Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for May 9th, 2020

Damaged Faith

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Among the many unsettling reports that have daily battered the shorelines of our consciousness since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, I am particularly dismayed over the multiple revelations of unethical profiteering that have hit the news. It breaks my heart and has damaged my faith in humanity to see such blatant large scale examples of disdain for others in selfish quests for personal gain.

I’ve noticed that the focus of news reports cultivate outrage that large publicly traded corporations were awarded huge sums of federal recovery money intended for small businesses that didn’t get it. Same thing about the scandal in Mississippi where an audit uncovered details of millions of dollars of federal welfare funds were spent on concerts, cars, and Brett Favre events that didn’t even happen.

Yeah, that’s so wrong. We should be outraged.

But you know what? The outrage shouldn’t be over the fact that it happened, it should be over the fact that in order for it to be occurring, someone had to make decisions to allow it to happen.

How many times have you heard the opinion that people on welfare are lazy and don’t deserve getting something for nothing? People trying to use food stamps are highly constrained and closely scrutinized about what purchases are allowed. Disproportionate amounts of concern are levied over the use of pennies at the end of the line while millions at the top are allowed to be wrongly redirected to people who are neither in need nor deserving.

We heard about known name restaurant chains and a top NBA team among at least 75 public firms that got federal low-interest loans through the Paycheck Protection Program that was intended to aid small businesses.

Who at these companies made the decision to even apply for this money? What are they thinking? Seems to me our outrage should start right there. And it wasn’t just a handful of scandalous people. According to the New York Post, the Associated Press investigation came up with “at least 75 public firms.” That’s a lot of independent cases of unethical decision-making in positions of power running big businesses.

Just a short time later we hear about the audit of the Mississippi Department of Human Services discovering $98 million in funds from the government’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program being misspent. Who made the decision to execute those transactions?

Imagine trying to decide if you should pay out a few dollars to many families in need or give MILLIONS to one or two people who are already wealthy.

At the same time, who in the government processing these payments and seeing where money is going doesn’t respond with alarm? Small Business Administration aid package money going to the Los Angeles Lakers? Sure. Cut the check. Makes total sense. NOT!

Yes, the pandemic crisis is exacerbating a lot of injustices that were already in place. It has dented my faith in people to see how prevalent the inequitable decision making is by too many individuals in places of power.

Do me a favor. If you find yourself presented with an opportunity to take more than you need, …don’t.

Just don’t.