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We Fear the Evil of Leaders Who Would Lead Us into the Valley of the Shadow of Death

GUEST COMMENTARY-There are times to be measured and reasonable, but this is not one of them: 

Listen up, Jared Kushner: 

As a multimillionaire, as a child of wealth and privilege and son-in-law of an abuser of power, you should be ashamed of yourself. Social Security is for everybody. You have NO right to dictate curtailment of Social Security. $1,000 or $1,500 may not even be the down payment on one of your bespoke suits but for many Americans, for too many Americans, it is rent, heat, medicine, and food for a month. 

Our democracy doesn’t deserve to have those with your elitist mindset inflicted on them. 

Same goes for Mitch “the tortoise” McConnell who doesn’t think Americans needs the HEROES Act. Of course, he doesn’t. He just pulls into his shell where he can’t see the hurt. 

But the rest of America wouldn’t have to worry about paying the bills if he gifted them with a salary equivalent to his: $193,400/year plus gold-plated lifetime health insurance. The 99% could sure use that benefit, given over 16 million Americans have lost theirs since March, and as many as 43 million could end up losing their health coverage courtesy of the pandemic. 

Nah, another stimulus package is definitely unnecessary. 

Though I am sure pretty much every AARP-aged American would be happy to get by on Mitch’s pension which, upon retirement, will pay him over $100K annually. PLUS, he will get top tier Social Security, PLUS income from a 401(k)-style plan to which he has (presumably) been contributing for over 35 years. . . 

With all that, few Americans would demand a cut of his personal net worth which is somewhere between $1 and $2 million. On the other hand, his wife is now reportedly worth north of $50 million. 

Oh, talking about his wife, Elaine Chao: she is Trump’s Secretary of Transportation and the daughter of a shipping magnate with extensive business interests in mainland China. Her sister has served on the boards of the state-owned Bank of China and a Chinese-owned shipbuilder. During a time of major job loss here at home, Chao’s Transportation department has repeatedly opposed funding for American shipping, shipyards, and shipbuilders – just a tad of quid pro what anybody? 

Jobless claims are up over 30 million. And growing.  But our illustrious (not) Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wants to enforce work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This would impact over 700,000 Americans – a number that will increase exponentially in today’s (lack of) job market where they – surprise, surprise – cannot find work. 

And then, of course, we have our blithering idiot-in-chief who had the chutzpah to opine about healthcare workers in a speech at a medical equipment distribution center last week: 

“They are warriors, aren't they?" 

"They're running into death just like soldiers run into bullets, in a true sense." 

"I see that with the doctors and the nurses and so many other people. They go into those hospitals, it's incredible to see. It's a beautiful thing to see. But I really call them 'warriors.' We're all warriors; everyone in our country is a warrior." 

Well, Mr. Trump, take a lesson from a more experienced leader, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana who noted recently that: “We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life. 

At least get off your fat ass and volunteer at some nursing home or homeless shelter. BE the wartime president you claim to be and lead the troops. 

And you won’t need a facemask because, three weeks ago, when U.S. cases passed the million mark with deaths topping 58,000 (over 80,000 as of May 15), you claimed the worst of the pandemic was over and urged schools and businesses to reopen. 

Over a month ago, you repeated your mantra of no shortages – of masks, of ventilators, of tests.  Since you have never ever bothered to wear a mask, why start now? Obviously, everyone you might come in contact with must already have a huge supply. 

And if you do fall ill, I’m sure some helpful nurse can inject bleach into your lungs to save your miserable life.

 

(Liz Amsden is a member of the Budget Advocates, an elected, all volunteer, independent advisory body charged with making constructive recommendations to the Mayor and the City Council regarding the Budget, and to City Departments on ways to improve their operations, and with obtaining input, updating and educating all Angelenos on the City’s fiscal management.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.