Ada Fisher: Money, where art thou?
As the nation waits with bated breath to see if Congress will continue in its money give away, lost in the discussion is the fate of Social Security and the U.S. Treasury.
When the Supreme Court ruled in 1937 (Davis vs. Electric Illuminating Co.) that Social Security was a tax which could be exercised by the U.S. Congress to spend for the general welfare if it chose, the concept of this as an entitlement with no guarantee for its investors, few were paying close attention to its implications. The trillions of money paid out by the U.S. government now approaches $3 trillion dollars vs. the Federal Reserve notes of $1.95 trillion in circulation. One of the things that should be discussed is whether we have allocated more money to this pandemic than we have gold in the U.S. federal reserve.
This nation needs to step back and look at how we are paying the bills as we face a collapsing economy. People who have lost jobs due to the coronavirus have already been given a pandemic allowance of an additional $600 per week, which put many above the amount they were previously earning with their unemployment checks. The one-time $1200 stimulus payouts were a nice gift for many, but left out too many citizens and are insufficient to provide satisfying relief for the long-term hunger of many.
The unemployment piece might be done in decreasing amounts — say $600 in week No. 1, $500 in week No. 2 and so on. This would give them $2100 while those getting a stimulus check could get $2000.
Receiving personal pandemic payments for lost jobs disadvantages Social Security recipients whose money is likely used to make this payment while their cost of living goes on without the same extra stimulus bonus. Those with disabilities who have sheltered in place are making payments out the wazoo. Many small businesses, in particular minority-owned ones, will go broke by exclusion in the relief or burnt to the ground by the very hands of rioters who erroneously profess their love for them.
The proposed HEAL Act is one possibility, but it misses several important points:
• Food supplements/SNAP needs to be continued. If school opens on a limited basis or even if they don’t, the kids will also need to eat on the off days.
• There needs to be a supplement for Social Security as done for the unemployed. Do not cut Social Security; 52% of women depend on it in retirement. People need to understand that we are now in the funny money zone, but this is not monopoly and the money is counterfeit if not backed by gold or we are spending the Social Security reserves.
• Health care has become a bad joke. Insurance is not going to cover the costs of this. Some type of catastrophic strategic initiative needs to be instituted so that people with and without insurance don’t go bankrupt trying to cover themselves for in hospital services. The bills beyond health insurance resource allocations should be considered for dissolution by the government. This will truly help people heal.
• First responders, teachers and those critical industries should have their workers covered. First responders should be given such liability immunity as well as postal workers. There should be a Part F for Medicare to cover such as well as allow coverage for those who get home care, rehab and other services.
• Personal pandemic loans should not be available to those making more than $10 million in profits, religious institutions not providing services to the public without restrictions and to no government officials at any level.
• It is not clear whether rent deferment or prevention of such evictions means this debt is covered. Many may be faced with a bill that comes due for those unpaid monies. Just as a deduction is available to homeowners, why not a 10% tax credit for those who rent?
• Liability immunity is too haphazard and offered without criteria to vaccine makers. People should be liable for delivering untested products with unproven efficacy.
• A green deal should be a promise of clean drinking water in every house, green spaces as part of building codes and biodegradability — something all the excess use of plastics in this age of coronavirus requires.
• The tax code needs change so that companies making billions in profits must pay at least 20% of that in taxes rather than pay none such as Amazon.
• The communications monopolies need to be broken up — Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Amazon — as was supposedly done to the oil companies years ago.
Capitalism and democracy do not mean there is a free lunch for anyone or any business entity. The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee benefits for citizens other than the right to vote, security and assistance with commerce.
Salisbury’s Ada Fisher is a former medical director in a Fortune 500 company, licensed teacher, retired physician, former school board member, speaker, author and is the NC Republican National Committeewoman.