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January 1, Middle America Turns on Social Distancing



This Day in History | 1947

Multimillionaire and financier Bernard Baruch gives a speech in South Carolina House and uses the term “Cold War” to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Good Morning Middle America. 

It looks like a lot of Americans are saying enough is enough and they are fighting back against their state and local governments. 

Also – some governments are staking out their own coronavirus pandemic strategies, with more aggressive plans to re-open the economy. Take South Carolina Governor Krisit Noem as a case in point. She’s resisted the advice from public health officials to issue a blanket shutdown. This, even after Sioux Falls suffered a super-spreader event at the Smithflied pork process. 

In Michigan, protestors marched against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s overbearing lockdown.

And in Kentucky, Governor Andy Bashear has to shout-down protesters chanting “we want work!”

We hear you. We know you can be safe AND follow the guidelines, while also finding a way to feed your families. Even if some of our “leaders” don’t think we can. 

It’s going to be a tense couple of weeks for small business owners hoping to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Plan. We are hearing that money for the program could run out as soon as today.  Banks have already dolled out $296 billion to help shore up the back bone of America’s economy. It’s clear now, that’s nowhere near enough. This, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is throwing rhetorical bombs about President Trump’s response to the pandemic (without out a hint of irony). Also Mitch McConnell is reading the Constitution to make sure he’s up to speed on the separation of powers and the limits of the executive branch. On Tuesday,  President Trump threatened Wednesday to apply a never-used provision of the US Constitution to allow himself to adjourn the US Congress and push through many of his nominees who typically require Senate confirmation. 

And from the WTF? file, California Governor Gavin Newsome wants to give out stimulus money to illegal immigrants. And by money, we mean cash money. So it would basically be untraceable. Much like the illegal immigrants themselves. While we understand your frustration, it is just another painful reminder of Congress’s multitude of failures when it comes to our broken immigration system. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

Crowds Gather Around the Country to Protest Social Distancing

(NY Magazine) – One month ago, President Trump stood in the White House press room and told Americans to stay home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. “Avoid gathering in groups of more than ten people. Avoid discretionary travel. And avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants, and public food courts,” Trump said, finally seeming to recognize the gravity of the global pandemic.

But now he seems ready for that to end. And he’s not the only one. Protesters around the country have started gathering, some in groups that defy social-distancing recommendations, to register their disapproval for the ongoing economic shutdown tied to the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, opponents of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order in Michigan held a car-bound protest dubbed “Operation Gridlock.” Organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, the protest saw the streets around the capitol in Lansing fill with vehicles. The traffic jam blocked at least one ambulance.

Read more here

Small Business Loans top $296 Billion and Could Reach the Program’s Limit by the End of Wednesday

(CNBC) – Much-needed small business aid is beginning to trickle out and more is expected in the weeks to come as banks start to disburse the rescue funds to Main Street. But the first-come, first-serve Payroll Protection Program of $349 billion in aid may be nearing a ceiling for loan commitments, with more than 1.3 million loans given approval at a value of more than $296 billion through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Small Business Administration.

The program could reach its funding limit by the end of Wendnesday, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The SBA and Treasury Department have yet to release any formal statistics on total loan disbursements from banks to small business owners, with one senior administration official telling CNBC the information is not yet available, despite multiple requests. The SBA did release data showing the average loan size is just under $240,000.

Find out more here

California to Give Immigrants Ineligible for Stimulus Money Cash Payments

(AP) — California will be the first state to give cash to immigrants living in the country illegally who are hurt by the coronavirus, offering $500 apiece to 150,000 adults who were left out of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress.

Many Americans began receiving $1,200 checks from the federal government this week, and others who are unemployed are getting an additional $600 a week from the government that has ordered them to stay home and disrupted what had been a roaring economy.

But people living in the country illegally are not eligible for any of that money, and advocates have been pushing for states to fill in the gap. Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would spend $75 million of taxpayer money to create a Disaster Relief Fund for immigrants living in the country illegally.

Learn more here

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