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Another COVID relief package is needed

To the Editor:

President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Eisenhower’s successor, President John Kennedy, elucidated, “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

Such quotes magnify the urgency of the millions of Americans suffering, economically, due to the pernicious effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, regarded as the ‘Grim Reaper,’ needs to return to the negotiation table and help those struggling Americans help themselves.

During his 1961 Inaugural Address, JFK asserted, “We shall never negotiate out of fear; and we shall never fear to negotiate.”

According to a Brookings Institution report in February 2020, building wealth by Black Americans has been impeded by numerous structural and discriminatory practices that go back hundreds of years beginning with 246 years of chattel slavery. Additionally, let’s not forget about the 1921 massacre that destroyed numerous Black-owned businesses on the “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Black Codes during the Jim Crow Era and redlining were a few of many other racially discriminatory practices that hampered progress and handicapped numerous Black communities for too many decades.

As Representative Ayanna Pressley recently stated, an additional coronavirus relief package is needed for many reasons. Countless people will be evicted upon the expiration of the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.

Moreover, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program should be reinstated to assist those who often choose between heating and eating.

Additionally, student loan debt relief could be done by the stroke of the pen if a President Biden has the will. Student debt cancellation can boost GDP by up to $108 billion each year and create roughly 1.5 million jobs per year, according to the Action Network. In fact, those individuals who need the most relief are Black and Brown people, generally marginalized in society, who provided the margins of victory for Joe Biden in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and various other closely-contested areas around the country.

If Democrats secure a tie in the US Senate after the Georgia senatorial runoffs on January 5, 2021, President Biden will get a large portion of a progressive agenda passed. Otherwise, he will have to circumvent McConnell and resort to executive orders and trust that God will remove some of the obstructionists stifling meaningful progress in this country.

By the way, be advised that the aforesaid ‘progressive agenda’ was imposed upon Mr. Biden by Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other Progressives in the US Congress. Remember, elections have consequences!

Last, but not least, the USDA recently reported that more than 35 million people in the US struggled with hunger in 2019. In fact, according to Feeding America, 14.3 million American households were food insecure in 2018.   Further, racial disparities in healthcare and economic inequalities exacerbate and accentuate the effects of COVID-19 and demand amelioration and policy initiatives to close the wealth gap and work towards that ‘more perfect Union’ referenced in the Preamble of the US Constitution.

Keith W. Cooper

Greenville