Viewpoints: Pros, Cons Of Trump’s Relief Orders; Lessons On Virus Myths, College Football’s Season
Editorial pages focus on these public health issues and others.
People Need Help More Than Ever, Not A Reduction In Benefits
At a time when our country is facing one of the worst financial downturns in a century, with millions of people out of work and unable to find new employment, leaders in the U.S. Senate have engaged in denial, delay and dithering, finally proposing legislation that can only be described as woefully inadequate to meet the economic challenges this crisis presents.The “HEALS Act” falls far short of its goal to support those who need the most help. It fails people who have lost jobs, many of whom were already struggling before the pandemic, and it fails our community. The bill proposes to slash the enhanced unemployment benefit from $600 per week to $200, and only continue that enhancement until September. After that, the bill would provide 70% of a worker’s pre-COVID-19 income. Rather than the healing the title implies, this bill would do more harm than good. (Gordon McHenry Jr., 8/10)
Which Parts Of Trump’s Covid Relief Executive Order Are Legal?
Under the Constitution, only Congress can initiate new spending. The president may only spend money that has already been appropriated. He’s supposed to spend it on the purpose for which Congress appropriated it in the first place; but in real life, he has pretty wide discretion to say whether a given expenditure fits under a given appropriation. This is the reason Trump’s proposed supplemental unemployment benefit of $400 may not last long, if it goes into effect at all. Congress hasn’t allocated any new money (yet) for a new benefit. So Trump can only spend money already appropriated for other, related purposes in FEMA emergency funds. He can’t overspend the existing appropriation. (He may be gambling that if he uses up money that’s supposed to be spent on hurricanes and other natural disasters, Congress will hurry up and appropriate more money.) (Noah Feldman, 8/10)
Trump's Big Win On Relief Orders – Here's Why Pelosi, Schumer Are So Unhappy
Instead of compromising on legislation that would immediately help Americans pummeled by the coronavirus, Pelosi and Schumer prioritized issues that had nothing to do with the well-being of the nation. They pressed instead to ban ID requirements and signature verification for voters – measures that, as the president noted, would encourage increased fraud in our elections, and that Republicans would never accept. Mainly, Pelosi and Schumer stonewalled because they want to torpedo the U.S. economy. Democrats know that creating jobs is Trump’s signature achievement, and also the most important issue to voters. By blocking the next round of stimulus, they intentionally undermined the financial security of tens of millions of Americans. (Liz Peek, 8/10)
Let Our Values Drive COVID-19 Liability Protection
As negotiations around a fifth coronavirus relief package stalled last week, President Trump signaled that he would follow through with executive powers if Congress couldn’t agree to a bipartisan solution. Millions of unemployed or furloughed Americans are now left hanging in the balance, confused by the debate over the president’s executive order, and anxious about the possibility that relief may not come soon. (Chris Jahn, 8/10)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Mr. Fix-It. Not.
As is his habit, President Donald Trump has made a bad situation exponentially worse. With Congress unable to agree on a new pandemic relief package, Trump has issued four executive orders to provide that package. But the orders are a confusing, constitutionally questionable mess, providing inadequate unemployment benefits, making some but possibly not all states pay a portion of it (a sure sign that he plans to once again sock it to Democratic governors), while forcing a payroll tax cut that neither party wants and that could endanger Social Security.Worst of all, the orders give Congress an excuse to stop working toward a real solution, which is the worst thing that could happen right now. (8/10)
Biden Proves That Ducey Has Gone ‘Noseblind’ To Trump
Last week Gov. Doug Ducey was called to Washington, D.C., to participate in a dog and pony show with President Donald Trump. The idea was to make it look like Trump and Ducey have done a great job dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.In other words, just the opposite of what actually has occurred. Trump said Ducey has done an “incredible job” and a “fantastic job.” Except that in Arizona we know Ducey was too slow in ordering his stay at home order. He was too fast in opening up the state. And because of these two things, Arizona became one of the worse COVID-19 hotspots in the world. (EJ Montini, 8/10)
The Wall Street Journal:
Untangling The Media Myths Of Covid-19
Has there been in recent history a more tendentious, hysterical, data-denying and frankly disreputable exercise in misdirection than the way in which much of America’s media has covered the Covid-19 epidemic? Perhaps we can forgive them the endless repetition of pandemic porn; the selectively culled stories of tragedy about otherwise completely healthy young people succumbing to the virus. While we know that the chances of someone under 30 being killed by Covid are very slim, we know too that news judgments have always favored the exceptional and horrific over the routine and unremarkable. (Gerald Baker, 8/10)
College Football Leaders Getting It All Wrong With Season On The Brink
If any other multi-billion dollar business in America were run as poorly college sports, it would be ripe for a hostile takeover. If any other company’s leadership was as divided, absent and frozen in the face of big decisions as what we’ve seen over the past few days in in college football, its stock price would’ve sunk so low it would be in danger of getting tossed from the NASDAQ. Monday’s series of confidence-shattering crises has left college football looking like a squabbling royal family trying to heal its wounds and missteps by inserting pick axes into each other’s necks while millions of people pick sides and root for busted arteries. And that was before the politicians started getting involved. (Dan Wolken, 8/10)
Big Sky Conference Did The Right Thing
The Big Sky Conference made a wrenching decision last week. With the clock running out, in a very tough situation, it took a time out. Great call. The decision not to play football this fall is unprecedented and will not be popular with many. We believe it is courageous and correct. (8/10)