The “skinny” Covid-19 relief package being promoted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is woefully inadequate and is too small to address the needs of our country. The bill doesn’t include a new round of stimulus checks to Americans, nor does it provide much-needed aid for state and local governments that are facing massive budget gaps. It also reduces previous unemployment benefits by half – from $600 to $300. Sharon Parrott of the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities explains the level of hardships that Americans are still facing:
Some 29 million adults reported that their household didn’t get enough to eat, and nearly 15 million adults reported being behind on rent, according to the most recent Census Household Pulse Survey data available (for the week ending July 21). Some 19 million children — fully 1 in 4 — lived in a household in which people weren’t getting enough to eat, that was behind on the rent or mortgage, or both, based on survey data collected from June 18 to July 21.
Laptop shortages cripple virtual learning
The difficult task of distance learning becomes nearly impossible without essential tools like a laptop. Schools across Louisiana are having a hard time getting their hands on enough devices for students who need them to learn remotely. Nola.com | The Baton Rouge Advocate’s Will Sentell reports that the problem lies with manufacturers.
“Those manufacturers and their suppliers, I am assuming they are just overwhelmed by the quantity of orders they received,” (state Education Superintendent Cade) Brumley said. “We have systems that placed orders in the spring and those devices aren’t in. It is certainly not neglect on those school systems because they placed those orders in March and April.”
Relocating the virus
Coronavirus infection rates have spiked on college campuses as students returned for the fall semester.. Schools’ respondes have have found that the best solution is to send a student home once they test positive for the virus.However, the federal government’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has criticized this strategy. David Leonhardt with the New York Times has more:
These decisions to scatter students — rather than quarantine them on campus — have led to widespread criticism. “It’s the worst thing you could do,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious-disease expert, said on NBC. “When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.”
New Orleans needs additional census reports
A weekend court ruling in California may have just helped turn things around Census advocates in New Orleans. The Urban League, along with numerous other organizations, filed a motion in August to stop the U.S. Census Bureau from ending the count earlier than it had been previously reported. The early end would make it harder to count people of color, immigrants and historically undercounted groups such as children and result in under-served communities losing access to millions of dollars that are distributed based upon Census data. Will Sutton of Nola.com | The Advocate has more on how the city of New Orleans has ramped it up to get more residents to complete the census, but how more is needed:
In any given week, one council district might lead another, but none of these numbers are good. Orleans Parish could lose important services provided to agencies and the city based on census data because we won’t show enough residents. Of the 64 parishes in the state, Orleans is No. 25 with a 56.7% self-response rate.
Today is National Census Day. If you have not done so, please click here to complete the U.S. Census.
LBP is excited to sponsor a national screening event for the new documentary film: WAGING CHANGE. The FREE Virtual Screening + Live Panel Discussion will occur on Thursday, Sept. 10 from 6-8 pm CST. Watch the trailer & RSVP here.
WAGING CHANGE shines a light on an American struggle hidden in plain sight: the women-led movement to end the federal tipped minimum wage for restaurant workers. It weaves together the stories of workers struggling to make ends meet with the efforts of Saru Jayaraman and others at One Fair Wage. Together they face off against the powerful National Restaurant Association lobby and fight for one fair wage.
Number of the Day
8.4% – The rise in Medicaid enrollment from February to July as millions of Americans lost their jobs or experienced sharp income losses due to the recession. (Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)