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Trump threatens to hold state virus relief funding hostage unless he gets tax cuts for wealthy

Trump threatens to hold state virus relief funding hostage unless he gets tax cuts for wealthy

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On Tuesday, President Trump appeared to openly consider various things he could blackmail state governments into giving him in exchange for desperately needed budget relief for states hit hard by the ravages of coronavirus.

The pandemic is projected to blow a half-trillion-dollar hole in the budgets of America’s 50 states. If the states are not bailed out, the shortfall is likely to trigger crushing austerity, massive job losses, and an abrupt end to critical public services that could push our economy into years of recession or even a great depression to rival the 1929 crash.

Add your name to reject Trump & Republicans’ vile idea of sacrificing seniors’ lives to save the stock market!

But, as heartless sociopaths are wont to do, Trump and his cronies see this as an opportunity for some good old shock doctrine — exploiting a crisis in order to force through a right-wing political agenda. That much was made obvious when the president rolled out a Republican wish list of unrelated concessions that he’s considering demanding in order to stave off mass layoffs and abrupt shuttering of public services that would surely follow state budget crises:

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The two big ones here are the Republican Party’s bread and butter: tax cuts and racism. Eliminating sanctuary cities would expose millions of undocumented workers to arrest, incarceration and deportation while eliminating the capital gains tax would funnel even more money into the pockets of the ultrawealthy — and explode the deficit even further.

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Trump’s assertion that only blue states are “poorly run” and facing budget problems is ridiculous; the fact of the matter is that all kinds of states are facing severe budget shortfalls. While blue states like New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island face huge shortfalls due to lack of tax revenue and spending on healthcare supplies, red states like Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, and Louisiana are facing huge budget shortfalls due to the collapse of the fossil fuel industry and the bottom-barrel price of oil.

It is beyond appalling for Trump and his cronies to try to use this crisis as an excuse to cut their taxes or implement white supremacist policies, but it’s par for the course for an administration that has shown nothing but malicious neglect and astonishing incompetence at every turn.

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