From this point on, the rest of our lives will be defined around coronavirus. Expect all of your father’s stories to have the phrase, “But that was way back before coronavirus fucked everything up.” To that end, Congress—the group of old white people who don’t really care about the people who voted them into office—stayed up into the wee hours of the morning hammering away at the finer points of a massive $2 trillion stimulus package that will do what all emergency bills always do whenever anything rocks America to its core: It will shore up big businesses and make sure that the rich don’t lose more money than they have to.
I can already hear you now: “But, Steve, this bill is going to put money in the hands of the American people!”
Fine, let’s just jump right into it, since you can’t sit still over there.
The proposed distribution of the payments might as well be hush-money bribes to keep Americans satiated long enough that they don’t realize that half a trillion is going to distressed businesses to help keep them afloat. You know how much is going to hospitals? $136 billion. Yep, businesses are getting $500 billion and hospitals are getting a fraction of that. But let’s talk about the stimulus checks that are supposed to go out to most Americans, because as Malcolm X once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “If you stick a knife 10 inches into my back but you send me a $1,200 check...nigga, fuck that knife!”
Here is how CNN explains it all:
Under the plan as it was being negotiated, single Americans would receive $1,200, married couples would get $2,400, and parents would see $500 for each child under age 17.
However, the payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all. The thresholds are doubled for couples.
About 90% of Americans would be eligible to receive full or partial payments, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center. Lawmakers set aside $250 billion for the so-called recovery rebates.
Qualifying income levels will be based on 2019 federal tax returns, if already filed, and otherwise on 2018 returns.
So, yes for most Americans making an average income, this means some money, but here’s the other part that CNN broke down: That money might not be here until May! May as in the month after April. May as in May flowers. May as in “May we all have the money we need until May?”
What CNN noted is that these checks are coming from the government, and as with most things government-related, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck. When stimulus checks have been issued by the government before—both in 2001 and 2008—it took forever for checks to be sent out.
In 2001, it took six weeks for the IRS to start sending out rebate checks authorized by President George W. Bush’s tax cut. Then in 2008, amid the Great Recession, it took three months for the checks to start going out after the law was signed by Bush. In that case, Americans were required to file their tax return first, in order to get the check. Once they filed their return, it took between eight and 12 weeks to see the money.
CNN did note that for those who have already filed their 2019 tax return and received a refund via direct deposit, those folks have a better chance of receiving their money a bit faster. But basically, all of us would’ve done better to declare our households as businesses and children as employees; we might’ve gotten the government to care about us the way it cares about businesses, because did I mention that businesses got the biggest chunk of the $2 trillion stimulus package? I did. OK, great.
Nancy Pelosi’s Favorite Part of the Bill
You can’t tell me that the provision in the bill that doesn’t allow for Trump and his family (and other top government officials and members of Congress) to get a loan or money from the programs in the stimulus package is not Pelosi’s favorite part of this bill. Seriously, this addendum screams vintage Pelosi. Because you and I both know that if Trump saw money sitting out there that could be used on his shitty hotels and resorts, which are reportedly floundering during this time, he was going to take it—mostly because he’s a grifter, and secondly because he’s a bastard who only cares about keeping his pockets fat.
So Where Is the Deal Now?
We totally jumped the gun because everyone wanted to talk about money, but the deal was tentatively reached at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. The vote is expected Wednesday afternoon, so it’s pretty much a done deal.
Mortgage/Rent and Student Loan Relief
Yeah, none of that is included in the package. In fact, it’s almost as if Congress doesn’t know that mortgages and rent are due on the first of the month, or what I like to call “next Wednesday.” So they are essentially giving you money to make sure you have the money to pay those bills and then continue the pattern of brokenness we’ve all been on. Meanwhile, did I mention that businesses got...I’ve said that part? OK, great.
Anything Else We Should Care About?
The package would boost unemployment insurance benefits “expanding eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four months, on top of what state unemployment programs pay,” the Washington Post reports.
Oh, and Democrats successfully nixed a provision that was being pushed in earlier drafts that would allow money to be handed out without listing who received what.
“Every loan document will be public and made available to Congress very quickly, so we can see where the money is going, what the terms are and if it’s fair to the American people,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday, the Post reports.