From Civic Action <[email protected]>
Subject It's all just "a shit sandwich"
Date May 21, 2020 9:44 PM
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John, it is not an exaggeration to say that trickle-downers have been fighting a decades-long war against unemployment benefits and other social safety net programs. There's no better example of this than in GOP-run Florida, where former Governor Rick Scott appointed lieutenants to intentionally make it harder to access unemployment insurance.

After the coronavirus pandemic tanked Florida's economy, one adviser to current Governor Ron DeSantis described Florida's broken, unresponsive unemployment system as "a shit sandwich, and it was designed that way." It appears the system is working as Republicans designed it to: Even before COVID-19, only 19% of Florida's unemployed people were actually receiving unemployment benefits.

No state is as bad as Florida in this regard, but the country as a whole isn't doing much better. In March, for example, only 29% of jobless Americans received benefits. During a pandemic where more than 36 million people have filed unemployment claims and millions are relying on other social safety net programs, the dysfunctions of our social systems will cause untold harm to vulnerable people, their communities, and the broader economic recovery. This isn't an accident - it's the foreseeable result of craven trickle-down policies.

With tens of millions of Americans out of work, public benefits like unemployment are all that's keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads. This isn't just about morality, when everyday people can't afford basic necessities, economic recovery grinds to a halt.

Though we were glad to see Congress increase unemployment benefits, we know this extra funding won't do much good if we don't create an adequate system for processing and disbursing those much-needed benefits.

That's why today, we need your help to demand Congress not only fight for more unemployment benefits but also increase funding for the agencies that administer our social safety net. Click here to demand your elected officials take this critical step right now!

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For 40 years, Republicans have preached the trickle-down gospel, which argues that poor people are to blame for being poor. Look no further than the shameful, racist "welfare queens" stereotype that proliferated during the Reagan and Bush administrations.

They've used this gospel to justify slashing funding for social programs under the guise of "austerity," "efficiency," and "eliminating fraud" - despite providing no real proof that cutting social program funding achieves any of their aims, or that there is any widespread fraud within the programs. What their actions have achieved, however, is making our social safety net much less effective.

As this crisis overwhelms critical agencies, those who need help the most are relegated to waiting hours, days, or even weeks on a broken system that's understaffed, underfunded, and deliberately spread too thin to quickly address the needs of millions.

Unemployment and other social programs are the only things standing between the 36 million Americans who have lost their jobs over the last month and a half and total destitution. It would be nearly pointless to fund these critical programs without easing the difficulty of accessing them. That's why we're calling on you to take action to ensure the tens of millions of Americans out of jobs can keep food on their tables and a roof over their head. Please, will you click here to demand your elected officials take action to fight for more unemployment benefits AND to increase funding to the agencies that administer our social safety net?

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Contacting your elected officials is the best way we can make our voices heard and make sure they're fighting for the people of this country and not ultra-wealthy special interests.

Thanks for joining this important fight,

Paul Constant
Civic Action

Hey, while you're here: At Civic Action we're trying to buck the status quo and expand the middle class through activism and education. We're not afraid of making a little trouble, but we can't do it without your help. Will you pitch in to support our efforts? We promise to put every penny toward ending the neoliberal stranglehold on our economic and political system. Pitch in now:

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