In the Coronavirus Bill, Most of the Money for Ordinary People Is Thanks to Democrats

Say something!Kevin Drum

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.Judging from my Twitter feed—I know, I know—conservatives know only one thing about the Democratic Party contribution to the coronavirus rescue bill: it includes money for Obamaphones and the Kennedy Center. I assume that this is basically the only thing Fox News has told them.
That’s the conservative noise machine for you. Even in the face of a massive pandemic the only thing they care about is pressing Trumpish hot buttons for their audience. Still, I wonder: how many people of any political persuasion understand that the expansion of unemployment benefits in the rescue bill is worth an extra $600 per week through the end of June? How many understand that this adds up to $10,000 or so? How many understand that this is literally the only thing in the bill that will keep most people whole while they’re out of work thanks to government lockdowns?
And how many understand that the only reason this is in the bill is because Democrats insisted on it? Republicans couldn’t have cared less. Their original bill bailed out businesses and gave people a flashy but utterly inadequate one-shot $1,200 check. That was it. That was all anyone would have had to get them through the next few months.
But why would anyone know this unless Democrats do something to take credit for it? Have they? Not that I’ve heard. So conservatives think Democrats were all about Obamaphones and the Kennedy Center, while everyone else figures that Democrats did nothing.
Once again, then, Democrats do the right thing but commit political malpractice by not crowing about it. It’s a wonder the party is still in business.