Twitter hashtag #BidenLied breaks the internet amid fight for $2000 checks

On February 1st, 2021, President Joe Biden’s promise to give $2000 checks to Americans within his first week in office will have reached its deadline. His fans in America took to Twitter to show their discontent to demand direct action coming from the President, at a time when many families risk losing their homes as the deadline for eviction is coming to a close. A new trending hashtag took the scores of the internet breaking through walls, reaching number the number one spot at exactly 5:22AM eastern time.

At 4AM there were already a reported 11.5K Tweets with the trending hashtag. Many Americans felt disenfranchised by the last stimulus and feel it unfairly discriminated against essential workers. That begs the question, did the last stimulus actually benefit the poor and victims of COVID? This is a question I will be examining and taking a closer look as we debate the best solution, and ask the question how could a Biden administration do better.

“The #BidenLied hashtag began trending on Twitter on Sunday after the Democratic Party shared a tweet that outlined Biden’s plans to get $1,400 checks to most Americans — on top of the already agreed $600 payments.” — Newsweek

I will give you an example. I live in Boston in my parents household where the average middle class income is one hundred fifty grand a year. My parents own a two bedroom one bath home they bought for half a million dollars. Half of their income goes to taxes. That automatically disqualified us from any stimulus payment based on last year’s taxes. The stimulus also discriminated against single parents who have an even shorter cut off before they become disqualified. Shouldn’t single mothers be getting more?

Get this though. Just because my parents made collectively over the amount which a stimulus was allowed to be sent out, does not mean they were not affected negatively by the pandemic. The stimulus should never have been based on last year’s income when everyone was obviously doing better. My mother who is a preschool had her hours significantly, and because she now made under one hundred dollars a week it disqualified her from getting the last stimulus, even though my mother’s boss got a giant business bailout from the stimulus. That begs the question, shouldn’t those with the lowest income and working get stimulus first before anyone else? Many corporations and business got to reduce the wages of essential workers by cutting back their house, and because she wasn’t fired she is disqualified from the enhanced unemployment stimulus which would have given her an extra three hundred dollars. Now take my father who is a software sales manager at Oracle Corporation. He does not make hourly wages. His entire income is based on commission he makes on sales. Well since every office worker was told to stay home, guess who isn’t making deals? My father’s income was cut in over half, yet he did not qualify for a stimulus because he made more money last year.

What about me do I get a stimulus? Since I am a student attending college and still living with my parents because house prices are outrageously expensive in Massachusetts, that would be a no. Even though I lose my healthcare in a few years. Another question to ask would be then, shouldn’t students in enormous debt be one of the first to receive stimulus? My parents have now been in a tough position where they have not been paying our mortgage for the past year, and we have been living paycheck to paycheck for the first time since the last recession. Many of my friends and neighbors are also going through the same thing, and asking why their government is not doing more when other countries are.

Who is this helping then? Are we bailing out the most privileged?

You heard that right. We are essentially rewarding people who don’t work, and telling essential workers with reduced hours and wages they had to to suck it up. I’ll give you an example of how these bailouts were used at my last summer job. Most everyone I have ran into who are also collecting unemployment, many of upper management was doing side jobs under the table and are making more than they did before the pandemic. This includes family run businesses. The car dealership I used to work at fired all their family staff so they could collect unemployment, and then paid them direct cash under the table to double their payments while avoiding taxes which is actually illegal. All this while collecting a giant bailout for businesses even though the essential workers got screwed again after our wages were reduced, and refusing to lay us off so we can’t collect unemployment or get extra stimulus money. That is when I quit back in September. Their excuse was that car sales were drying up because of the pandemic but I don’t buy it. I’ve been out of work since last fall and ineligible for stimulus being a student.

I’ve talked to many people who are in the same boat. So businesses are slashing wages with no explanation given to me or my parents, and getting pumped with massive bailouts, and the working and middle class receive almost nothing in return. Shouldn’t the stimulus be going to essential workers and students who need it the most? What are some things that President Biden could actually do to uplift the country that is in grave crisis? Does he have any power to do those things?

1.) Keep Workers On The Payroll

For starters we could have subsidized the payrolls to keep companies from laying off their workers, which is what happened in every developed nation except the United States. We now have a situation where over 10 million Americans were laid off in one month and lost their healthcare in a middle of a pandemic. Many are asking if that that has anything to do with the skyrocketed mortality rates in the United States? Meanwhile 45 of the 50 biggest U.S. companies have seen massive profits, while paying almost 0% in taxes, and using the bailout money to buy back stock in their company for their shareholders. This should be criminal but it’s not.

America’s biggest companies are flourishing during the pandemic and putting thousands of people out of work

“Then, 21 big firms that were profitable during the pandemic laid off workers anyway. Berkshire Hathaway raked in profits of $56 billion during the first six months of the pandemic while one of its subsidiary companies laid off more than 13,000 workers. Salesforce, Cisco Systems and PayPal cut staff even after their chief executives vowed not to do so. Companies sent thousands of employees packing while sending billions of dollars to shareholders. Walmart, whose CEO spent the past year championing the idea that businesses “should not just serve shareholders,” nonetheless distributed more than $10 billion to its investors during the pandemic while laying off 1,200 corporate office employees.” — Washington Post

You know who else got zero stimulus? Live event concert workers and independent artists and venues, and the Save Our Stages (SOS) Act that can’t even receive enough support in the Senate to pass, would be a giant bailout for corporations like Live Nation venues and Ticketmaster, but literally zero help for the actual workers.

Live Events Industry Sounds Alarm that 90% of Workers Will Be Left Behind

“Further compounding the situation, about 90 percent of the nation’s 12 million live-events workers do not qualify for government aid under the U.S. Senate’s stalled $10 billion Save Our Stages act. It was co-authored by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to help shuttered venues survive but has become mired in political quicksand. If passed, the bill would cover various expenses — including rent, insurance and utilities — that are not covered under the government’s Paycheck Protection Program.” — San Diego Tribune

How have different countries supported workers through the crisis?

Right now the unemployment and pandemic relief stimulus around the world is measured out in different numbers. Australia is covering 100% of wages lost regardless of prior income. Denmark is covering 90% and Ireland covers 85%. Right now the United Kingdom’s and Germany’s unemployment and pandemic relief is covering 80% of wages lost for hourly workers. Canada and Sweden are covering 75% of previous wages and up to 100% of new wages if hours reduced. France is covering 70%. At the bottom of the list is the United States, with unemployment wage subsidies that only cover half of previous wages you earned. This is not happening in any other developed country. Is it time we start taking a closer look at our flawed unemployment system? Not only that. Countries like Australia, Canada, Ireland are offering companies in decline compensation to keep their employees on the payroll, freeing up businesses to cut wages while stimulus will pick up the slack. This was all recent unemployment stimulus passed by other nations during this pandemic except in the United States being the richest nation on the planet.

2.) Stop The Evictions

“Cancel rent Cuomo” hangs on a building in the Crown Heights District in Brooklyn (Getty Images)

In January, 55 million American families face eviction in a middle of a pandemic and freezing winter if nothing is done to address the housing crisis, and Republicans and Democrats don’t work together to pass new stimulus within the next month as moratoriums towards the end of March.

Up to 40 million Americans could lose their homes if Congress doesn’t act: “It’s life or death for me”

“A recent study published in the SSRN science journal found that over 400,000 additional coronavirus cases and 10,000 deaths were linked to the expirations of various state eviction protections over the summer.” — CBS News

A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street

Mom and Pop Own Fewer Rental Units (Published 2017)

To be quite frank, this does not happen in other developed countries, and is completely inexcusable in the richest country in the world. Right now over 55% of rental units in America are owned by institutional banks. In 1991 individual investors owned 92% of the nation’s rental properties. This is a huge shift that started during the last recession 15 years ago when 10 million Americans were kicked out of their home. When that happened we called it a “Great Recession”. We face a housing crisis that is four times greater today if nothing is done to reverse this.

In reality, putting a moratorium actually does nothing other than pushing collective bills that keep adding up to another later debt. It forces government to keep extending the deadline, expecting homeowners to eventually pay their bill down the line with the job they didn’t have. In other nations it is also against the law to evict homeowners and renters during the winter season. The President could very easily declare a national emergency and forgive the debt of renters and homeowner for the past year, like we did during the last economic crash when we bailed out the largest financial institutions. In fact, just like we bailed out America’s largest corporations during this pandemic in the last two stimulus bailouts.

3.) Give Americans Healthcare

Bernie Sanders speaks during a healthcare rally in San Francisco on September 22, 2017. (Justin Sullivan)

This should be pretty much a no brainer and has received more popular support than ever before. Maybe it took a deadly pandemic for us to realize this. 12 million Americans have lost their health insurance this year. Not only that, this healthcare crisis is disproportionally affecting younger Americans because news flash, Medicare works.

Millions Have Lost Health Insurance in Pandemic-Driven Recession

Younger Americans are more likely to lose their insurance during pandemic

About 33% of Gen Z (defined here as those born during 1995 or after) and 29% of millennials (those born between 1980–1994) had their health insurance impacted by the pandemic, including losing coverage, according to a survey TransUnion Healthcare conducted last month of more than 3,000 people who visited a hospital, health-care clinic, doctor’s office or health-care organization in the last year. — CNBC

The reality is we’ve actually been trying to adopt a national Medicare plan since Harry Truman in the 1940’s, which saw supporters among other Presidents like John Kennedy as well as Senator Ted Kennedy. We are the last developed country in the world not to practice a national healthcare policy. The question becomes is it too expensive when the United States is the richest country in the world which just engaged in the last bailout of saving just the largest corporations in the world? This pandemic has really shown the cracks in our flawed healthcare system. We have the highest mortality rates in the entire world among this virus, and many of the highest mortality rates are among black minorities and communities in the lowest income bracket. Is that just a coincidence? Is this the best that we can really do? This is a question many around the country are asking.

Americans dying of COVID-19 at rate over 17 times higher than Europeans, Canadians

“Despite the surging number of infections and the rising number of deaths across the U.S., the White House has repeatedly insisted, inaccurately, that the U.S. has one of the lowest death rates in the world.” — Newsweek

Again, the President could very easily use his pen to declare a national health emergency, and give families who lost loved ones to this pandemic a lifetime of Medicare, something already provided and given to every other developed nation in the entire world. This is a crisis that is not happening in any other part of the world except in the United States. It becomes alarming when Congress cannot even agree on a two thousand dollar check, and former President Donald Trump actually was the largest advocate.

What does all this really mean???

President Joe Biden signing executive actions on health care on January 28, 2021. (Doug Mills/Getty)

This is now my take. Did Joe Biden really lie? It’s a rather fine line to say he did not when millions of Americans are suffering right now. Here is the sad part. We can very well point fingers at each other and say this is the fault of this politician or that politician but that won’t solve anything. Joe Biden has said he won’t support or pass Medicare, he won’t stop banks from evicting families during a pandemic, and he won’t stop bailing out Jeff Bezos. President Trump did not do nearly enough either, and both liberals and conservatives feel this way. Many American political and economic activists and politicians like Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, Noam Chomsky, Dylan Ratigan, Jordan Charitan, Daryl Davis, Nina Turner, Krystal Ball, Congresswoman Alexandria Cortez, Chris Hedges, Cornel West, and even Tucker Carlson on Fox News are calling for this.

What we have to do now is rise up and demand action from our elected officials. Right now they have utterly failed us during a time when we need our government to lead effectively the most. We cannot sit back and pretend this pandemic is going to be over by getting a vaccine in the arm or wearing a mask. This has been an economic catastrophe where 70% of small business won’t be coming back after they were forced to shut down. You cannot simply flip a switch and pretend like that will go away with a new President. Listen to what people are saying outside of the belt.

When all is said and done, the businesses and wealthiest Americans who have shown such utter contempt for working class families by banking off their suffering during a deadly pandemic, will have a high price to pay when they lose the throne they are sitting on right now. The American people are only going to put up with so much. So many Americans express concern of a being gaslighted into an economic morgue. Americans are dying right now. You can hear shouting on the street. Chants yelling “do your job”, the occupation you are paid to perform as an elected official. Many criticize that we cannot even pass a stimulus that is worth half as much as the last one? Historians will look back at this time as a shameful part of American history and also a new beginning when the American people said enough is enough. Now that Democrats have the power in both Houses and the White House, it would be foolish not to act on this opportunity to provide for the general welfare of your citizens that are paying taxes to fund the office of every elected representative. The common aphorism line is ‘do your job’. Perhaps there is no better time to utter that phrase than in these pressing times.

So it should be of no surprise that this has become the trending hashtag overnight. Americans are dying. They are going hungry, and they are losing their homes. Americans want their government to act now in the best interest of caring for your people, because we have witnessed a great unjust and inequitable economy over recent decades. This President has the chance to be the next Roosevelt of his time in history, and he has the chance to act bold. The American people want their own government to stand up for them, and now that Democrats control two branches of government there should be no excuses. So I shall utter the phrase, do your job.

Independent writer outside of Boston.