here was a point in my life where I thought politics were reserved for old, sophisticated white people who hosted dinner parties, drank Bordeaux by the case, and laughed at plebeians.
Politics never truly made sense to me. At home, my family never talked about it, and growing up in a city as overwhelmingly liberal as New York it seemed like I rarely needed to dig beneath the surface. The country and the lens I watched it through (a pair of extremely liberal, quirky specs bought off the sidewalk vendor on St Marks Place marred with pizza grease) condensed the world of politics into two things: Democrat – good. Republican – bad.
As COVID wrapped its wiry fingers around the world, the blue and red lenses that used to make sense, no longer did. There was simply too much nuance to subjugate an entire group of people as “racists” or “snowflakes”, and doing so felt as hypocritical as calling all people of one group, “terrorists”, “drug dealers” or “lazy”.
Understanding and being involved in politics has now become as essential to me as the air we breathe, because what the government does and how the media portrays has a DIRECT effect onmy life.
Not to say that it hasn’t in the past, but the repercussions of a stimulus package or lack thereof mean that there are now more FOR RENT signs on Bleeker Street, that my Linkedin feed is filled with posts like, “I’ve been unemployed for six months. I have a newborn. I’ll take any media, ad sales, writing job. Please share if you have leads”, and worse, hundreds of thousands of people’s lives have been lost.
Avoiding politics used to be a luxury that I could afford. But now, it’s so tied to everyone’s lives that it should be everyone’s duty to understand, REALLY understand what the fuck is going on. Not just skim the title of some random article you saw on a Facebook feed, or rehash the argument from The Daily Show or that podcast – but to actually dive in and question all of your sources.
The media, ourselves included, will always be biased (though we try our best NOT to) we encourage you to do your own research, form your own opinions, and then, figure a way to take action to help spur the change that you want to see in the world. No matter how small.
Now onto the details:
STIMULUS TALKS – Nancy Pelosi Gives the Senate a 48 Hour Deadline to Make a Decision on the Stimulus Package (EOD Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020)
Sometimes it feels like the Senate and the House are like Rachel and Ross in Friends the way they arguedt back and forth over the “We were on a BREAK!” debacle. It’s been dragged on for way. Too. Long.
In order to fully understand what is going on right now with Pelosi’s deadline, we’ll need to rewind a bit to see exactly WHY the second Stimulus Package still hasn’t passed yet, six months later. There are three important characters here:
- Nancy Pelosi / The Democrats (House)
- Mitch McConnell / The Republicans (Senate)
- Donald Trump / White House (Twitter)
Negotiations for the passage of the second Stimulus Package have ongoingsince April, after the first $1200 Stimulus checks were sent out as part of the $2 Trillion dollar CARES Act (largest in US history). Nearly 6 months later, there still has been no agreement – despite many contentious conversations behind closed doors between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
A Second Stimulus Package (and a general rundown of what’s been going on all Summer)
The Democrats proposed the HEROES Act, a $3 Trillion bill that included the FPUC $600 extended to January 2021 was denied by Senate Republicans, who instead opted for a dramatically smaller $1.1 Trillion HEALS Act.
The decision is so hard to agree upon because of the fundamental differences in ideologies between the Democrats and the Republicans. While Republicans advocate for fiscal conservatism (reduced government spending and national debt), the Democrats favor more government regulations to support community and social responsibility. This site breaks it down very easily.
In its simplest terms – Republicans think the Government should be more hands off in terms of offering a relief package, allowing for individual capitalism to fix itself. Democrats think the government needs to pay up, and be more involved.
Hence, conversations have been happening throughout the summer, extending into the month long Senate recess in August (which was postponed) but a decision was never made. Check out our last article HERE to get the full scoop on the differences.
Fast forward to October, as the election looms closer and closer, President Trump turned to Twitter to tell his team to hold off ALL talks of the Stimulus Package until AFTER he wins the election in November. The focus switched from Stimulus Package to the appointment of Amy Coney Barret as Supreme Court Justice. Consider it a power play to get more supporters on his side as his approval rating has dropped.
The stock market dropped over 400 points immediately after this tweet.
Side note: WHY are our government decisions that affect millions and millions of lives being told via Twitter again!
With global backlash, his approval rating shrinking, a brief stint of COVID and cases on the rise, Trump reversed his decision and decided to offer up a larger stimulus package, his OWN $1.8 trillion package which would offer up $400 in unemployment benefits per person. To make things more confusing, Senate leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans disagreed with THIS package as well because…well, like we said…they don’t want to be further invested into more national debt.
In turn, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected this offer and gave the Senate 48 hours to make a decision on a stimulus package worth between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion. She said Trump’s package was lacking and asked for the Senate to agree by EOD, Tuesday, Oct 20th to pass a deal in order to make it before the Election. It’s estimated that they will instead be pushing forward again the same HEALS Act that was rejected by the Democrats last month.
As negotiations continue, states across the country are you guessed it…running out of money. In New York, October 20th (UPDATE: AS OF OCTOBER 20TH – THIS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JAN 1, 2021) marks the deadline of the Eviction Moratorium on commercial businesses. Unemployment is on the rise and over 1.5 million New Yorkers are unable to afford food according to the New York Times. As of now, who’s to say what will happen next but we’ll hope for some clarity in the upcoming presidential election this coming Thursday at 9pm EST between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Make sure to vote!