Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.

To “My Friend Ben”

To the Hon. Sen. Ben Cardin, Sir:

It pains me to point out that the information you have emailed to your constituents is incomplete; some of it is plain wrong.

Your statement that the CARES Act provides “direct payments of $1,200 per month to those with lower incomes” is incorrect: the $1200 is a one-time payment and is means tested, necessitating needless bureaucracy. In fact, the poorest, who need help the most, will receive the least.

Furthermore, the numbers you give in your five-point list do not add up to $2,200,000,000. That is because you ignored the largest beneficiary of this historic Act: the single biggest tranche of money goes toward industry bailouts, with few strings attached. Indeed, the President had promised not to enforce any restrictions or democratic oversight of how this taxpayer money, which will be leveraged into trillions of dollars, is dispersed.

As the vote in the Senate was unanimous, I hold you accountable for approving what is largely “socialism for the rich.” Although I promise to remember this vote the next time you stand for re-election, I suppose it was a safe vote for you because I won’t get the opportunity to remind you of it until 2024.

And while I appreciate the “free” testing, if we can get it, that doesn’t address the cost of treatment for COVID-19 and related ailments: perhaps we could do a temporary Medicare-For-All fix? Who knows? Maybe Marylanders will like it and vote to keep it! Other countries have figured out how to pay for this and I don't think they are smarter than we are. In the meantime, perhaps you can persuade your colleagues to object to the lifting of EPA environmental regulations, so that we don’t have to choose between dying of pollution or dying of COVID-19. Anyway, in light of the structural weaknesses in government and society that this pandemic has uncovered, you might heed some of the recommendations of Ralph Nader:

The U.S. needs a permanent framework of explicit Congressional standards and accountability procedures for gigantic corporate welfare. The Congress should also set an example for the people by working a five-day week instead of the current 2½-day week. We must never allow ourselves to be driven into a state of perilous domestic unpreparedness due to the grotesque misallocation of federal funds behind the warfare state.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Ronald Bruce Meyer
Baltimore

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Ronald Bruce Meyer




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