The coronavirus pandemic has turned into something of a Voight-Kampff test. Instead of androids, it detects Suicide Cultists, which are really the next best thing.
We can debate the government’s wisdom in locking down travel and commerce. In fact, Mister Metokur debated comedian Dick Masterson on Ethan Ralph’s #Killstream last night. You can watch the milestone episode here, including the 156:53 mark, when someone you may know consults the Prophet Jim about which sector of the entertainment industry will survive Corona-chan.
Judging by the amateur analysis that flooded the Web in the stream’s wake, the debate made a handy litmus test, as well. Jim walked away with it. He wasted no time in soaring over Dick’s hedonist position to seize and hold the moral level. That’s game, set, match.
It doesn’t take a professional ethicist to discern that taking rational steps so hundreds of thousands of people don’t die of plague is a legitimate use of government power. Anyone swayed by Dick’s invocation of his rights to go boozing, smoke drugs, bang hookers, and murder his grandma is not a serious person. In light of the current crisis, we’d probably better lock down the pro-Dick side for their safety and ours.
But that’s just the Suicide Cult yeomanry. Meanwhile, their high priests in Washington are busy fumbling the ball Trump passed them. Instead of scoring a layup, fiscal Conservatives in Congress have painstakingly drawn up a play to throw the ball into the stands.
Let’s untangle the thought process that led these Congressional lemmings to screw this up. First, the government orders travel and commerce restrictions that grind the economy to a halt. Small and medium-sized business like mom & pop stores, movie theaters, and restaurants take the hardest hit. As a result, poor and middle-class people have less cash in their wallets.
Trump correctly responded with a call for direct cash payments of $1000 to each American. He considered some kind of tax credit but rejected the idea. That’s because this proposal isn’t a form of welfare. The point is to give everyone some discretionary income so they start spending again and keep the economy going.
Leave it to the bow ties in the GOP to botch the execution of this simple concept. To be fair, it was Nancy Pelosi who first demanded means testing–to her base’s dismay. But Suicide Cultists like Graham and Crenshaw dutifully took instruction from their supposed enemy.
Instead of just cutting every American a check for $1000, the market worshipers have turned Trumpbux into a nebbishy tax credit.
How it breaks down now is that people who reported taxable income between $75k and $23k on their 2018 tax returns get $1200 plus $500 per child. Between $75k and $99k, the credit scales down. People who earned $100k or more in 2018 get nothing.
That alone goes to show that our rulers have no concept of what life outside the Beltway is like. It’s not 1988. $100,000 doesn’t go as far as it used to. Suddenly, the GOP has joined Occupy in denouncing the 1%.
But wait, the stupidity gets even worse. Because the current GOP plan is a tax credit, not a direct payment, the poorest Americans also get shafted, since they pay less in taxes. Before you scoff, keep in mind that about 40% of American citizens have no taxable income. Who in their right mind shoulders 40% of the country out of a stimulus package?
Admittedly, that’s a bit of an overstatement, since those with less than $23k in taxable 2018 income get a $600 credit–half of what people who outearn them fourfold get. But the pants-on-head retardation doesn’t stop there.
Say you run a small business that made less than $23k in profits in 2018. You made to little to pay income tax, but you had no escape from paying the 15.3% self-employment tax.
This means that small businessmen who are most vulnerable to the recession will only get $600 instead of $1000 to offset their potential $3500 tax bill.
Here’s the kicker: The self-employment tax goes straight to pay for Social Security and Medicare. That means small business owners under 50 will never see a dime of their money back. The IRS is robbing them to fund the retirements of the wealthiest generation in human history.
And supposedly small government Republicans are using the state to crush them while throwing a pittance at their feet. Lindsey Graham is doing his best Sonny Corleone impression.
So far, we could chalk up the GOP’s failure to address a national emergency to stupidity. But now Republican Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler have taken the stage to show what they really think of us.
Two US Republican Senators are facing calls to resign over allegations they used insider knowledge to sell shares before prices fell due to coronavirus fears.
Richard Burr reportedly dumped up to $1.7m (£1.45m) of stocks last month.
Kelly Loeffler is reported to have sold holdings worth up to $3m in a series of transactions beginning the same day as a Senate briefing on the virus.
Both Senators have denied any impropriety.
Under US law, it is illegal for members of Congress to trade based on non-public information gathered during their official duties.
Mr Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has also come under fire after US outlet NPR obtained a recording of him warning a group of wealthy constituents last month about the dire economic impact of the coronavirus, at a time when the Trump administration was publicly downplaying the threat. He also told the group to curtail their travel.
In response, Mr Burr has accused NPR of “misrepresenting” his speech.
They really do think we’re dumb cattle. That’s the only explanation short of genuine suicidal urges that are driving our elites over the precipice.
It turns out that smugly declaring yourself to be perched comfortably at the end of history inclines one to forget the lessons of the past. Our rulers’ monstrous dereliction of duty may well doom us. But they forget the fate of parasites who kill the host.
Ironically, Corona-chan herself may prove less deadly than the Suicide Cult. She also seems like a lot more fun in comparison. Even if you’re on lockdown, you can safely help spread Corona-chan’s love with your free copy of David Stewart’s new SFF anthology, which includes entertaining tales by the likes of David himself, Jon Del Arroz, and yours truly.
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