Written by Perry Hazeltine, Lancaster City. This piece was first published on March 28, 2021 in LancasterOnline/LNP. Reprinted here with permission from the author.
I am grateful to Senator Bob Casey for his leadership in the passing of the American Rescue Plan. We’ve had enough bailouts for banks, automakers, and the airlines—finally, a bailout for people. It’s a shame that Senator Toomey and Representative Smucker didn’t join Senator Casey. I think that they downplay the economic impact of the pandemic on the average working family. For example, in a March 19, 2021, LNP article, staff writer Tim Mekeel reported that when compared to January of 2020, Lancaster County had 13,400 fewer residents with jobs in January of this year.
Here are just a few ways that the rescue plan relieves economic hardships. It puts money in the hands of people who need it at the same time the economy needs for them to spend it. It puts money in the hands of landlords on behalf of their tenants who are unable to pay. Many landlords are mom-and-pop businesses that rely on rent payments for their mortgages. The renter assistance program keeps families and landlords off the street.
It’s not perfect. Progressives fought for a $15-dollar minimum wage and lost. Conservatives feel it comes too soon after the last stimulus bill. In my mind, legislation that supports working families who lost work due to a historic pandemic, rescues small businesses, and stimulates the economy as a whole is about as good as it gets. Besides, it’s refreshing to see something get done in Washington for a change.
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