Ron Johnson, aside from being a multimillionaire, is a complete douche bag-- always has been. Electing him over Russ Feingold in 2010 and again in 2016 was incomprehensible... without remembering that the Wisconsin electorate also elected fascist (and deranged closet case) Joseph McCarthy-- one of the worst figures in all of U.S. political history-- twice, with 61.2% of the vote in 1946 and with 54.2% in 1952. Watch this clip by clicking on the image:
In arguing against sending $1,400 COVID-rescue checks to working families, he raised the specter of inflation: "I realize we had a natural disaster COVID in 2020, but there's so much pent up demand, so much excess savings, it's just going to be bursting forth in economic activity and we do need to be concerned about overheating the economy."
Johnson, who started as an accountant at his brother-in-law's polyester and plastics manufacturing company, PACUR, has a net financial worth of around $40 million and is one of the half dozen richest senators-- and the most reactionary of any of them. His self-financed first campaign was as a Tea Partier and he immediately ran in opposition to Obama's plan to rescue the catastrophic economy Bush had left him-- the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a Hooverite, claiming the U.S. "would have been far better off not spending any of the money and [letting] the recovery happen as it was going to happen." He was literally advocating for a depression. Overall, Johnson was considered the worst member of the U.S. Senate-- what a bar!-- before the election of Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
Johnson is up for reelection next year. And one of the best possible candidates we would like to see run against him is progressive state Senator Chris Larson. This morning, Larson expressed a very different perspective than Johnson's on the rescue package. "You know what's at risk of overheating?," he asked rhetorically after he saw Johnson's clip. "The patience of the people of Wisconsin waiting for Ron Johnson to do something, anything to help them after a year of this pandemic. Ron Johnson famously blocked $2,000 aid checks not once but twice. He spent his waning days as the Chair of Homeland Security to put kook theories on a pedestal about the virus and snake oil cures. If all this weren't bad enough, he's doing all of this after he was a champion for Trump's tax cuts that benefitted the richest 20% (including him), blew up the deficit, and did little to help the rest of America. Wisconsin may be at 5 degrees today but the voters of Wisconsin are feeling pretty hot right now."
Johnson isn't the only conservative opposing Biden's very popular approach to rescuing American families, businesses and the economy in general from the pandemic. (Polling is through the roof on Biden's package, voters main criticism being that it should be even bigger. Even most self-identified Republicans back the plan.) Two recent polls by Navigator and CBS News/YouGov show that Johnson is on the dark side of the moon with his views:
This morning, reporting for HuffPo, Molly Redden and Emily Peck wrote that "As Democrats race to flesh out President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal, the question of which households truly “need” another stimulus check has dominated the negotiations. One proposal, from a group of senators who oppose sending checks to anyone they consider an “upper income taxpayer,” would scale back eligibility for the $1,400 payments, compared to who was eligible for previous rounds of stimulus checks. They want to eliminate checks for individuals making more than $75,000 and households earning more than $150,000. Their proposal would also gradually reduce the amount of money received by individuals earning more than $50,000 and couples earning more than $100,000. Earlier this month, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), whose vote is crucial in the split Senate for passing another stimulus package, proposed cutting off checks at an even lower threshold: to single earners who make more than $50,000 and households earning more than $100,000. Lately, he is endorsing the plan to begin phasing out payments at those thresholds."
Johnson, one of Congress' most deranged austerity-lunatics has a much different threshold: zero.
House Democrats unveiled a more generous plan on Monday that would raise the income threshold for receiving any stimulus money to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples. People could qualify for relief checks based on their tax returns for 2020, meaning those who lost wages or income during the pandemic wouldn’t necessarily be left out if they earned above those cutoffs in 2019.
But it’s not clear if conservative Democrats in the Senate will accept the higher thresholds or how the final plan will determine eligibility. If the relief package passes before people file their 2020 tax returns, it’s not clear when those who lost income during the pandemic will receive their checks; millions are still waiting on their second stimulus check.
HuffPost heard from dozens of people who said they desperately need another stimulus check and are terrified that Congress’ moving standards will deem them “too rich” to receive assistance.
Before the pandemic hit, most of these folks were stable-- able to pay their bills and housing costs, as well as save or pay off student loans. But those working in fields like hospitality or entertainment have spent months watching their savings evaporate after the pandemic vaporized their industries. Others described new costs, like supporting family members or paying for elder care. Still others are paying a fortune to live in or around a city where they once made a living wage. And some have health conditions that make potential COVID-19 exposure extremely dangerous, limiting their work options even further.
...The promise of a third, larger check was likely a driving force behind the victories of Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff in the Georgia runoffs in January, which allowed Democrats to gain control of the Senate.
Progressive senators have said they would not agree to drastically lowering the income cutoffs for the next round of checks, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blasting centrist proposals on Twitter: “Unbelievable … working class people who got checks from Trump would not get them from Biden. Brilliant!”
Bernie is chair of the evenly-split Senate Budget Committee. Johnson is one of the Republicans on the committee. There are no fiscally moderate Republicans on the committee but on the Democratic side there are 2 reactionary, anti-working class senators who are more likely to vote with Johnson than with Bernie: Tim Kaine and, worse, Mark Warner, both of Virginia.
In an e-mail this morning, Bernie warned that "if we water down this relief, we are telling working class people in this country that when Donald Trump was president they could get a full benefit if they made $75,000 per year, but now that Democrats are in power if they make $52,000 a year they are too rich for that benefit. If Joe Biden and a Democratic-controlled Congress do not provide the full benefits that Donald Trump and the Republicans did, it would be a political and policy disaster. We have got to do what we promised to the American people and help working families who are struggling right now.
This is not just a question about helping the working people of this country during a time of crisis, this is a question about the future of the Democratic Party and whether we will show the middle class of this country that we are on their side. Republicans pit people against each other. They try to divide us up based on race, gender and ethnicity in an attempt to appeal to working class voters.
The way Democrats become the party of the working class is by fighting for social justice, economic justice, and by bringing people together. But you do not bring people together when you say someone making $52,000 a year is too rich.
A recent national poll shows that there is overwhelming support for President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, and the vast majority of Americans are in favor of raising direct payments to $2,000. It is by far the most popular of the provisions in the plan."