How Democrats and Beltway pundits just helped Mitch McConnell undermine Bernie Sanders’ push for direct aid to millions of Americans facing eviction, starvation and bankruptcy.

It was always a possibility that Democrats would get too scared to halt a major Pentagon bill in order to help millions of Americans get $2,000 survival checks — in fact, as wewrote earlier this week, it was very likely that they would back down the moment any bad-faith critic so much as waved a flag and said “support the troops.” 

And capitulation became even more likely when Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, corporate Democratic pundits and billionaire-owned elite media outlets began parroting a series of eerily similar let-them-eat-cake talking points against the survival checks — which McConnell promptly used to bludgeon proponents of the bipartisan initiative. 

But even appreciating all of this — and also knowing that many Democratic leaders still cling to an outdated austerity ideology — the sheer scale of Wednesday’s Democratic surrender was truly a sight to behold. And it probably ended the chance for more immediate aid to millions of Americans facing eviction, starvation and bankruptcy. 

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Local Governments Play Scrooge To Stop People from Helping the Needy

It wouldn’t truly be the Christmas season here at Reason without a report about officials trying to shut down a project to help the needy. This year’s tale comes from Roslindale, a suburb of Boston.

There, as the coronavirus pandemic played out, residents looked for ways to help the needy in their neighborhood. A group of volunteers started putting together a community food pantry, salvaging groceries from local stores before they’d be tossed out as waste. A local therapist agreed to host the group’s fridge and freezer in her backyard. The group was serving more than 50 people every Friday.

Then local officials came calling. The Boston Inspectional Services Department warned the volunteers that they were operating an “illegal food pantry” and that they could, if they continued, face $1,000 fines and a year in prison.

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$130,000 for an 8-foot-by-8-foot shed? That’s what L.A. is paying in a bid to house the homeless

In other cities, 64-square-foot aluminum and composite sheds are being used as quick and inexpensive emergency shelter for homeless people.

Not in Los Angeles. Here, plans to employ the minimalist structures, known as “tiny homes,” have blossomed into expensive development projects with access roads, underground utilities and concrete foundations — and commensurate planning delays.

At the city’s first tiny home village, scheduled to open in January, each of the 39 closet-sized homes is costing $130,000, about 10 times what some other cities are spending. Five more villages are planned to open later.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the program in March, signaling that the concept of sheltering people in tiny homes, long neglected in Los Angeles, had emerged as a leading strategy in the city’s response to a federal lawsuit alleging it has done too little to get homeless people off the streets.

He told the court that the city had purchased 50 of the prefab structures as the first installment of a plan to shelter homeless people in villages of tiny homes around the city.

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For The First Time Ever, Millions Of Working-Poor Americans Forced To Turn To Food Banks

Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, was overwhelmed with demand as 20% of the organization’s food banks were at severe risk of running out of food earlier this year.

Demand at food banks has been so high, that Feeding America handed out 4.2 billion meals from March through October, the most ever.

The organization reported a 60% average increase in food bank users during the pandemic – and at least 30% are first-timers.

Data from Feeding America showed 181 food banks in its network distributed nearly 57% more food in the third quarter than the same period in 2019.

Estimates from the food bank suggest 1 in 6 Americans, from 35 million in 2019 to more than 50 million by the end of this year, will have food insecurity problems. The problem is worse for children – nearly 1 in 4 will go hungry as the pandemic deeply scarred the economy.

Shockingly, Feeding America found that 1 in 5 residents in Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana could not put food on the table.

AP interviewed Donna Duerr, 56, who said she must “either pay bills or get food.” She said food bank donations have greatly helped her as she struggles to survive.

Many of the folks attending food bank lines are the working poor who once had jobs in the service industry. Because of permanent job loss, many of their jobs will be completely wiped out.

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Food stamps, rent assistance may be withheld from those who refuse Covid-19 vaccinations

Americans who refuse to get mandated Covid-19 vaccinations may lose benefits such as food stamps (WIC) and rent assistance, according to a document from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Health Security.

According to the document, one of the top members of the “Working Group of Readying Populations for COVID-19 Vaccines” is Luciana Borio, MD, a prominent member of Joe Biden’s Covid-19 taskforce.

Borio recommends recruiting celebrities and social media influencers to speak to “specific audiences” about the urgency of taking the vaccine.

The document says “bundling” vaccines with food stamps would be, “a way to build trust” among low-income people such as “Blacks and minority communities.”

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