Once past the big bucks, real need emerges
Tom Reed claims the Democratic stimulus plan is completely partisan.
What is partisan about town and county governments? What is partisan about schools and hospitals? What is partisan about the water treatment plant or the road crew?
All of these public services are hurting for money.
A large part of our economy depends on normal life. States and counties depend on sales tax, income tax and property tax to cover expenses. We aren’t shopping locally so there is less sales tax. People are not working so no income tax. Property taxes go up and become a real burden for the average home owner and shop keeper.
We have to figure out a way to finance hospitals, roads and food banks. Hospitals cannot buy food or medicine on credit forever. Interstate highways and village lanes have got to be patched and plowed. The company that supplies the town with salt can not pay their taxes if they have no income. Food Banks are overextended and running short.
The pandemic has caused real hardship almost everywhere. The only ones who are making money are people like Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon). He added $75 billion to his personal net worth in 2020 alone. This year looks like an even better year for him.
When everybody else is suffering we should make a special tax just on those who are profiting from the sickness and death of this pandemic.
In the meantime we are counting on the federal government to carry us through this crisis.
Democrats and Republicans have very different strategies. We can see this clearly in the sticking points of stimulus bill they fought over all summer. The Democrats wanted money for state and local governments. Republicans wanted immunity for businesses.
Local governments are the one’s who are responsible for schools, hospitals and roads. They cannot run on credit forever. Mitch McConnell came right out and said on April 22 that state and local governments should be able to “use the bankruptcy route” rather than receive aid from the federal government. The problem with this is a capitalist system cannot function without currency. Our prosperity depends on the circulation of money. Putting money into local governments puts money in the hands of ordinary people. Money put into the lowest sector of society generates economic activity and thus more money as it moves through the society.
This summer the Republicans wanted immunity for businesses that expose workers to risks. Like the chicken processing plant where managers were taking bets on how many workers would get sick and on how many of those would die. The threat of being sued for knowingly exposing people to something that could kill them keeps the corporations somewhat responsible. Without it corporations will be free to do anything they wanted to any worker with impunity.
Now the Democrats are in control of the House, the Senate and the presidency. What are they proposing in their $1.9 trillion stimulus plan? Will they be any different? A direct payment of $1,400 a person, money for schools, roads and vaccines. They want an extension of unemployment insurance and money for transportation including passenger rail.
You may wonder what Amtrak has to do with prosperity and getting through this crises?
It is an example of channeling public money differently to profit small businesses.
Right now almost all the public transportation money is going into cars and airplanes. By putting equal money into trains we will change the way people move and thus the way money moves through the economy. Alone in a car a person consumes only gas. On a train you can read, sleep, do a crossword puzzle or knit a sweater. A person on a train consumes reading material and craft supplies. People talk to each other and make plans that activity also generates income. Train stations go to the heart of cities and small towns. The economy around the station benefits which also puts taxes into the local government.
Using the stimulus money carefully will determine the future of our country. We have the chance to rethink the way we do things.
Trains are a good investment. There are other good investments in the stimulus bill. Take time to look at it and decide for yourself.
Marie Tomlinson is a Fredonia resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org