Veteran teacher Arthur Goldstein fears that Republican Senator Mitch McConnell will use his power to destroy public services in New York and other states whose revenues have been devastated by the pandemic.

He writes:

If we want to continue to get care when we’re sick, give our children education, and have police and firefighters to protect us, we’re going to need a federal bailout that devotes real money to real people, as opposed to corporations. It seems like common sense, but common sense seems to be the least common of all the senses.

In NYC, where I work, it took decades to recover from the teacher shortage that followed 1975 layoffs. Students sat in classes of 50 or more. We now know that class size is not merely an educational priority, but also a health priority. Can you imagine trying to social distance 50 students in a classroom?

Not everyone considers that worth worrying about. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, we may or may not get federal aid for actual working people in states and communities. Evidently, before we consider such frivolities, we need to protect businesses that compel people to work in an epidemic. Perish forbid, says McConnell, they should be held responsible when their employees get sick or die. This notwithstanding, Americans who worked their whole lives in expectation of a pension are not a priority for McConnell. This is a curious value.

I’m not at all sure why business takes priority over people. We’ve bailed out big airlines and big hotels. Evidently McConnell and his BFFs need to travel and stay somewhere, and roadside inns just won’t do. Even as tens of millions of Americans find themselves newly without jobs or health insurance, we’ve made sure Wall St. didn’t feel too much pain.

McConnell himself need not worry. Aside from whatever money he’s accrued during his Senate career, he’ll be getting a fixed pension of $139,200 a year, courtesy of US taxpayers. .I’ve yet to hear him say that Congressional pensions ought to be cut or rescinded, despite massive red ink in the federal budget. So why, then, is he so hard on states having trouble meeting their obligations?

The answer, of course, is that these states are blue states. The GOP Senate appears to believe states that didn’t vote for them don’t deserve to be helped. Therefore it’s okay for them to go bankrupt. Then they won’t have to bother with unimportant things like paying pensions or providing health service for unimportant people who don’t add value to Wall St. We’re talking about, teachers, cops, firefighters, nurses, among others who seem to matter not at all to McConnell.

But if Congress refuses to help states, it will harm ALL states, not just blue states. It will even hurt Kentucky, McConnell’s home state. Teachers, police, fire fighters, all public sector workers will be harmed.

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