Payroll Tax Holiday Doesn’t Solve the Problem, What We Need Is Paid Sick Leave

Payroll Tax Holiday Doesn’t Solve the Problem, What We Need Is Paid Sick Leave


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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George W Bush deserves the credit that, when confronted with his economic crisis, he was willing to throw away Republican orthodoxy in order to do anything–and everything–it took to save the country.

It’s a lesson that, no surprise, Donald Trump hasn’t learned.

Granted, the economic implication of the spread of the covid 19 coronavirus has not reached the meltdown level of the 2007-2008 crisis–yet. But we don’t want it to, either.

And Trump’s response, simply suggesting a payroll tax holiday, is inadequate.

It doesn’t touch enough Americans to fully do the job.

We need a policy which helps the working class on Main Street, according to California Democratic Congressman John Garamendi.

“A lot of the people are definitely not even working today or are working at a minimum wage. What they do need is paid sick leave. That’s extremely important,” he said. “And also we need to make sure that the small businesses that are not able to really afford a layoff at all and for the down side of this because it is the service economy, where most of those small businesses are, that are actually going to get whacked and they already are, so the small business thing is extremely important.”

Garamendi rightfully pointed out that big business already has gotten the help it needs to get through these times.

“We’re not here to bail out Wall Street. The big corporations got a huge bailout in the 2017 tax cut,” he said. “Right now they should be able to weather this storm.”

Daily Show host Trevor Noah put it another way: despite calls from the federal government for people to work from home, and for “social distancing” in order to try to contain the spread of the virus, there are entire workforces who can’t do that.

Cab drivers, Lyft and Uber drivers, people who work in food delivery and more. There is no working from home for these folks, and U.S. federal law currently does not guarantee sick leave. Fewer than 60 percent of blue-collar workers get paid time off.

Whether Trump and his allies truly care about the health and wellness of these populations isn’t even the point anymore.

Unless they relent, and get onboard with ideas to allow working class Americans stay home, the virus will move along unabated.

And, as we’ve been told, Republicans, Democrats and independents all can be infected equally.

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