for awhile. I can only hope the leadership in the USA gets a grip. Seeing some of the State Govenors and Mayors, they’re doing an amazing job, but its like the federal government isnt’ there to help them but rather to hinder them. I’m sure things would have been very different had there been another President, but alas

    • Tom says:

      Well, I don’t know, e.a.f.. We’re not immune to those sort of right-wing views up here. I remember Ontario Premier Mike Harris back in the late 90s claiming his government couldn’t increase welfare payments because the recipients would just spend it on beer. And one of his cabinet ministers, David Tsubouchi, recommended that poor people try to save money on food by haggling with the cashier over the price of their grocery items. I could also point to your own B.C. native and once leader of the now defunct Canadian Alliance Party, Stockwell Day. Remember how he once stated that there must be something unsavory about any lawyer who would represent a defendant charged with child porn offenses? Remember how his campaign bus was called “Prayer Force One” because of Stockwell’s belief in creationism? And remember how Rick Mercer started that petition to have Day change his first name to Doris? And I haven’t even mentioned Stephen Harper and his the Barbaric Cultural Practices telephone tip-line that he proposed in his last election. I was almost hoping the Conservatives would win so that I could file a complaint about the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede. And Rob Ford! I mean, have we forgotten Rob Ford!!!

      • e.a.f says:

        Harris was the last century and he and his were useless and a nasty bunch

        now please don’t refer to Stockwell as from b.c. he and that jet ski on O.K. lake permanently ruined the lake.. he was part of what I’d like to think was an aboration. But through it all we were still ahead of the U.S.A. when it came to government services. We still had health care and women had control over their bodies. we had a half decent national U.I. programme.

        while harper passed 8 pieces of leg. which were violations of the Constitution, they were all tossed out by the Supreme Court of Canada

        Ford may not be my choice either, however, he is so far ahead of trump and a lot of those republicans he actually seems normal.

        not everything is perfect in this country but the handling of the virus and benefits Trudeau and the Liberals are providing are good. I live in B.C. and Horgan is doing a decent job.

        we are not going to get every thing we want but we are doing o.k. and way ahead of what working people in the U.S.A. are getting.

  12. Rapier says:

    The classic take down of this version of Conservatism.

    David Frum “The great, overwhelming fact of a capitalist economy is risk. Everyone is at constant risk of the loss of his job, or of the destruction of his business by a competitor, or of the crash of his investment portfolio. Risk makes people circumspect. It disciplines them and teaches them self-control. Without a safety net, people won’t try to vault across the big top. Social security, student loans, and other government programs make it far less catastrophic than it used to be for middle-class people to dissolve their families. Without welfare and food stamps, poor people would cling harder to working-class respectability than they do not.”

    The thing that makes capitalism good, apparently, is not that it generates wealth more efficiently than other known economic engines. No, the thing that makes capitalism good is that, by forcing people to live precarious lives, it causes them to live in fear of losing everything and therefore to adopt – as fearful people will – a cowed and subservient posture: in a word, they behave ‘conservatively’. Of course, crouching to protect themselves and their loved ones from the eternal lash of risk precisely won’t preserve these workers from risk. But the point isn’t to induce a society-wide conformist crouch by way of making the workers safe and happy. The point is to induce a society-wide conformist crouch. Period. A solid foundaton is hereby laid for a desirable social order.

  13. Hug h says:

    Ah yes “Job Creators” brought to you via the “Newspeak” diabolical brilliance of Frank Luntz.
    Also- Climate Change, Death Tax, Government Takeover, Personal Responsibility and Earned Success etc. etc.
    Here’s hoping that there’s a special place in Hell waiting for Frankie.

    • e.a.f. says:

      I’m not so sure there is a hell and if there is, it will take to long for some of them to get there. I’d just rather put them in a bed with a ventalitor down their throats for a few months, end of problem. they can take the ventitaltor out then and send them on their way. and oh, they don’t get to go to one of their “nice” hospitals, just a regular one, you know like the majority of people go to.

      Frum has lived a charmed and comfortable life. he has never had to work hard for much of anything. he ought to shut up. if it weren’t for his mother he would never have gotten to where he is. send the jerk back to Canada. he might be able to get a job bagging groceries at Loblaws.

  14. e.a.f. says:

    poor,poor bob. any one know what his house is worth, lets re phrase that what his houses are worth. how many houses does he have, how many cars, etc. he doesn’t need any money. he just wants a free ride on the public purse. if his workers aren’t working and he won’t pay them, well he ought not to be getting any money. he isn’t even smart enough to figure out a new business plan. one restaurant chain here, Earl’s has a new buinsess plan. its take out and while you’re picking up your food order you can pick up things like toilet paper, and a few other baisics. some small restaurants which reverted to take out, kept their supply chains so they were able to sell a few basic groceries so people didn’t have to go to grocery stores. You could go into one and there were cartons and cartons of eggs and coffee cream and coffee you could buy and of course toilet paper. people could get in and out in a few minutes minimal contact. why dear old bob cant get his shit together for a new business model is beyond me. Even some of the high end resturnats are doing take out.

    One window washing company on Vancouver Island, work is slow, is delivering groceries to those who cant go out. FOR FREE. NOW ITS A SMART move. Know who is going to do be washing my outside windows this summer when this is all over, Men in Kilts. Bob should get off the public purse and find another business model. He might want to help out in the community, from which his profits come. He might have some of his staff deliver cooked food to shelters, hospitals for the staff, to the food banks. this is the country which sent people to the moon, created the drive in, like can’t they think of a new business model instead of keeping their hands out for money which ought to be spend on the children of America. they need to be feed and clothed and housed. They will remember Bob and his company never lifted a finger to help them or their neighbourhood.

    American corporations do not see their workers as human beings with real lives, kids,mortgages, et. don’t know why, but some of it may come from the fact a lot of the US..A lives in gated communities, that there is red lining, etc. Part of it may be religious. well the Aemrican version of some religions, which preach the more you give to the church the better person you are. there isn’t much about giving to local charities or just individuals to help them out.

    American kids go to segregated schools, not only by colour but by income. they live in a bubble. Aermican news usually portrays criminals as bad people and nothing more. they put more people in jail in the u.s.a. THAN ANY other country in the world none of that helps. its hard to get work. they’re thought of as felons, not humans. People out side of their own social circle are thought of as less than human. you even see it in the streets of cities. its one of the things friends of mine remarked about when they first lived in the U.S.A. YOU KNEW when you were in an area which didn’t have much money, roads and side walks needed repaired, garbabge not picked up cars just sitting there like junk. it was made to look like a ghetoo because of a lack of city services In most cities the garbage collection is all the same the city sweeper machins come to all the streets in the cities. what we have is an infrastructure which provides equitable servies, to a degree. O.K. the west side of Vancouver has more parks than the east side and the west side always had richer people living there, but snow removal always starts on the east side.

    I don’t know why people without money and workers are treated less than animals, but they are. at some level the americans have a class system worse than Indian’s or Britians. One could say its the worst class system in the world. It reminds me some what of how the rich in Chile refer to people without money and workers. less than human. they are there to do the bidding of the rich, to make them comfortable and if they don’t do that, they’re disposable.

  15. foggycoast says:

    the tweet in the post is a little deceiving. California UEI is up to $2400 so that is ahead of both Canada and Australia in pure dollars. But it only covers less than half the average salary of $64K. Where I work about 30% of the staff went idle. some were laid off, some were furloughed. The administration is making up the difference between the UEI and the salary of most of the workers for 3 months and covering health insurance at the same rate as always. The SBA loans could and should be used in this way to make especially the lowest paid workers whole. I just hope we can be back up and running at 100% before this kind of assistance runs out.

    It does feel like this could be a moment where a more socialist agenda could gain traction at all levels of government. i just hope the Dems don’t squander the opportunity.

  16. Pete T says:

    I haven’t done the math because it would be hard to be accurate, but I’d bet the Federal Reserve-Treasury SPVs to support the big corps and the 1%ers vastly dwarf the announced funding for small business (though some of the SPVs are for small business – allegedly) and individuals.

    Plus, I imagine it’s a lot easier for the big corps and 1%ers to get their bailout with a lot less fuss than a small business or the IRS checks that individuals have had to wait for. Actually I know that for a fact: 1) because son 2 has small business and has had to sh*t trough a straw to try to qualify (still no word), 2) son1 is an independent contractor and sole proprietor and he, too, has had to do the straw thing, and 3) no one in my family has a gotten and IRS check.

    The Federal Reserve by law cannot provide a lot of the bailouts they did in 2008 and now for COVD to the 1%ers, but they get around that by creating SPVs with the US Treasury – the mechanics escape me – but essentially the “losses” are socialized to the taxpayer.

    A case in point (apologies the the management for linking ZH, but they are right on this one:

    Guess who works at Citadel as a macro economist? Ben Bernanke. Citadel holds trades for seconds – they do not do macro-economics, but they are in line to be a primary dealer for the FED.

    Last, but not least – this is how the 1%ers think of COVID and bailouts as a money making enterprise:

    • VoltOwner says:

      Speaking of IRS checks, the historical max wait time for a refund check for us is about 5 weeks.
      Tomorrow makes 6 weeks, so at least for me, the long wait is not just for the new checks, but the normal refunds as well.

  17. Jim White says:

    Just a quick note to those of you saying that the tweet at the top of the post and the post itself are misleading because unemployment payments are covering parts of salary for laid off workers. Note that I am writing from Florida, where the website for applying for unemployment payments was intentionally broken by Rick Scott years ago and left that way to discourage laid off workers actually managing to get through the system and get paid. On top of that, although the amounts and the duration vary by state, I maintain that it’s safe to say that generally, and especially in Southern states with Republican governors and legislatures, the amount and duration are woefully inadequate to come anywhere close to the level of support that is needed now and the length of time a proper shutdown is going to last.

    • Dan Riley says:

      Jim, yes, unemployment benefits in Southern states, and especially Florida, suck. Nevertheless, completely ignoring the unemployment payments expansion also looks bad, and provides an opening for counteracts. It ought to be acknowledged that the CARES act does more than a one-time $1200, and give some credit to Congress (esp. the House) for giving states the opportunity to do a lot more.

      Better IMHO would be something like “One time $1200 check that may take months to arrive plus $600/week in unemployment benefits if you live in a state that cares about workers”.

      The disparate treatment of the CARES expansion of unemployment benefits ought to be emphasized, not ignored.

  18. Jenny says:

    Thank you Jim for this post. Obviously, the list of countries honor and respect their citizens by providing a stimulus package to help those in need.

    Inhumane and disgraceful is how the United States treats citizens in a crisis. This is about the have and the have nots. Inequality in this country and around the world.

    BBC had an excellent opening which is spot on. Starts at :33 – 1:24.
    Coronavirus: They tell us it’s a great leveller… it’s not | Emily Maitlis

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump always says the stupid quiet parts out loud. Why can’t government, “just let Covid ‘wash over’ the country?” Mr. Trump has apparently repeatedly asked the question, despite being told by Dr. Fauci, because, “Mr. President, many people would die.” When Trump doesn’t like an answer, he repeats the question until someone tells him what he wants to hear. Boris Johnson asked the same question, until he was told that, “hundreds of thousands” of people would die, in a state a little larger than New York.

    Other possible answers to Mr. Trump’s questions: Because you haven’t ordered enough body bags? The bodies would fill every bed in every hotel room in every property you own, many times over? Because government has an obligation to mitigate death and harm, even if there’s no way to prevent a disease from ultimately affecting everyone? Because it might hurt your chances at re-election? Bingo.

    People do not exist for Donald Trump. They would be numbers, if he could count. They are just things to be manipulated to His greater glory, or to be put down, to prevent them from costing him something. The latter include the several hundred undocumented Polish workers, who built his first big NYC property; other employees; suppliers; banks and other creditors: unhappy customers, who felt cheated by his sing-songy empty promises. Democrats. The people of America.

  20. Vicks says:

    Holy crap.
    Fox News (Chris Wallace) is reporting that President Trump failed to listen to his advisors in January and February and that it likely caused lives.
    What is happening?
    Do they have a plan to get another Republican candidate on the ballot?

    • BobCon says:

      Wallace has been OK in challenging the Trump administration for quite a while, better than a lot of the broadcast networks (not a high bar, but still).

      Fox has been compartmentalizing him; the real test will be if shows like Fox and Friends or Hannity ever do anything meaningful.

      • Vicks says:

        Try to watch or record it when they rerun it today.
        With the exception of Jillian (can’t remember last name) in the peanut gallery panel (who pretended this was an investigation into whether Trump’s advisors gave him “misinformation” and a silly China spin) the whole show was subtle and/or polite pushback against Trump’s handling of the virus and his stupid concept of reopening the country May 1.
        Even Mark Cuban made sense
        Until he was asked about running as an independent….

  21. harpie says:

    Not about the alleged “job creators” but about
    the real“vote wreckers”
    9:43 PM · Apr 11, 2020

    Holy crap: conservative operatives want to recruit retired military & police officers as Republican poll watchers to challenge eligibility of voters in “inner city” and predominantly Native American voting precinct, @theintercept reports [link]

    Lee Fang, Nick Surgery 4/11/2020 6:00AM

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I assume they’ll wear the required brown shirts, have the correct party logo on their armbands, and wear the broad-brimmed hat that drill instructors are so fond of. I think I’ll go long on German Shepherds; they’re likely to be immensely popular among this crowd.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The GOP practice of using physically intimidating poll workers, aimed at persuading Democratic voters not to vote, was made illegal in 1981, via a consent decree. It was made not illegal in 2018, when a NJ judge declined to renew it. The physical intimidation resumed immediately. Republicans lose in a fair vote, which is why they cheat so much.

  22. Duke says:

    It is Easter and the Evangelicals are pushing the Trumpian desire for human sacrifice. Religions, fear, and Governments make a very potent blend of individual and collective heartbreak. Who wants the human sacrifice more? Wall Street, Trump, certain churches or the church goers?

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald Trump hates what empowers others or gives them their daily bread. He hates employees, people of color, unions, and the reasonable benefits and leverage a good union provides them. He hates the Post Office. So, apparently, does Congress, which required in 2006 that it prefund its pension obligations for the next seventy-five years – a requirement burdening no other entity on earth. Rightwing voices, like Forbes, dispute the accounting requirement, but largely by misstating the bottom line.

    Trump does not normally consider the lives of the petty, like those of half a million postal workers, or how well they do their jobs, come rain or shine. But he hates that they are at the heart of many communities, large and small. They are the means by which middle and working classes communicate among themselves and with government when they cannot afford a computer, reliable Internet access, and mobile phone.

    Most of all, he hates that the P.O. delivers mail-in ballots, because he thinks that too many of them are votes for Democrats. He would dismantle, refuse to fund, or sell off the P.O. to further privatize government and stay in office. As usual, it’s all about him, not the Post Office.

    • BobCon says:

      This would be a great time for Carolyn Maloney to be holding hearings on the impact of a USPS shutdown, with testimony from small towns across Wisconsin and North Carolina and Ohio and Florida on what happens when their lifeline to the outside world and an anchor of their downtowns goes away.

      With Mark Meadows AWOL, the GOP team would even be down a player.

      Except the House left town without passing a measure to enable remote committee hearings….

        • BobCon says:

          I know, I know.

          A big reason given by institutional scholars for the shrinking workload of Congress is the drain of travel back and forth between DC and home districts and the time spent on the campaign trail.

          Now that they are all at home all the time, I have to wonder what they are doing. If late night TV comedy hosts can hold substantive video chats with Fauci and other experts, the thinking behind NOT doing any hearings is confounding.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Blamer Gingrich. In the 1990s, it was part of his pay-to-play imagineering of Congress. It made young Turks more controllable and better sources of revenue; more conveniently for him, it made working and compromising with Democrats virtually impossible.

          It handed the vast majority of legislative drafting tasks to lobbyists. They greedily accepted the workload, in exchange for bundled donations to congresscritters. The added control it gave and gives them is breathtaking.

      • P J Evans says:

        West Texas, Oklahoma panhandle, western Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas….
        There are towns where everyone picks up mail at the post office, because they don’t have the people for home delivery: post office as social center.

        Also: BUY STAMPS!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Something else Congress routinely mandates is to prohibit the PO from engaging in banking services. It already has sunk costs for offices, computer systems, and people, it already deals with wads of cash. It could readily handle routine small deposit-taking and withdrawals.

        It would save millions of people the agony of wrestling with rapacious and incompetent banks – which are constantly closing and consolidating physical offices – with their high fees and their ever-changing bank terms. The PO could easily undercut banks for small depositor business, which banks don’t want, but which they depend on for generating penalty-rate fees and charges.

        • P J Evans says:

          The USPS has – may still – sell money orders. It should be able to handle banking.
          But we have a government run by banksters, who don’t want competition.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Lambert Strether has a good update on the war against the Post Office, which Nixon demoted from a Cabinet-level department to an independent federal agency. He points out that Congress’s 2006 pre-funding requirement applies to other benefits, such as health care, as well as pensions. That statute, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, he describes as, “a villainous piece of jobbery passed… by a lame-duck Congress during the Bush administration.”

      The requirement sounds nice: the era was recently post-Enron, when more people began to notice the Olympic sport of corporate executives and corporate raiders descending on benefits funds to finance their budgets and their takeovers. Indeed, in the UK, it was something of a national past-time among well-to-do business owners to raid their own pension funds and scarper off to Ibiza. It was a nice touch on the part of Congress, as it disguised how selective it was in mandating its pre-funding requirement.

      Lambert points out that punching the P.O. was also a bipartisan sport. Odd, given that when Congress is running dry, one of the first places it looks for loose change is the P.O. pension fund, especially as it can give itself preferential repayment terms.

      He also reminds readers of the neoliberal playbook regarding public services: “'[1] Defund [or sabotage], [2] claim crisis, [3] call for privatization… [4] profit!” (rinse, repeat as necessary. We can see this happen with the VA here, and with the NHS in the UK.'”

      The dysfunctional part comes up, for example, in the administration’s tinkering with the P.O.’s Universal Service Obligation: the requirement that the P.O. deliver to anyone anywhere, which makes it the essential provider of “last mile” delivery for everything from mandatory government notices to your Amazon Prime toilet paper. That would hurt Jeff Bezos, as well as every household in America.

      Lastly, Lambert disagrees that Trump might be picking on the P.O. in order to corrupt the November election. He says that would require Trump to be “pointlessly devious,” as all he had to do is interfere with vote counts.

      I think that misses how concrete and two-dimensional Donald is, and how devious his more thoughtful advisers are in not relying on a single point of failure. Has no one received a letter in the mail whose postmark was missing or illegible? Irrelevant to you, once you receive the mail, but it disqualifies the ballot. Several hundred ballots in Wisconsin, in fact, were found to be without their postmarks, something a strained service and overworked machinery can let happen.

      • P J Evans says:

        Shouldn’t the date the ballot was signed count?

        Also, as was pointed out on Twitter, Trmp, Mnuchin, and their buddies haven’t used the USPS directly in decades: they’ll use couriers or FedEx to send stuff. I don’t think a lot of congresscritters appreciate the USPS either.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A mail-in ballot has to be mailed by a date certain. It doesn’t matter when it was signed, it requires a postmark.

          Mnuchin and his buddies at Goldman (and their white shoe law firm partners) use fucking helicopters and limo drivers to deliver documents to their summer homes in the Hamptons (all chargeable to the client). It’s not relevant when Mnuchin or Trump last used the UPS.

        • P J Evans says:

          Most businesses figure if the check is before the due date, it counts; I try to mail mine so they’ll arrive early enough, but local PO doesn’t have drop boxes available on Sunday (vandalism), and there’s always the possibility of external interference (weather, usually).
          The one time I was involved in mail-in balloting, we allowed an extra day for postmarking – though we did invalidate one where the postmark and the postage meter mark were in different cities on different dates. (Postage meters can cheat.) There was nothing we could do about the ones that arrived way late, like the one that got stuck in the system from July to December, and the one sent surface mail from Australia (we told you to use air).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      James Fallows has a good thread on the budget straightjacket at the USPS:

      “Every story about travails at the USPS needs to include this fact: That it was *intentionally* lumbered with different-from-all-other-orgs oblig to pre-pay all future pensions. No “normal” would be profitable this way.”

      He refers to a 2014 article from the Roanoke Times that vivisects the Orwellianly named Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, “one of the most insane laws Congress ever enacted.” [Next to Joe Biden’s 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation.]

      Even worse, none of that money [to pre-fund benefits for 75 years] is truly being set aside. Instead, it is going directly into the U.S. government’s general fund, and it’s being spent on current government operations. The set-aside is a theoretical accounting gimmick. Those future retirement liabilities are actually being added to the national debt [emphasis mine].

      The bill’s sponsor was a No. Virginia congresscritter named Tom Davis, “now a Washington lobbyist for Deloitte.” His co-sponsors were House Democrats Henry Waxman (CA) and Danny Davis (IL), and Republican John McHugh (NY).

      According to Davis, though, the BushCheney White House was responsible for the 75-year benefits pre-funding requirement. It threatened to veto the legislation if it was not included in the final bill. A small price to pay to appease the gods of the Market, blessed be its name, and Privatization. It’s like the Elois feeding the Morlock’s Sphinx.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Paul Waldman at the American Prospect (Dave Dayen’s new digs) has another good take on why Trump might have it in for the USPS. One good question is that nobody asks the Pentagon or the Ag Dept why they aren’t “profitable,” so why ask the USPS?

        It delivered 142 billion pieces of mail last year, and charged only 55 cents for a first-class stamp. Private carriers charge $25 for next-day delivery. I would add that since 9/11, the USPS has instituted extensive and expensive safety and security procedures, which include digitizing images of the front and back of every piece of mail it processes.

        Meanwhile, hundreds of postal workers have tested positive for Covid-19, and at least 19 have died. But Trump threatened to veto the first economic aid package if it included money for the USPS. Why?

        Waldman skips the “to get at Jeff Bezos” argument and points to the USPS large union membership, and the leg up to the middle class that employment there provides to African Americans and other people of color. Its benefits are now considered extensive, although they were just routine a few decades ago, when the private sector still had them.

        Privatization is always a big deal for neoliberals. So, too, is removing public sector competitors, which set benchmarks for service, price, and profitability (the concern perennially used to attack the TVA in electric power generation). And then there’s neoliberals pro-monopoly deregulation drive. We are likely to see that expressed in ready approvals for mergers and in deregulating the debt-collection and rent-to-own industries immediately after people get back to work. The added heartache and cruelty of millions of additional bankruptcies will throttle both society and the bankruptcy courts.

        Lastly, there’s disrupting every vote possible that might be cast for a Democrat this November.

    • harpie says:

      bmaz retweeted this really informed and informative thread the other day:
      6:37 PM · Apr 10, 2020

      Okay, I’ve been with USPS for several years now, so here’s my big dumb #SaveThePostOffice thread. […]

      Fourth: Certain nameless people want us privatized because we’re worth a lot of $. Even without the physical materials (truck fleet, offices, computer networks, etc), we have billions in proprietary data (route sequences, mailing lists, logistics, etc) that businesses would love

      Fifth: You can be certain, if given the chance, certain politicians would love to GIVE AWAY this infrastructure, a la the $70 billion in digital broadcast licenses they gave away for free to Telecom companies in 1996 with no strings attached. [lots more]

      • harpie says:

        I really appreciated this one in particular, because the writer is a mailman…he brings in the personal part of the story…the dogs, the elderly people, the special needs of certain customers, the addresses he knows from memory…

        • P J Evans says:

          The number of USPS people on my family tree is amazing – not just ancestors (three of whom served as postmasters), but uncles and cousins (and one aunt), all the way back to the 1830s. (A great-great-grandfather was postmaster of Radical City, Kansas, for two years, then his youngest son took over.)

        • harpie says:

          Very neat, PJ! I LOVE the PO! Don’t write as many letters as I used to, but I remember fondly the thrill of receiving them unexpectedly from distant friends and relations…

          I just made a resolution for TODAY!

        • Eureka says:

          We left our mailman a note yesterday telling him how much we appreciate him, and that we were contacting electeds to get Congress to #savethepostoffice.

      • Geoguy says:

        DingusJMcGee has it exactly right. According to, if the post office was a private sector company it would be 44th in the 2019 Fortune 500 and 136th in the 2019 Global Fortune 500 lists. Who wouldn’t want to hijack the post office and privatize it? Would it require an amendment to the Constitution? Article I, Section 7: “to establish Post Offices and post Roads;”

    • harpie says:

      And here’s Rep. Bill Pascrell [D-NJ-09] with more:
      [D-NJ-09] 8:19 PM · Apr 12, 2020

      My @USPS explainer thread:
      Handles 47% world’s mail
      Ships ~150 billion [letters] /year
      Delivers more in 16 days than UPS+FedEx ship combined in a yr
      500,000 career employees
      31,000 locations
      You can send a [letter] from Key West >>> Utqiagvik AK for less than the cost of a candy bar [very informative THREAD]

      • harpie says:

        Pascrell’s thread ends with this:

        The gop has been sabotaging USPS for decades. The 2006 law was designed to! The House voted 309-106 to repeal but Mcconnell is blocking it..

        @USPS will die wo/ immediate help & ending prefunding. This thread is from my @monthly essay which you should read! #SaveThePostOffice [link]

        Links to:
        Congress Is Sabotaging Your Post Office
        The Postal Service was once one of the world’s most impressive institutions. Here’s how to make it thrive again.
        April/May/June 2019

        • harpie says:

          McConnells sabotage of this vote in Congress is one of the things I was thinking of when I responded to a comment on Quinn’s post this morning:

          I reject the premise that “this is on us. We all failed our country.”

          Another quote from that comment: “We deserve what we are getting”

          I did not want to pollute that great/necessary discussion with politics, so I did not elaborate there, but…whew, was I fuming… [not at the author, at the IDEA]…part of the reason I couldn’t sleep.

  24. Jenny says:

    60 Minutes last night. Arrogant and defensive Navarro defends the administration. Humanity for workers doesn’t seem to be in his playbook.

    NYC Hospitals Short on Protective Equipment

    Christopher C. Alberto on Twitter: 11:45 PM · Apr 12, 2020
    Navarro gets slam dunked during 60 Minutes Overtime.
    He challenged 60 Minutes’ record – “Show me episodes during the Obama and Bush administrations that said the global pandemic was coming, and then you will have some credence in attacking the Trump Administration.”

  25. harpie says:

    “When someone is President of the United States, their authority is total.”
    – Donald J. Trump, April 13, 2020.

    • P J Evans says:

      They need to stop covering his press rallies as if they’re news events. Especially when he’s running taxpayer-funded propaganda and insulting and lying about everyone who isn’t him.

  26. harpie says:

    Press Briefing
    6:28 PM · Apr 13, 2020

    Important question from @PaulaReidCBS that stumped Trump:

    “What did your administration do in the entire month of February?”

    VIDEO here:
    6:34 PM · Apr 13, 2020

    Here’s video of @PaulaReidCBS grilling Trump on what his administration did in the month leading up to the coronavirus crisis.
    “You didn’t use it to prepare hospitals. You didn’t use it to ramp up testing.” [VIDEO]

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