|Politics And Grandstanding For The Masses|
Jim Banks, a congressman from northeast Indiana was among 40 Republicans who opposed the bill. Interestingly, the rest of Indiana's nine-member delegation, six Republicans and two Democrats, voted in favor of the act which has been named "Families First Coronavirus Response Act." Banks claimed it was because "Some language will mean major harm for small businesses and our economy." Bank's office referred to a message sent to House leaders from the National Federation of Independent Business, which objected to a provision of the legislation that would require employers with fewer than 500 workers to provide paid medical and family leave. The question is, how many struggling businesses with two to twenty workers have the resources to weather this storm.
|90% Of Businesses Are Small (click to enlarge)|
The NFIB correctly contends that "many small business owners simply cannot afford the cost of the new mandate at the same time as they experience increasingly slower sales." The advocacy organization said that many businesses "may not stay afloat" long enough to claim quarterly tax credits provided by the paid-leave provision. According to the bill, employers would have to provide 14 days of paid sick leave for at least two-thirds of a worker's pay. This applies to employees who have the coronavirus, are caring for a family member who has it or who need to care for children due to facilities being closed. For those now forced to take on this burden, this is enough to make their heads spin, unlike government agencies small business owners cannot turn to taxpayers when they can't pay their bills.
Below is a list of what this legislation promises to do:
- Requires private health plans to cover covid-19 testing at no cost, and allocates $1 billion for testing for uninsured Americans
- Ensures employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers offer two weeks of paid sick leave through 2020.
- Requires those same employers to provide up to 3 months of paid family and medical leave for people forced to quarantine due to the virus or care for family because of the outbreak
- Offers payroll tax credits for employers providing those leave benefits
- Puts $1 billion into emergency state grants for providing unemployment insurance benefits. It includes $500 million for staffing and logistical costs for states, with an additional $500 million reserved for states that see a 10% increase in unemployment
- Puts $500 million into food assistance for low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children, $400 million into local food banks and $250 million into a senior nutrition program
- Suspends the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program work requirements for the duration of the crisis
In an effort to silence GOP opposition Trump wrote this bill “will follow my direction for free CoronaVirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers.” He also said he directed Mnuchin and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia “to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt.” Many political pundits see Trump's declaration of a national emergency on Friday and his endorsement of this package as an effort to mitigate damage from his administration's initially weak response to the crisis.
In what appeared a contrived stunt to rally stocks, Trump declared a national emergency, 15 minutes before the market closed on Friday. In his declaration, Trump said he would temporarily waive the interest on federal student loans but more importantly directed his administration to buy oil for its strategic reserve. This caused oil and stocks to soar. The reality and fears of widespread economic disruption with workers, either sick or laid off has resulted in all major U.S. stock indexes dropping by more than 8% for the week despite rising on Friday.
As expected, in a series of tweets, the president said “I fully support” the legislation negotiated by Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and said he looks forward to signing it “ASAP!” The Senate has canceled its recess plans and is expected to take it up Monday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said senators “will need to carefully review” the proposal. “But I believe the vast majority of Senators in both parties will agree we should act swiftly to secure relief for American workers, families, and small businesses,” he said.
|4,000 Queue For Hours At Chicago O'Hare|
Never underestimate the stupidity of government. An example of their lack of competence can be seen at the 16 US airports approved to handle Americans returning to the country. At these airports, unimaginable long lines of people crowd together for hours and hours without masks. This is also playing out in other airports, a passenger arriving at JFK confirmed that they were told to share pens and there was no hand sanitizer. "So if we didn’t have the virus before, we have a great chance of getting it now!" one passenger stated.
The reason to vehemently oppose the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act." is that it is ill-conceived. Why will anyone want to work, especially government workers when they can get paid to stay home? How do you staff healthcare facilities when nobody comes to work? The greatest irony of this farce is that small business owners will be the first to take it on the chin. Privately-owned companies with fewer than 20 are the backbone of America and what makes it work. This means Trump may not understand at what point a small business becomes a medium or large business or simply doesn't care. Ironically, the members of the NFIB strongly supported this same President that is throwing them under the bus.