Why the GOP Senate fiddles while America dies. “I don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Imagine you are Jeff Bezos, the $175 billion man. Your children are starving. They ask you for $10 so they can buy some food. You debate about whether to offer even $2.

That is the GOP Senate, today.

Parties remain divided over virus aid package
Some Republicans balk over price tag as deadline looms
By Lisa Mascaro Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The differences over the next coronavirus aid package are vast: Democrats propose $3 trillion in relief and Republicans have a $1 trillion counteroffer. At stake are millions of Americans’ jobless benefits, school reopenings and eviction protections.

Given that the federal government already has demonstrated it has unlimited money, and that infusions of money protect the economy and the people of America, why the reluctance to spend?

Striking any agreement between Congress and President Donald Trump by Friday’s deadline for expiring aid will be daunting.

“We cannot afford to fail,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said.

The outcome will be a defining one for the president and the parties heading into the November election as an uneasy nation is watching and waiting for Washington to bring some end to the health crisis and devastating economic fallout.

Given that adding dollars to the economy will stimulate economic growth, and a growing economy will benefit Trump’s re-election chances, why is it the Democrats who wish to spend and the Republicans who are reluctant?

Key to the debate is the $600 weekly unemployment benefit bump that is expiring for millions of jobless Americans.

Republicans want to slash it to $200 a week as an incentive to push people back to work.

Given that millions of people are out of work, not because they quit, but were fired, and there are not enough jobs available to hire them back, why do Republicans insist there is a need or even a way to “push people back” to non-existent jobs?

Defending cuts to unemployment assistance, Republicans said the federal supplement is too generous, on top of state benefits, and people should not be paid more while they are at home than they would if they were on the job.

Given that giving Americans more money will allow them to spend more, which will help American businesses survive, why are Republicans concerned that the federal supplement is “too generous”?

With the virus death toll climbing and 4.2 million infections nationwide, both parties are eager for relief.

There is some agreement that more money is needed for virus testing, to help schools prepare to open in the fall and to shore up small businesses.

Half the Republican senators are expected to oppose any bill.

They warned against caving to liberal demands and worried the price tag will balloon past $1 trillion.

The Republicans come to the negotiating table hobbled by infighting and delays. Conservative Republicans quickly broke ranks, arguing the spending was too much and priorities misplaced.

“It’s a mess,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. “I don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Those words, “I don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish,” will live in infamy, for that is exactly the situation. Here are what seem to be the Republican goals.

  1. Re-elect themselves.
  2. Re-elect Trump.
  3. Grow the economy.
  4. “Open” the economy.
  5. Get people back to work.

But they want to accomplish the above without:

  1. Aiding consumers so they will spend more.
  2. Aiding schools so they can create virus-free environments.
  3. Aiding states so they can, in turn, aid their counties and cities.
  4. More virus testing.
  5. Demanding mask-wearing.
  6. Offering any kind of unified recovery plan.
  7. Doing anything liberals might like.
  8. Benefitting the poor and middle-income groups.

When you don’t know what you are trying to accomplish, there is no hope you ever will accomplish it.

There are two steps Congress and the President could take that very quickly would return America to some semblance of normal:

  1. Pump dollars into the pockets of consumers.Your maks protects me.png
  2. Universal mask-wearing.

With regard to mask-wearing, the fault lies directly at the feet of the President. Recently there appeared an article that read like this:

Shops: No shoes, no shirt, no service.
People: OK. No problem.

Traffic Laws: Wear a seatbelt in a car or be ticketed. No drinking and driving.
People: OK. No problem.

OSHA; At work in a dangerous place you must wear safety gear.
People: OK. No problem.

Airlines: You must be seated, with your seatbelt buckled and your tray table up. No smoking.
People: OK. No problem.

Do not go down the “up” escalator.
People: OK. No problem.

TSA: Remove your shoes & belt; empty your pockets; put your luggage on the belt; and go through the X-ray machine.
People: OK. No problem.

Schools: Children are not allowed to bring guns into the school.

Food processor: No animals allowed in a food facility.
Workers: OK. No problem.

Today’s stores: Please wear a mask to reduce the risk of infecting others and yourself with the deadly CORONA virus.
People: Don’t try to take away my rights and freedoms. If the President doesn’t have to wear a mask, neither do I.

Way back, on May 5th, 2020, we published:

The surprisingly simple way to open America in 14 days and avoid a depression.
COVID-19 transmits primarily through the air by droplets. Stop the droplets and you stop the transmission. The incubation period is 14 days. If everyone wore a mask, even just a simple cloth mask, the virus would cease to be transmitted in two weeks.

The was 2 1/2 months ago, and nothing that has happened since, to change the prescription.

Even without social distancing, even with handwashing, even without scrubbing down facilities, even without a cure or a vaccine, the simple act of universal mask-wearing would create a kind of “herd immunity” that would end the disaster.

Yet here we are, still fiddling. And America is burning.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


The most important problems in economics involve:

  1. Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
  2. Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Social Security for all or a reverse income tax

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10.Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.


12 thoughts on “Why the GOP Senate fiddles while America dies. “I don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish.”

  1. Good article overall, Rodger. Though I do think that it is wishful thinking to assume that universal mask-wearing would actually end the pandemic (or at least its local or regional epidemics) in two weeks or even two months.

    At first I agreed with you back in May. But now, we see that even in the many states and countries that have had broad mask mandates for weeks or months now, the virus is still spreading to this day (albeit slower than before).

    The only places where the virus is genuinely on the run right now are where *actual* herd immunity has apparently been reached, including New York, New Jersey, and several European countries (where masks have been mandatory since April) and Sweden (where they actually still advise *against* wearing masks, as do other Scandinavian countries).

    Ok, maybe Japan and Taiwan fit the theory, but masks still are not mandatory there IIRC and not quite universal. That’s not to say that masks are a bad idea, but their effectiveness is limited and at best can be said to slow down the spread rather than halt it entirely.


    1. Herd immunity is achieved at about the 70%+ level. No state in America has it. It will take years, if ever, for any place to achieve it, and that first will require massive deaths.

      The mask idea is to prevent transmission. Your mask prevents most of your spit from traveling. Then, most of your spit that does manage to evade your mask, will be caught by mine.

      Those two barriers would reduce transmission in a way emulating herd immunity, without the deaths.

      The so-called “broad mask mandates” do not exist in reality. I live in Illinois, which has a “broad mask mandate.” But we have enough dumb Trumpers to negate much of the mandates. It requires a re-education effort about what is legal, cool, social, and polite.

      It’s like covering your mouth when you sneeze. Everyone does it. A mask does it better. Even dumb Trumpers do it. I’ll bet even Trump himself does it.

      But by setting a bad example, he has killed thousands of people, the worst mass murderer in U.S. history.

      So yes, the virus transmission in Illinois is lower than in other places, but still not enough people follow the mandate. And now restaurants have opened, so there goes the mandate.

      If everyone wore a mask, and restaurants were closed, everything else could remain open and the transmission rate would fall to herd-immunity levels or below.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The naive 70% figure for the herd immunity threshold (HIT) assumes a homogeneous population in terms of susceptibility and infectivity, which is clearly not true. In a heterogenous population, the HIT is more like 10-20%, and the most recent antibody studies (which are really a lower bound, given T-cell immunity) suggest many places are already there or at least close to reaching it. The following articles should be food for thought:



        And the real infection fatality rate (IFR) is far lower than was originally assumed as well. Best estimates are between 0.1% and 0.3%, and that includes all deaths labeled “with” COVID, not all of which are actually “from” COVID. So it is not at all farfetched that we would be at herd immunity by now.

        In terms of broad mask mandates and restaurant closures, the two have coexisted for several weeks in several states with still plenty of virus spread prior to reopening. Even here in New York in April and much of May, though it had diminished and continued diminishing even after restaurants and bars reopened. So it really seems more like just a warmed-over version of the original “fifteen days to flatten the curve” which clearly lasted a LOT longer than that.

        So perhaps the only way it could be over in two weeks is if we did it North Korean style, where not wearing a mask is punishable by three months hard labor in the gulag, no exceptions, vigorously enforced by overzealous student “volunteers”. Maybe a Sheriff Joe Arpaio-style chain gang in the Arizona desert (where it can be 110 degrees even in the shade) would be the American equivalent, lol. And also impeach any politician caught not wearing one. But all kidding aside, even that would likely take a lot longer than two weeks. And closing restaurants again would be disastrous to these already-struggling small businesses.

        By the way, the deplorables’ anointed one himself now (very belatedly) wears a mask and even says that doing so is patriotic. Ditto for Doug Ducey as well. Meanwhile, King Andrew Cuomo has been caught not wearing one and not socially distancing when he recently went down to Georgia, part of the “red zone” that he himself designated.

        I really wonder who in this country will still be wearing masks routinely after November 4, and especally January 20? Some say we are in it for the long haul, of course, but it is still not entirely clear whether their stance is more for political reasons. But thanks to a combination of herd immunity, attenuation (weakining of the virus over time), and better treatment of patients with the disease, I think this madness would be largely over by then. The virus itself will likely still exist, but most likely no longer at epidemic proportions, God willing.


        1. Well, well, well. I guess New York, Florida and Texas have achieved HIT. Hmmm.

          In that case, with so much of the US “already having reached herd immunity,” wearing masks might accomplish the job in even less than 14 days. Right?

          Had Trump and his Trumpers worn masks, the “chain gang” would not be necessary.

          Do you cover your mouth when you sneeze, without the threat of a chain gang? Do you wear a seat belt when you drive without Sheriff Arpaio? Do you smoke cigarettes in the theater or in school, or on an airplane or in the airport or in just about any closed area? Do you let your kids play with matches? When you go on a boat, do you wear a life preserver?

          Americans respond to common life-saving sense when their leaders respond to commons sense.

          As you said (and I said), herd immunity does not require 100% compliance. I said 70%; you say a much lower number. Whichever HIT theory you believe, wearing masks would have ended the problem in two weeks, had people understood it was important.

          The sole problem is that Trump and his flunkies made not wearing a mask a badge of strength. If Republican dummies had set the example, and taken the virus seriously, the problem would have ended by now.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Fair enough. Unlike some of my fellow lockdown skeptics, I personally have no problem with mask mandates, provided they are 1) temporary, 2) nuanced, and 3) the punishment actually fits the “crime”, treated similar to a traffic or parking ticket at worst. (I was of course being facetious about NK, chain gangs and Joe Arpaio, so I don’t want the readers to get any ideas now). Rather, I just don’t want credit given to the wrong factors in reducing the spread of the virus. That said, if they start requiring masks in places where they don’t even make sense, such as inside one’s own home or vehicle, or when walking outdoors far away from anyone else (like some local mask ordinances already do, such as Broward County, FL), and/or if they make mask mandates permanent even in the greenest of green zones where there is little to no community spread (which we will know after January 20, 2021, if not November 4, 2020), that is an overreach that I have a serious problem with. Nuance is very important here.


          2. That would of course be a drowning hazard, so no. Wet masks also become practically useless as well. And swimming is typically done outdoors in the open air and sun, so as long as people keep their distance from each other and are not right in each others faces for a prolonged period of time, the risk of contracting COVID is practically negligible. Especially if the water is of the salty or chlorinated variety, where the virus is unlikely to survive.


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