Ali Velshi: Give Americans Their Money
Editor's Note: MSNBC journalist Ali Velshi hosts a weekend show, is a regular fill-in on weekdays and frequently reports from the field. On Sunday, he posted a 13-tweet thread to his Twitter account, in which he called on Congress to deliver more relief money to Americans. MaxNewsToday is republishing his editorial in an easy-to-read format as part of our ongoing series, Twitter Threads. It has been edited for clarity. I don’t know how many GOP members of the House and Senate watch Velshi on MSNBC, so I have a favor to ask of you: If you know any, or know anyone who knows any, could you pass this message on to them for me? While the GOP is busy trying to tear down democracy, there are some difficult realities facing America right now that could really use their attention. We are starting 2021 off in bad shape, considering that this is the most prosperous country on Earth. America is not the most populous nation in the world; it’s only about 4.25% of the global population. Yet, America accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s coronavirus cases and deaths. 55 million Americans are living in poverty. You’ve seen images of cars lined up at food banks. 1 in 6 Americans are now food insecure, meaning they aren’t certain whether they will have the resources to put food on the table for their next meal. In America, most people’s health care coverage is, stupidly, tied to their job, so 29 million Americans now don’t have health insurance. Up to 40 million renters are far enough behind on their rent to be living in fear of eviction. Almost half of Americans own stock, but most of the gains go to the wealthiest 20 percent -- people like the 659 American billionaires who control FOUR TRILLION dollars in wealth. That’s equal to what the 165 MILLION poorest Americans have, combined. I have spent months traveling this country, talking to Americans who earn wages for a living, or run small businesses, about their fears and aspirations. They all want the same things. Americans want a fair chance to survive. To not lose their business. To not have to choose between staying home from work, or going to work and possibly dying from an invisible virus. Nobody I spoke with during Velshi Across America aspired to be a billionaire. They just wanted to keep the doors of their businesses open, their staff paid, and keep their job, their health insurance and food on their table. That’s all they wanted. It’s all they still want.
Republicans argued for NINE MONTHS, since the last relief bill, to give Americans $600 of their own money back. $66 for every month Republicans stood in the way. $2.22 a day. That same $600 check is substantially less than rent for most Americans. So much for relief. This relief bill is pathetic, and it’s shameful. And it needs to be fixed. We need to change the warped way in which so-called fiscal conservatives twist themselves into knots to justify giving taxpayer-funded dollars to Americans in need. The so-called “conservative” senators objecting to the hole that giving people $2,000, instead of $600, would blow in the deficit were SILENT when it came to giving money to corporate America and the wealthy. But here’s the thing, senators: it’s not your money. It belongs to the American people. Americans don’t want your charity. They want their money. They need their money to make it to the other side of this pandemic.