The government proposes to send checks of a thousand or more dollars directly to Americans, but the Treasury Secretary says this money will not go to millionaires. I assume that if he is true to “conservative” Republican principles, those rich people will get a tax break instead.

          I have heard often of the “undeserving poor,” but never of the “undeserving rich.” Are you like me and think that that second category is quite large?

          Republicans seemed to be hoping that Bernie Sanders would be the Democratic nominee so that they could run against “socialism,” even though Sanders refers to himself as a Democratic Socialist. I have been thinking about socialism as the government gets nearer to a bailout of corporations because of the present economic collapse. The words of Edward E. Baptist in The Half Has Never Been told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism have come to mind: “Privatizing the gains of investment; socializing the risk. This is a classic strategy for politically powerful entrepreneurs.” Socializing the risk does sound like socialism, but that does not mean that even if we see the corporate economic aid for what it is that we should not have it. Instead, we should ask if a bailout is good for society. If it is, then we should do it. I thought something similar when a while back I heard a panel on a news network discussing whether healthcare is a right. This was not the correct question. Instead, we should ask: Is universal healthcare good for society?

          On a recent trip, a fellow traveler to Sicily, who was my age, had come from Germany to the United States as a child when his father accepted a job with a brewery in Tampa, Florida. He said that it had been hard to leave his friends, but America was then very exciting, and, of course, it was the setting for the western stories he loved of Karl May (you can look him up) and for the American cowboy movies and TV shows he watched. He said that many Europeans view the United States differently today than they did back then and had no desire now to move to America. They do not want to live without universal healthcare; have expensive “public” colleges and universities and other “public” education that is supported with bake sales; and do not want to live where the middle class is shrinking.

          The government’s efforts to soften the economic decline will increase the already burgeoning federal deficit, which, of course, increased because of the “conservative” tax cuts a few years ago. (Prediction: “Conservatives” will care about the deficit when, and only when, a Democrat becomes President.) Buried in Trump’s last budget sent to Congress was the assertion that our deficits may be unsustainable; that by 2024 interest payments may be higher than defense spending; and that even now interest payments are higher than Medicaid spending. A goodly portion of my taxes, then, go not to the federal government but to interest payments. My money is being transferred to individuals, non-government entities, or other government who had the wherewithal to lend the government money. These are not the down and out. Surely, those lenders are wealthier than I am. Aren’t the interest payments, then, a form of wealth redistribution where the government funnels money from the less wealthy to the very wealthy?

          “Every evil, harm, and suffering in this life or in the next comes from the love of riches.” St. Catherine of Siena.

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