Sen. Lisa Murkowski

I was curious to see that none of Alaska’s delegation to Congress has said a peep about raising stimulus checks from the measly $600 per each person in a household to $2000. After all, we’re in crisis with over 48,000 Alaskans unemployed and those numbers don’t include the thousands whose benefits have run out. Add those in and you’re at about 70,000 so why wouldn’t you want to help? I asked Murkowski’s office about it and was shocked at the response.

When this whole COVID-19 crisis started it was a no-brainer to me that you funnel cash into people’s pockets. We were going through a crisis that we haven’t seen in our lifetime and businesses were closing at an alarming rate. According to CNBC numbers, 58 percent of all retail businesses are permanently closed. Bars and nightclubs saw 54 percent of their businesses shutter for good. In Los Angeles 15,000 businesses shut down, New York saw 11,000 say goodbye for good and fired everyone. You don’t have to be genius to see the effects it’s had on a tourist state like Alaska. We’re at 8.1 percent unemployment as of November and we were up to over 12.4 in June of 2020. As I said, many on unemployment fell off the radar because they exhausted their benefits. I’d bet our numbers are more like 14 percent.

Yet, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Oz’s ‘Wicked Mitch of the East’ went out of his way to say, “The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money…” God forbid if the republicans gave a damn about anyone but their rich friends. 

What is he talking about, anyway? This is a senator, like Murkowski and Sullivan, who voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 where the richest made out like the kings that they are. Over two trillion dollars in tax breaks were given to those in the highest earning brackets. Corporations saw their taxes go from 35 percent to 21 percent but who cares as 75 percent of all U.S. corporations don’t pay any taxes anyway because they have addresses in other countries.

What a joke. Our U.S. Senate should have everyone carpooling in one of those clown cars where 100 people get out of a VW Bug with size 20 shoes and big red noses. At least they’d be admitting to who they truly are, and we’d all get a laugh out of the mess that they’ve created for us during a national emergency.

I asked Murkowski’s Press Secretary, Hannah Ray, if our U.S. Senator supported giving people an extra $1,400 in stimulus. Ray, who writes Murkowski’s opinions, wrote back, “Senator Murkowski worked to bring colleagues together around a bipartisan compromise to deliver targeted relief that successfully broke the partisan gridlock that had stifled progress in Washington for months. Senator Murkowski is concerned that ‘stimulus payments’ that are based on 2019 income levels are not targeted relief to those who have suffered the greatest impacts in 2020. As targeted relief, the package was never intended to be the last or final effort to address the health and economic fallout of the pandemic. She is willing to consider supporting additional payments, but as part of a serious relief package and not as political one-upsmanship.”

What is she talking about with stimulus payments based on 2019 income levels? We’re talking about giving people an extra $1,400 to live. The only way to stimulate the economy is to give people money to spend. I don’t care if they go buy a TV or if they buy food, spending money helps multiple private sectors and allows people to survive. 

Murkowski didn’t help break partisan gridlock. She was part of the cause by not standing up for Alaskans. How bad is our government when they let people become depressed or die because they don’t lend a helping hand during a national crisis? Is it just me or does it seem like people with money just don’t get it? Her comments are tone deaf and insensitive.

We have two problems in this country right now and one is invisible. The other is a U.S. Senate that stinks of hate for the middle class and those that are suffering. If Alaskans were drowning in the Turnagain Arm, ‘Lackadaisical Lisa’  would throw them an anchor with six $100 bills attached and tell them ‘good luck’ because that’s what she’s advocating for with her argument. 

If we don’t get our act together the U.S. will end up like other countries where you have two classes: the super-rich and the super-poor. Our Senate is starting to stretch that line as far as it can go without causing an outright revolt. Then again, maybe Murkowski has joined the McConnell tribe and simply doesn’t care anymore about the plight of those who are less fortunate. 

In the end, Murkowski, being a lawyer, should heed the words of former U.S. Supreme Justice Louis Brandeis when he said simply, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.”

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