Do you really think, as Donald Trump said several days ago, that “We’re back,” and the crisis is ending? You shouldn’t. We need to be smarter and do more. So I write in response to Mr. Bishop’s rejection of the $3 trillion in new aid for Americans suffering from COVID-19 last weekend. Like his buddy, Rep. Chris Stewart, he apparently feels such aid is unnecessary. In Stewart’s assertion at a town hall last week, he complained that to do so would be a “socialist wish list.” It’s such ludicrous and uncaring rhetoric, especially coming from Utahns who allegedly hold certain Christian beliefs.

Mr. Bishop fears it would add to the federal debt. If he had actually been concerned about the federal debt, he wouldn't have voted for the huge 2017 tax cuts that his beloved GOP and Donald Trump carried out, the one that mostly benefited big business while weakening the economy and putting it in a precarious position after President Obama’s eight year success. That action made us extremely vulnerable and pushed the nation into deeper new debt which grew to a total of $23 trillion, mostly aiding big business and America’s wealthy. Mr. Bishop supported that policy because, apparently, he does believe in a certain kind of “socialism” for rich Americans and gigantic corporations.

The terrible economic picture of Trump’s America today shows how bad things are. The national debt indicates we’re at nearly $25 trillion, an amount which translates to some $66,000 in debt for every citizen.

Making matters worse, we’re now in the Coronavirus pandemic without a plan because of foolhardy assumptions that the Trump economy would last forever. The administration had been warned of future crises but took no actions to prepare. While many Utah families practice good financial planning, have savings and prepare for uncertain futures, neither Congress nor the White House seem to practice wise family finance. Although numerous experts predicted there would be new and dangerous future pandemics, Trump and the GOP couldn’t imagine such a future. They saw no need to be wise or frugal. Then in late 2019 when the Coronavirus emerged, they looked the other way, defiantly claiming it would “quickly disappear” so they could again grow the economy.

Now they are forced to begin “paying the piper.” Trump had predicted in January, “We have it very well under control.” He complained that he hated any bailouts while Sen. McConnell whined at having to act charitably toward those who suffer. For political reasons, they finally agreed to support a relief package of over $2 trillion in aid. Yet COVID-19 clearly wasn’t controlled, but has raged on so that we now have some 1.5 million Americans becoming dangerously ill and more than 90,000 who have died. Almost everyone knows it will continue to get worse.

So last weekend, the newest House stimulus bill was voted on, the “Heroes Act.” It provides some $3 trillion more to help those who are sick, hungry and unemployed. Here’s what it includes: $200 billion in hazard pay for health workers; $1 trillion to help local governments pay police, fire, Native American tribes and other essential workers; $75 billion for coronavirus testing; more money to assist the now more than 36 million Americans who’ve lost their jobs; $175 billion for housing assistance; and new stimulus money for all individuals. Of course, it won’t include giving new dollars to officials like Mr. Bishop and friends in Congress and the White House. But they already enjoy permanent high-paying jobs, as well as “golden benefits” like generous healthcare plans and huge retirement pensions.

I strongly support the masses who are suffering during this tragic time of pain and increased poverty. More economic assistance is required. I have a Ph.D. and have taught MBA students at various universities for decades, so I know a bit about economic theory. Utah’s congressional delegation is wrong. It’s definitely not bad policy or “socialism” to feed impoverished kids, help small firms or assist with rent payments as millions lose their jobs. A more accurate statement would be that such actions are Americanism at its greatest.

Warner Woodworth is a social entrepreneur and professor emeritus at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management. He is also a consultant to major corporations, governments, NGOs and trade unions. Woodworth has produced 10 books and more than 200 articles, book chapters and conference papers.

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