I am a descendant of Southern plantation slaveholders. I’ve had the dubious advantage of knowing this for some time, being Utah born in the thick of the genealogically obsessed Mormon Church. The despicable idea that one human being can own another by dint of an arbitrary imbalance of power has always been deeply repugnant to me. Knowledge of my contemptible ancestry makes it doubly so.
But even they understood a slaveholder had to feed his slaves, however meagerly. I give them no credit for this beyond their own diabolical avarice, of course. That their best interests sometimes intersected with the best interests of the pitiable slave was a wholly incidental matter to them.
It is a logic that is missing of late from the Republican Party in general and the Republican part of the United States Senate in particular. Their agenda has always traditionally been heavily freighted on the side of the corporations and the wealthy mandarins who run them, of course. But in the pages of their recent “relief” package ostensibly intended to help America survive the ravages of the coronavirus, lies an agenda so inimical to the health of the slave-class that greases the wheels of these corporate juggernauts, that you would be forgiven for thinking their aim was more suicidal than relieving.
That’s what you would think, anyway, if you had forgotten that the Republican Senate exists these days for the exclusive service, promotion and reelection of its lord and master Donald Trump. The Republican relief package is a death warrant for hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of innocent Americans. It is a terrible price to pay, but a price Republicans are willing to pay if it results in a temporary spike in American productivity and apparent economic health long enough to last until November.
I’m sure it chafes the larcenous, rancorous souls of the hateful, sour-faced Republican misers to give anything at all to the average American. But this bridge not-far-enough in the Republican-sponsored bill provides a three month limit on an increase in unemployment benefits, restricts the bill’s cash-assistance provision to a one time payment, instead of a subsidy guaranteed to recur for the duration of the crisis, and caps relief funds for small businesses at a fraction of the level even recommended by conservative economists. It also permits the deplorable lack of paid sick leave and no healthcare for the average oppressed American worker to continue unabated.
But the hidden diabolical genius lies in the corporate stimulus package, is the $500 billion in bailout money to corporations of Steve Mnuchin’s unmonitored choosing — without forbidding the bailed-out firms from laying off their workers. That’s right, folks, once again CEOs will be free to use government stimulus money to buy back their own stock at advantageous rates then dump them when they go high again for a huge profit for themselves alone.
Take a wild guess who the chief beneficiary of this Machiavellian hoax would be. Why Donald Trump, of course. Trump even recently implied that he would be required by law to accept government bailouts for his hotels. But it would also make it possible for him to point to this artificially-induced Frankenstein economy, claim the success as the result of his very own “stable genius” and ride that wave into a November victory for a second term.
This is what happens when the Republican Party eats their young. This is why the notion that anything bi-partisan can happen in this Republican Senate is laughable. Certainly these slave masters will occasionally and accidentally make choices that benefit their slaves, but in the final analysis, all they care about is power, money, and their lord and master Donald John Trump.