top of page


October 18, 2020

Now Nancy (everyone knows who I mean) has set a deadline: the stalled economic stimulus talks between the House and Senate have to resume within the next 48 hours. Or else.

No one wants to find out what "or else" means to this feisty warrior, mother of five, grandmother of nine, whose scolding of Trump in front of his sheepish Cabinet went viral last year.

Photo: Shealah Craighead

But the truth is that, Democrats' strenuous efforts notwithstanding, no one so far has been able to overcome the boulder Mitch McConnell rolled across the road last spring when he decided "we have already done enough" for the people of the United States, who have been positioned by a calculating and conscience-free Senate to carry the brunt of the hardship in this pandemic.

Stephanie and I are among that 6 million.

In August, I had a conversation with our home lender that left me feeling clammy with apprehension, as well as hot with fury. The person in charge of our account had called to ask us whether we would resume making mortgage payments, even though our situation (at least 1/3 of our income lost) had not changed. Nor had a cure for the virus been found, I made sure to point out.

"Why would we start paying again when the situation that caused us to stop paying is still happening?" I asked.

From where I stand, it looks like mortgage lenders, banks and other financial institutions should be taking on some of the economic burden in the U.S. And I mean gladly. They were among the beneficiaries of the brutal Trump tax cuts (brutal for ordinary people, I mean). Giants like Black Rock investing even got a huge chunk of the "relief aid" Congress has been doling out — much of it going to those who need it least: corporations, celebrities, and the Trump family.

Photo: Vince Fleming, Unsplash

Although an overseeing body was assigned to the CARES Act early this spring, the crooked Trump administration quickly slithered out from under it. And there has been no independent oversight since.

Nor have the people been told where all the money went.

I do know that I, personally, am still waiting for the Small Business Administration to send me a check. I applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan this spring, was turned down in June, and submitted an appeal in July. The process was rather complex, involving a lot of paperwork. I made sure to detail every business expenditure we'd made since March and submit proof of last year's income, to the exact dollar. I was then informed by phone and in writing that I would be receiving several thousand dollars, since I met the requirement of lost income due to the pandemic.

At the end of August, I contacted the SBA again and was told my file was missing a 4506-T form. So I wasted 6 weeks of waiting, not knowing my paperwork was incomplete. This would set my case back another 45 days, they said.

More than 45 days have now passed. Stephanie and I have been paying 24 people in this country and overseas for work they do for us. Some are occasional payments, some are regular. Our intention was to not let anyone go, since they are also struggling in this downturn, and so far we've been able to honor our commitments. But we've experienced the shame and frustration of having to pay late, and of being asked to pay more than we could afford or originally agreed to. To me it feels like we, the people, are down here scrambling for crumbs and lashing out at each other because the sums we were able to scrape up at short notice are not sufficient for the magnitude of this crisis or how long it's continuing.

We are now paying our contractors out of our household money. We've cut our own expenses back considerably and so far we're holding on, but yes, we're getting more and more tense. And yes, we also remind ourselves a lot that we're lucky: we have a home, we have food, much of our income is still coming in, and we aren't sick.

I think it's great that landlords were constrained from evicting tenants during this time (though having been a landlord myself, I know this has to be a hardship for many of them, too). I appreciate the fact that here in New Jersey, and in many other states, too, homeowners have been allowed to suspend their mortgage payments during this crisis.

Photo: Scott Webb for Pexels

But I'm angry that the bank calls and shakes us down, when We, the People, are in worse shape than they are. I want to know why more of those who benefited from the Trump Big Business largesse, not to mention those who were also bailed out in 2008, aren't asking what they can do to help us right now. (A question I posed to the guy on the phone, by the way. Who didn't want to discuss that.)

I'm angry, too, that the terms of our mortgage forbearance are mushy in this state. Sorry, Governor Murphy, I think you've done a great job overall, but your Wall Street roots are showing. Why have mortgage lenders been given the leeway to not quite assure us our missed payments would be attached to the end of our loans? "They probably will be," the guy I talked to in August said. "We're pretty sure they will be."

"But not totally sure?" I pressed. "Because I don't want to be told next month that we owe these missed payments now, or we'll go into foreclosure. No one has been clear with us. You won't come right out and say 'don't worry, you don't have to repay the forbearance until the end of your loan period.' Is that true?"

"I don't think that will happen," he said.

I asked for that promise in writing. He said he'd personally send us a letter by the end of the month.

It still hasn't arrived.

Why is it that ordinary people, who not only didn't cause this catastrophe but have been abandoned during it by the federal government, are having to sweat all this out? Why have state governors who are former Goldman Sachs employees, ahem (Phil Murphy) been given the power to hold homelessness over our heads?

Why are We, the People, caught between an economic rock and hard place as we cope with our anxiety, try not to get sick, watch our government go up in flames?

Just yesterday Mitch McConnell announced that next week Senate Republicans will "break the logjam" they created, but which he's blaming on Democrats.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, financially well-situated himself, is responsible for the. halt in relief aid to the American people. Every GOP Senator who has supported him in 2020 shares that blame as well.

In fact, the HEROES Act was passed by the House waaaaaay back in May. May! And we have been teased with the prospect of more aid ever since. Talks will resume. No, they won't. Oops, the Senate is on recess. Maybe in the fall.

Even now, with more new cases of COVID-19 being recorded daily — on Friday, a horrifying 69,000 nationwide -- it's still party first for Mitch. And for all of those who follow him — criminals, in this time. We will not forget.

I don't blame the U.S. for not being able to keep coronavirus out of our country. But I blame it bitterly for not helping us, with our own tax dollars, now that we need it.

You heard, right, that the Trumps got somewhere in the neighborhood of $21 million?

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page