Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Discussing the risks of reopening his state last month on Fox News, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) declared, "There are more important things than living." The comment was revealing. President Trump's manic, malicious and mismanaged presidency constantly captures our attention, and he's often treated as some kind of grotesque outlier. But while Trump emits his own unique forms of venom, he is a reflection of, not a contrast to, today's Republican Party. On the central challenges facing the country, the Republican Party, like Trump, is unending in its cruelty.
As reported in the American Prospect, one day after Utah Republicans passed immunity into state law, reports emerged of two separate businesses that had been telling staff to ignore quarantine guidelines. The result: 68 employees have contracted the virus. What about the unemployed? A stunning proportion have still not received payment from state unemployment offices drowning under the huge demand. At the end of July, the expanded benefit provided in the Cares Act will expire, as will some state unemployment programs. The obvious answer would be for Congress to pass mortgage and rent moratoriums and extend unemployment benefits. This will happen, Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) announced, "over our dead bodies." With 40 percent of mothers with children under 13 reporting that they lack sufficient food, Republicans also have opposed any expansion of food stamps. Lawmakers like Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.) are apparently more worried about creating "a moral hazard for people to be on welfare" than the real hazard of children going hungry. If Graham and his party have their way, sadly, the dead bodies " from despair, drugs, disease " will be those of others.
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