“Hey David. Your column about politicians not respecting small business blamed both Republicans and Democrats for the delay in passing another COVID-19 relief package.
“It’s the Democrats who are to blame because they insisted on big bailouts for blue states. It’s been all over the news – don’t you follow the news? R.”
R., there is an old school newspaper saying – If your mother says she loves you, better check it out first. Meaning, don’t believe what you hear and do the proper homework.
The Republicans have held up a new, large round of relief because they say the federal government should not bail out poorly managed Democrat cities and irresponsible Democrat states. I think most Americans would agree.
What the Democrats initially proposed was almost $1 trillion to state and local governments. Money could have been spent for any purpose, including to replace lost revenues. I think most Americans would agree that sounds like pretty loose rules.
R., I dug in deeper. Did Nancy Pelosi arrange this bailout funding for just blue states? If so, how did she do it?
Here’s what I was surprised to learn: It was actually a red state bailout, not a blue state bailout.
In their original proposal this summer, the Democrats proposed four ways that state and city funding would be allocated. The same amount to each state (20%), to state by population (30%), to state by number of COVID-19 cases (10%) and by unemployment in each state (40%).
The average state bailout was $2,010 per person in each state.
A reliably blue state like California would get $1,867 per person in aid under the Democrats’ plan. Reliably red Kansas would get $2,442, Republican states like North Dakota would get $4,315 per person and South Dakota would get $3,887.
R., the data is pretty clear. Democrats allocated 20% of the overall money to be the same money to each state, regardless of population. This means smaller states in the center of the country, red states, received a larger bailout under the Democrat’s plan than “mismanaged coastal elite” blue states.
I understand why many Floridians could be confused. Florida’s two senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, said over and over again that Nancy Pelosi was proposing a blue state bailout. Yet, the Democrat proposal this summer was for reliably Republican states to get the most money on a per person basis. What our two senators told the people of Florida just was not true.
Almost all of us understand both red states and blue states are in trouble and could use a hand up.
The Wall Street Journal said U.S. states are facing the biggest cash crunch since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Moody’s says the three biggest states facing shortfalls are Florida, Louisiana and Nevada – hardly radical leftist states. Moody’s says six of the top seven states with the biggest revenue shortfall over the next two years are reliably Republican states.
Florida cities are also in trouble and could use help from our two U.S. senators – but got the back of the hand instead.
On July 30, 150 Florida mayors wrote a letter to Senators Rubio and Scott. Their letter says, “We need Congress to pass dedicated and flexible funding for cities in the next stimulus package.”
Florida mayors who asked for federal assistance included the mayors of Avon Park, Bartow, Eustis, Fort Meade, Haines City, Lake Placid, Lake Wales, Sebring and Winter Haven. There’s not one radical leftist among them.
R., I believed, perhaps like you, that there was a blue state bailout. It was actually more of a red state bailout.
In Tampa, 22% fewer businesses are open today than in January. There are 23% fewer businesses open in Miami. There are 18% fewer business open in Jacksonville. Is now really the time for Rubio and Scott to continue to put party and politics ahead of the public?
And to my Democrat readers, Nancy Pelosi could have compromised more during the discussions with Trump’s team, and a deal would have gotten done in July at a much higher level of stimulus than is now being discussed. She didn’t, and America has suffered. That’s pathetic.
R., during the worst pandemic in 100 years and the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, in typical fashion, both Republicans and Democrats put power and party ahead of the American people.
If your senator says he loves you, better check it out first.
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David Dunn-Rankin is CEO of D-R Media, which owns the Highlands News-Sun and the Highlands Sun, as well as newspapers in Lake, Polk and Sumter counties. He can be reached at David@D-R.Media .