To the Editor:
We are now over three months into a pandemic that has led to a health and financial crisis not seen in many generations. June is here, which means another round of rent and mortgage payments are due for millions of Americans. Small business owners are scrambling to stay afloat, and financial anxiety will have its new cycle as bills come in and remain unpaid. Together, we find ourselves in an extremely fragile and desperate state. The people’s trust in the federal government is at an abysmal 17% according to a recent New York Times article, and something must be done to restore that.
The one-time $1,200 stimulus payments sent out by the government were not enough, Many members of our community are going through this pandemic without substantial financial security and it is costing this country more lives and economic loss than is necessary. Over 38 million people are unemployed, with our State Department of Unemployment's call-centers, online systems, and food pantries maxed out.
This is now an existential crisis and something must be done to offer immediate and ongoing support that will protect the American people from a job market and economy that is in free-fall. Pushing 38 million of us to our State's unemployment systems has been a failure. It's not enough, and anyone with an issue collecting their benefits (like myself) can't get through their overloaded systems. Economic hardships are only exacerbating the other issues that have been tearing our country apart. George Floyd was arrested for trying to use what was allegedly a fake $20 bill. Our country is disintegrating before our eyes and now is not the time for worrying about who is qualified for help and who is not. Many of those over 38 million jobs will not be coming back anytime soon. Ordinary people need help now, and if they don't they can use their extra money to support others in their community or to stimulate our sagging economy by spending it or actually creating some jobs.
I am grateful to U.S. Senators Harris, Sanders, Gillibrand, and Markey, co-sponsors of Senate Bill S.3784, the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. I urge our New Jersey elected Representatives in Congress to join them and support this bill that will provide the American people with the main thing that will help them now and which was not included in the HEROES Act: ongoing, monthly payments to the people for the duration of this crisis.
Beyond that, I urge voters to ask ALL of this year's candidates for ALL levels of government where they stand on cash relief to the people. Putting money into our hands is clearly the right thing to do. Our Municipal, County and State officials are the eyes and ears of our Federal elected officials. If those local officials do not support cash relief it makes it far more likely that our Representatives and Senators will not. Let's figure out who really represents us in office and get behind them. Fortunately, we in New Jersey now have candidates we can support like Russ Cirincione who is running for Congress against 30-year incumbent Frank Pallone in NJ-6. We also have local elected officials like Councilman Robert Mathieu, 5th Ward of Roselle Park, NJ who have come out in favor of recurring cash relief.
The vast majority of Americans know that recurring cash relief is the right thing to do. If elected officials and candidates don't support cash relief, they need to go. We need to put political pressure on ANYONE who is running for elected office so that if they are against cash relief, they lose.