Kenny Overstreet scrounges every penny—and even sells the eggs his chickens lay—to make ends meet after Packaging Corp. of America (PCA) furloughed him and hundreds of other workers at its Jackson, Ala., site.
Before the COVID-19 recession struck, the 61-year-old saved a little whenever he could for the retirement he planned to take in a couple of years.
But now, he scrimps to pay monthly bills and prays PCA calls him back to work before he blows through the nest egg he spent decades building.
Millions of unemployed workers need strong, rational leadership to guide them through these perilous times. But instead of a sage and ardent champion in the White House, they’re stuck with a president whose incompetence fueled the pandemic’s spread and hastened the economy’s collapse.
Donald Trump downplayed the coronavirus until it overwhelmed the country, failed to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to front-line workers and blustered as unemployment soared to the highest level since the Great Depression.
But it wasn’t enough for Trump to spectacularly fail at his job.
Trump tried to use the turmoil as cover for stealing Americans’ Social Security benefits and consigning millions of workers to retirements of grinding poverty.
What he called a stimulus program is really one of his biggest cons. He proposed deferring payroll taxes and eventually eliminating them under the guise of leaving a little more money in Americans’ paychecks.
Not only would that have provided no help to millions of unemployed workers like Overstreet, who don’t have paychecks right now, but payroll taxes are what the nation uses to fund Social Security and Medicare. Cutting them would advance the Republicans’ long-sought goal of eliminating the retirement safety net, forcing tens of millions of elderly and disabled retirees to scratch out a living on their own.
Workers love Social Security. Most happily pay into the system, considering it an investment in their future and that of their fellow Americans. Yet Republicans illogically denounce Social Security and Medicare as giveaways and repeatedly try to kill them.
That infuriates Overstreet, a member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9-361, who regards Social Security as a vital and hard-earned part of his retirement.More ...