The Trump Administration’s Failed Coronavirus Pandemic Response Has Set Off A Domino Effect
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On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated, "I believe there is no question that the reason we have unemployment is that certain states are not opening up and that there are issues.”
The U.S. is simultaneously experiencing an eviction crisis, vicious forest fires, dueling hurricanes, crushing unemployment, a sunk economy, oh... and a global pandemic. Yet the Trump administration and Steve Mnuchin are focusing their attention on the public health guidelines in “certain” states in order to pass the buck and avert the public’s attention from the government’s failed pandemic response.
The reality is that the U.S. is experiencing a domino effect: When our leaders failed to react to the pandemic in a timely and competent manner, markets crashed, people lost their jobs, and families were evicted from their homes.
The pandemic wasn’t avoidable, but a failed response was.
Here’s a look back at another week of headlines — all of them exasperated by a Congress and president that have yet to show up for everyday Americans.
Rent is Due Under a Looming Eviction Crisis
Earlier this week, rent was due for millions of struggling and housing insecure Americans amidst a wave of state eviction moratorium expirations and a Trump executive order that critics claim will “delay but not prevent evictions.”
For many immigrants, the eviction crisis has already begun. “Across the country, high unemployment and the end of eviction moratoriums has housing advocates warning about a nationwide wave of evictions. For many immigrants, especially undocumented ones, that crisis has already begun.” [Marketplace, 9/1]
A Trumped-Up Band-Aid:
What to know about the Trump administration's temporary eviction halt and who's covered: Some critics warn the temporary halt "delays but does not prevent evictions." “The order does not apply if any state or local area has a moratorium on residential evictions "that provides the same or greater level of public-health protections than the requirements" listed in the order. It also doesn't apply to American Samoa, which has reported no COVID-19 cases. Moreover, the order does not relieve anyone of the obligation to pay rent or preclude the charging or collecting of fees, penalties or interest as a result of not being able to pay rent on time.” [ABC News, 9/2]
Natural Disasters Exasperated by Man-Made Disasters
Hurricane Laura and multiple vicious forest fires have battered our country along our southern and western borders leaving Americans, yet again, to fend for themselves without comprehensive federal aid.
From Coronavirus to Hurricane Relief, Trump is leaving Texans in the crosshairs of disaster. “Much like a pandemic, a hurricane is a public health emergency that demands decisive action, strategic planning, and strong federal leadership. Unfortunately, under President Trump, we’ve witnessed a complete abdication of responsibility when it comes to the dual crises Texans are now facing. Once again, Trump is leaving Texans in the crosshairs of disaster.” [Texas Signal, 8/29]
Unemployment Continues to Climb
More than 880,000 Americans joined the unemployment ranks in the last week, bringing the total number of workers drawing unemployment benefits to over 29 million.
Just 13% of Black people out of work are getting unemployment benefits during the pandemic. “Just like the virus's outsize impact on the health of communities of color, the unemployment crisis is in a number of ways worse among Black Americans, who are disproportionately more likely to be unemployed but are also least likely to receive jobless benefits. And just 13% of Black people out of work from April to June received unemployment benefits, compared with 24% of White workers, 22% of Hispanic workers and 18% of workers of other races" [CNBC, 9/1]
Half of out-of-work Americans were unable to cover basic expenses in August as the additional unemployment benefit dropped to $300, study finds. “Half of out-of-work Americans were unable to cover basic expenses with money from their unemployment benefits in August as the additional weekly unemployment benefit dropped to $300 from $600, according to a study from Morning Consult. It's also becoming less likely that furloughed or laid-off workers will be able to return to their previous jobs, according to the study. Still, workers continued to return to jobs in August — 8.6% of workers employed in January were out of work in August, down from 11% in July.” [Business insider, 9/1]
Nearly half of people collecting unemployment benefits may not qualify for aid in 2021. “The latest jobless numbers from the Department of Labor indicate that nearly half of all workers receiving unemployment benefits are supported by Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)… PUA, established under the March CARES Act, is set to expire at the end of the year.” [CNBC, 9/3]
...And Leadership's Failed Pandemic Response
It’s been nearly six months since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in America, but the headlines haven’t changed: The administration is still not providing people with the support they need.
House Democrats warn of fraud, abuse in small business rescue. “In a preliminary analysis of Paycheck Protection Program loans, which totaled $525 billion as of Aug. 8, investigators on the House coronavirus subcommittee said they found red flags in nearly $3 billion of the aid after checking the information that borrowers provided against a federal business registration database. They identified 11,000 examples of businesses providing different addresses on their loan applications than the ones registered, including seven businesses that provided "the same seemingly nonexistent address in Ohio" in their loan paperwork.” [Politico, 9/1]
Nurses Say They’re Short on Masks, Other Protection Supplies. “In a survey of more than 21,000 nurses conducted by the American Nurses Association, a third reported that they were out of or short of N95 masks designed to offer maximum protection in a hospital setting. Almost 60% said they’re re-using single-use protective equipment for five or more days, and 68% said their facilities mandate re-using the supplies.” [Bloomberg, 9/1]
New FEMA policy to limit what it will help states pay for in non-emergent settings, including masks. “’They've really chosen to pull out some of the tools that we ordinarily would have as emergency protective measures in our toolbox,’ Andrew Phelps, Oregon's emergency management director, told CNN. ‘It's a really uncomfortable position for states to be in to have to weigh 'Gosh, you know, with our budgets, where do we spend the finite amount of state dollars that we have?'’” [CNN, 9/2]
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