How do you explain to a country of over 320 million people what the Donald Trump government’s strategy is to protect them from the coronavirus pandemic?
How do you break down the truth behind a stimulus package to calm the nerves of those who find themselves unemployed overnight and unable to leave their homes?
Well, social networking is a good place to start.
In the face of Americans’ nervousness and fear as Covid-19 paralyzes New York, one of the most powerful cities in the world, it’s sad to see the government take advantage of the situation to activate its propaganda machine and turn a public health crisis into a campaign issue.
But to counter this, professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe and Bronx Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used a social media Q&A to explain in a simple manner to the public one of the most important decisions made by Congress to help its citizens survive the crisis.
“I don’t know enough about this bill to be able to, like, talk about it or what it is,” Rapinoe said, echoing the doubts of most Americans. “Let’s just start by the basics.”
Explaining what the stimulus package is all about, Ocasio-Cortez tried to explain why a public health crisis has become primarily an economic issue, especially in government strategies.
“Because the virus is so contagious, we’re shutting down entire cities from regular business,” she explained. “And that means that millions of people are out of work.”
In this way, she attempted to summarize the biggest economic stimulus in American history, as described by Politico, and which includes an expansion of protections for the working class that Democrats had to fight tooth and nail for in negotiations with Republicans.
While what the public knows is that the package includes $2 trillion and contemplates sending checks to individuals for $1,200 and married couples for $2,400, the rest is a bit of a blur.
“The first thing that’s in this bill that was passed is that there is going to be direct cash assistance to the majority of people in this country,” explained Ocasio-Cortez. “That cash assistance, if you make less than $75,000, you will be getting a $1,200 check. “
The process is through the IRS, in an earlier submission of the tax return, or in the case of people who do not have direct deposit, the check will arrive but with a little more delay.
But when it comes to immigrants, Rapinoe asked what millions of people are wondering: Is there any protection for them?
“Literally, what we’re told by, from the Republicans, what I’ve been told in the negotiations with Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump, and, like, all of these folks, is that they said ‘anything for immigrants is a non-starter,'” Ocasio-Cortez explained.
“Undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Undocumented people pay, like, to the tune of $14 billion in taxes. And that means that undocumented people who are making our food, cooking in restaurants, stocking our stores, they pay more in taxes than Facebook does, than Amazon does, than a lot of big Banks and GM does,” she insisted.
While Democrats demanded extra help for working families, Republicans insisted on a $500 billion rescue fund to help big industries and only $100 billion for hospitals that are the epicenter of the efforts to fight the pandemic.
“And so, frankly, we’re using public money to fund a lot of these corporations, that aren’t paying into this pot, and we’re cutting out people who are paying into this system,” the representative denounced.