Nowadays, I hear employers talking about being unable to hire workers for the jobs they have. I am told that some people are not taking responsibility for their bills and rent, because the government’s stimulus package is providing extended unemployment and because renters believe their landlords are not able to evict them. I would rather not believe this is true.

When the pandemic hit the United States, people lost their jobs, making it difficult to pay rent and buy groceries. The economy of the country was in danger of tanking and something had to be done. The administration with the approval of the majority of voters decided to provide a stimulus for the economy by putting almost $2 trillion in the hands of lower-income families, state and local government agencies and small businesses.

The idea is to stimulate the economy by giving dollars to those in the most need to be spent on necessities, and those dollars will “trickle-up” to benefit the economy of the country. This is the opposite of past efforts to boost the economy by providing huge tax breaks to corporations with the expectation that the tax breaks will “trickle-down” to benefit everyone.

Whether the “trickle-up” or “trickle-down” method is used to stimulate the economy, neither plan can succeed without the cooperation of those who receive the boost. If the corporations use their tax cuts to benefit only their shareholders and their top management, the lower wage earners and the unemployed are no better off. Similarly, if the stimulus to benefit low-wage workers and the unemployed is not used to get jobs or to improve an opportunity to get better jobs, pay bills and rent, there will be no benefit to the economy.

The United States of America is a free country only as long as all of its citizens accept their responsibilities to make its systems work. This includes responsibility for our capitalistic economy, our systems of education and health care, and voting for and keeping in touch with those who operate our government. Abraham Lincoln said the U.S. is “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

President John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."

Freedom is not free. Let’s do our part.

Evelyn Swart


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