Remember when I said that occasionally I would be writing a column that you might not like or agree with? Hello to today!
Normally I would bury the lead while I give you the facts and backstory of today's column. Instead I will do the opposite. I will present the lead, and then give you the whys and wherefores. This will save you having to read the whole column, and be disappointed at the end. Instead you can be pissed off first, and then leave.
Two unconnected, but related, stories have come out of Washington DC this week that really struck me as unbelievably cruel, particularly in light of the country being in the middle of a raging pandemic and record unemployment.
First, the Justice Department, on behalf of the White House, has sent an appeal to the Supreme Court, asking for it to strike down the Affordable Care Act in total, and in particular, the portion that demands that pre-existing conditions must be covered by insurance companies. No better time than during a pandemic to rip health care away from Americans.
The second insult to Americans, by the GOP, is the decision by the White House, and the Senate majority leader, to eliminate the CARE Act unemployment supplement of $600 per week, effective July 31st, to those people who are unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As Larry Kudlow, the Director of the National Economic Council said, "The trouble with the $600 plus-up, and maybe we needed it in that emergency period, but frankly it’s a major disincentive to go back to work and we don’t want that." Of course. Why do we want to help those that lost their income, through no fault of theirs, by the government closing businesses, and putting them out of a job. How dare they want to feed their families.
There are the two issues that set me off, now for some facts.
Let's start with unemployment. There are around 45 million people out of work right now, and that is before they announce the June numbers, a little bit later today. This includes nearly 22 million jobs that have been lost and will not be back. That's half of the people out of work who have no job to go back to, once, and if, the country ever gets back open safely. For the White House to call these people disincentivized to return to work because of all the money they are making is nuts.
In case you've never been forced to live on unemployment, here are some numbers for you to understand how much you actually get on unemployment, this huge money maker for people.
The average weekly check is $380, that works out to just over $1500 per month. Massachusetts pays the most with an average of $1234/week, while Mississippi pays the least at $235/week on average. Talk about living the high life. Oh, and by the way, there are no jobs to replace the ones lost right now, so even those that do want to work, have nowhere to go work. This is just insanely cruel.
Let's next look at what is happening with our old friend Covid-19.
Here are the latest hot spots, in this place we call home. The good news is that only places where people live are effected, and it has limited itself to just 38 states where they are seeing spikes in cases. (These are cases with increased positive results so it has nothing to do with more tests being conducted)
We have now had over 2.7 million confirmed cases in the US, and are hitting over 50,000 per day of new cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci said to congress yesterday, that he expects us to hit over 100,000 new cases per day in the near future. There are currently around 10.7 million cases worldwide so we represent 25% of all cases.
In addition, we have lost over 128,000 of our neighbors, friends, and family so far, and we should be closing in on 200,000 dead Americans by election day. And that's if it doesn't get worse. We are on a pace of 625/day of people dying from this virus.
For those who have been infected and have had to go to a hospital for treatment, they are getting a nice surprise, when they leave, of a hospital bill, on average, of $9700 that insurance doesn't cover. If you were unlucky enough to need additional care, due to complications, you can expect to see a bill for over $20,000 that you will need to pay out of your pocket, and that is if you have insurance.
Over 8.3 million people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act, since congress passed it, and now the government wants to rip it away from you, when you are going to need it the most, in the middle of the deadliest pandemic we have had. Why? Because they are determined to eliminate anything that former President Barack Obama implemented while in office because of their unfathomable hate for him.
Clearly our current President is not one of my favorites, but the previous one had plenty of things I didn't like about him too, so it's not like I loved him either. However, the viciousness of taking away someone's health care, with no plan to replace it, is beyond evil.
I just don't understand how someone can sleep at night knowing what you are doing will adversely affect so many people in a negative way. The lack of empathy for people must be so non existent in you that you not only don't care, but don't even understand what you are doing.