Government

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Tells Unemployed Workers, “Back to Work!”

When 24 Republican Governors Chose to Play Politics Over Serving Workers, Eric Holcomb Jumped On Board

It’s really not surprising that Republican Governor Eric Holcomb decided to abandon workers when his cohorts were doing the same across the country. It makes great political points with his rabid base in the State of Indiana — Trump Country. You’d at least expect the next layer of support, the free press, to step in and support the impoverished. Nope, not going to happen there either. I thought maybe NPR would step up on this scenario or the POTUS or our Congress who voted on the Cares or American Rescue Plan Acts. None of the above. I just got an email from NPR with their article about the 25 Republican Governors stiffing it to the 4 million unemployed workers, and all they could do was provide some hard luck stories to make you feel bad for the impoverished. “Well, I guess they’ll just have to accept their fate — tough shit to you, old chap!”

What’s interesting about accepting your fate in this country used to be about people helping other people. Now it’s not. Last year’s hero essential workers are this year’s lazy. Never mind the health issues, or the coronavirus issues, or childcare issues, or the impoverished wages, we are going to strip you from your lifeline so the poverty exploiters can feed on you. It’s pulling yourself up by the bootstraps rugged free market capitalism for you.

Meanwhile, before the healthcare industry even began working on a remedy for the virus, the United States Government came together in record speed to find and pass billions of dollars to give to pharmaceutical companies so they could manufacture a remedy for the virus. Not only that, before the pharmaceutical companies would agree to proceed, they required that the federal government would allow them to set the price for the vaccine, and the government would pay for it. Furthermore, the same pharmaceutical companies wanted a patent on the drugs they delivered to the people paid for by the people.

This hypocrisy plays out over and over again in our society. One more example, the American Rescue Plan, which extended unemployment benefits until Labor Day, was voted against by ALL Republicans representing the great state of Indiana. All of them. Yet, Congressman Greg Pence (Mike’s brother) was shilling on TV, telling everybody about the Restaurant bailout in the package he voted against.

The same goes for the Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour, who graciously accepted $32 million for the City of Muncie he received on behalf of the American Rescue Plan voted down by his colleagues in the Republican Party. The hypocrisy is endless. Here’s the local newspaper who reported on the Mayor’s plan but never once mentioned that the whole county is run by Republicans, bashes Democrats constantly, and even calls them “baby-killers” to win elections. Still, every single one will be fighting for their own selfish interests in how the money is spent. I bet if we polled them, over 50% would say they stole the election from their savior, Donald Trump.

It’s almost laughable, but it’s not. Donald Trump did one thing while in office, and that was to make more money for himself and his cronies. Hoosiers get to spend $4 billion over the next couple of years allocated from the top down due to an Act passed where none of the federal representatives voted Yay on the measure. Not one of them. Do you think for one second that Governor Eric Holcomb isn’t elated about spending this money in his state during his term in office? He’ll claim all the great things he did for Indiana, but it all came from his political opposition. A defeat for his party is a victory for Hoosiers or most Hoosiers.

I guess the $4 billion Indiana received from the federal coffers will stimulate the economy, causing the job creators to hire more people. Maybe President Biden was right when he said, “trickle-down economics never worked.” We’ll see if his tax hikes on the rich pass Congress or whether that bill is sent to the American working class. Does anybody want to take bets on what happens now that the money is spent?

As for the unemployed workers who got stiffed or will be getting stiffed, stay tune to Muncie Voice since we’ve sent out a couple of offers to local lawyers that might want to take on that battle with the state and federal government. As Bernie Sanders wrote in his letter and the National Employment Law Project concluded in their memorandum to Marty Walsh, Secretary of the Department of Labor:

The CARES Act requires that you provide PUA benefits to every eligible worker. Section 2102(b), concerning PUA, reads:

The Secretary shall provide to any covered individual unemployment benefit assistance while such individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks of such unemployment with respect to which the individual is not entitled to any other unemployment compensation

Letter from Senator Sanders to Marty Walsh dated May 13, 2021

It would seem that while Republican Governor Eric Holcomb and his 24 other governors would like their base to hear they are tough on unemployed workers, it would appear that the federal government now is stuck in an awkward position. According to the Act itself, the Department of Labor must provide the $300 weekly benefit to the unemployed even if the governors refuse to administer it. When I asked Scott Horsely, NPR journalist, about this quandary on Twitter, his response was, “My colleague @asmamk spoke with Secretary Walsh about this last week. He says the administration is exploring options but doesn’t see a path to maintain benefits in states that have decided to cut them off early.”

We shall see about that.

Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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