It is quite something to hear the elites in Washington—especially Republican members of Congress and the menace in the White House—blather on about wanting to wait to see how well the previous, inadequate fiscal stimulus works before deciding whether to do anything else. That’s while tens of millions of people are in the streets, huge lines of hungry people form every day across the nation and states and cities are on the brink of financial ruin.
States and cities not only employ collectively millions of people but, my god, their services—from education to just picking up the garbage—are damn essential. And you don’t need a computer to get that with the economy shut down and people sheltering at home, revenue to the states through incomes taxes and other taxes has nosedived. It’s just around the corner, folks: when there are gaps in local budgets, especially at the state level, they are coming after us with cuts pretty quickly to our services, our pensions and our communities.
I welcome back Meg Wiehe, deputy director of the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, to wrap our minds around this: Congress should make up any shortfalls states and cities face—and we should use this crisis to also fix the decades-long, deeply crazy, screwed up ideology that skimped on strong government in favor of low taxes for the rich and corporations.
Then, I circle back to what’s happening with poultry, hog and meat processing workers in a conversation with, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail Wholesale and Department Stores Union, as we focus mainly about the crazed notion of forcing plants to open up even if COVID-19 is raging through the workplace.