If there’s one thing our Congress loves to do and does well, it’s to take its time.
If there’s one thing Trump loves to do and does well, it’s to sign his name.
Those two things have now come together in a confluence of partisan politics and massive ego, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
A bill to give emergency relief to Americans suffering from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic was introduced in the House on January 24, 2020.
It was called the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act,” acronym “CARES Act,” because we don’t want Trump to have to memorize the title of a bill with more than three words in it.
But even with that nifty acronym, Congress pissed away two months going back and forth and forth and back before the CARES Act was ready for Trump’s signature.
Relief to Americans was delayed for more than two months before Trump, surrounded by his toadies for this photo op, could reach for his reliable black Sharpie to sign the CARES Act on March 27, 2020:
“Help is on the way!” Trump and the politicians crowed, and while the money has finally begun appearing for some via direct deposit, it won’t be until the week of May 4 that the mailing of 70 million paper checks begins.
That’s right – not until the week of May 4, according to numerous online sources including this one:
And from another source, quoting a memo from the House Ways and Means Committee regarding paper checks:
“The checks will be issued starting with the lowest-income people, and they will be issued at a rate of about five million checks per week. It could take up to 20 weeks for all of the checks to be issued, according to the memo.”
That means many Americans won’t receive relief checks until September.
Trump loves signing his name so much that he then came up with an idea that ONLY his monumental ego could, or would, have.
According to an article in the April 14 Washington Post:
“Trump had privately suggested to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, to allow the president to formally sign the checks, according to three administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.”
What a great idea!
Trump wanted to “formally sign the checks,” which requires:
- Trump must be in the Oval Office, appropriately made up, coiffed, and dressed, including his overhang tie.
- Trump must be surrounded by toadies (as in above photo) and media.
- Trump must have supply of black Sharpies nearby.
- Trump must secure Sharpie, sign, then hold up signed check, posing for photographers.
- Trump must hand Sharpie to toady (right).
- Toadies must applaud.
Just think – if Trump was busy doing this five million times a week until September, he might not have time to do this:
Or say things like this, as he did at his April 13 coronavirus briefing:
- “When somebody’s the President of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be.”
- “The authority of the President of the United States having to do with the subject we’re talking about is total.”
- “They [local governments] can’t do anything without the approval of the President of the United States.”
But then somebody at the IRS remembered that Trump is not authorized to sign these checks. Mnuchin oversees the IRS, and he’s such a total toady that we know for sure it wasn’t him.
But someone did, so Trump and toadies came up with the next best thing:
His signature will be printed the left side of the 70 million paper checks (pictured).
Never mind that the IRS’s information technology team, working from home, now must race to implement this programming change, revise computer code, and test the system.
Never mind that this last-minute request will create a downstream snarl that will result in even more delay in issuing the paper checks.
Never mind that following the Nixon era, “Congress enacted laws to ensure that the agency [IRS] conducts itself apolitically,” said the Post article.
Never mind that is move reeks of partisanship.
Never mind that your tax dollars are paying for government resources that could be put to a much more important purpose than pandering to the monstrous-ego-driven, “the-pandemic-is-all-about-me,” “total-authority” Trump.
So, for those of you who receive the much-delayed relief money by direct deposit, and thus will not see the paper checks…
Here’s a close-up sneak preview of what will appear on those paper checks: