Day: April 16, 2020

Background Briefing: April 16, 2020


Mnuchin Allows Banks and Debt Collectors to Grab the Stimulus Checks Unemployed Americans Need

We begin with the rollout of the $1,200-per-person stimulus checks which Trump has insisted on signing although he denies doing so. But due to glitches they are not showing up in many cases, and are subject to being grabbed and garnished by banks and debt collectors thanks to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin who is ignoring congressional intent and the pleas from Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren to urge banks not to use CARES Act payments to offset existing debts. Joining us is David Dayen, the Executive Editor of the American Prospect and author of Fat Cat: The Steve Mnuchin Story. He has a number of articles at The American Prospect on the impact of the coronavirus including, “Your Coronavirus Check Is Coming. Your Bank Can Grab it” and “USAA Grabs Coronavirus Checks From Military Families“. We discuss this outrageous insult to the injury of over 20 million Americans now out of work and running out of food and money. And while Mnuchin could easily fix this predatory activity of banks and debt collectors taking away the $1,200-per-person lifeline of checks Trump takes credit for sending, just as the household is about to sink into debt, the CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which was set up to stop this kind of abuse, has been decimated by Trump and the Republicans.

Is Trump Starving the USPS So We Can’t Vote by Mail in November?

Then we examine the uncertain landscape ahead of the November elections which could be impacted by a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and speak with Richard Hasen, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine whose latest book is Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy. He joins us to discuss his article at Slate, “We Cannot Hold an Election Without a Functional Post Office” and Trump’s apparent determination to prevent a majority from voting using mail-in ballots by starving the USPS until it can no longer deliver the mail.

Countries the Best in Containing COVID-19 Are All Led By Women

Then finally we assess why it is that the countries that have been most successful in containing the COVID -19 pandemic and have suffered the lowest numbers of deaths per-capita, are Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Taiwan, all of which have women as their leaders. Frances Kissling, the President of the Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania who serves on the board of the Journal of Feminist Ethics, joins us to discuss what qualities women bring to leadership at a time of crisis.