Remember that $1,200 check you received from the IRS in April? Didn’t last too long, did it? Still, it helped … every little bit helped. At the rate Congress is acting, you’ll be long dead before you receive another. But look … many did benefit greatly and received hefty checks. They are … well, let’s have a look …
- Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, who has served on Trump’s evangelical board, was approved for a loan of $2 – $5 million.
- The American Center for Law and Justice Inc, a nonprofit founded by televangelist Pat Robertson and also known as Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism Inc., was approved for a $1-2 million loan. Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s cadre of lawyers who represented Trump during his impeachment trial, is listed as chief counsel on the organization’s website.
- City of Destiny Inc. of Florida, where Paula White, Trump’s spiritual adviser, is listed as a pastor, was approved for a loan of $150,000-$350,000.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that was part of the larger $2.3 trillion relief package was intended for small businesses, to allow them to keep paying their employees even when shut down due to the coronavirus. The keywords here are ‘small’ and ‘business’. The churches mentioned here are wealthy in their own right. And churches are not businesses. If they are, in fact, businesses, then they no longer qualify for tax-exempt status, and should be paying taxes on their income.
Given the separation of church and state that is part of the foundation of our government, the government should absolutely not be giving money to churches … any churches. Additionally, it is highly suspicious that all of the aforementioned churches’ leaders have close affiliations to Donald Trump. This is our tax money, people. We are throwing it all away … or rather, we are allowing Donald Trump to throw it away, to give it to those he thinks can help him in some way … like telling their congregations to vote for him in November. In essence, part of the money that was to help small businesses, went into Trump’s campaign coffers.
Jay Sekulow, Paula White, Robert Jeffress, and Pat Robertson are all wealthy individuals who could have easily afforded to continue paying their staff. None of them needed the money. They are of a religion that many of us do not support or believe in. And yet, we paid them … for what? This opens a whole new can of worms in regard to cronyism and also defies the separation of church and state clause. Worse yet, these religious organizations pay no taxes, so they have contributed virtually nothing, yet they are taking. And, unless I miss my guess, their loans will ultimately be forgiven, which makes it not a loan but a gift. I didn’t authorize giving my money to any religious organization, nor would I. Once again, we have been robbed.
Religious organizations weren’t the only ones to receive money undeservedly. Remember Kanye West, the rapper, who cozied up to Trump in the early days of his tenure? Turns out he owns a clothing line called Yeezy, and thus he was given a loan of between $2 million and $5 million. Mr. West has a net worth of $1.3 billion … I really do believe that he could have afforded to pay his employees out of his own pocket.
More than 30 Girl Scout chapters across the country received PPP loans. The Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming were approved for between $350,000 and $1 million each. Now, I fully support Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, I think they do good work. But, with schools closed since March, no gatherings such as scout meetings allowed … why the Sam Heck do they need that much money? Their troop leaders are all volunteers, not paid employees!
West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice is a very wealthy man … he is actually considered the wealthiest person in the State of West Virginia, with a net worth of $1.2 billion. Justice owns a number of businesses, including coal, agricultural, and a lavish resort. Justice and his family members received $6.3 million from the PPP program.
How’s that little $1,200 check looking to you now?
The list goes on and on. As much as $273 million in federal coronavirus aid was awarded to more than 100 companies that are owned or operated by major donors to Trump’s election efforts. Fast-food chains, oil and gas companies, and white-collar firms were all granted a slice of more than $659 billion in low-interest business loans that will be forgiven if the money is used on payroll, rent and similar expenses. Money that was meant to keep those small businesses, the mom-and-pop bookstores and diners afloat during the crisis.
This is what happens when there is no oversight. You’ll remember that Trump fired Glenn Fine, the man tasked with leading the group overseeing the entire $2.3 trillion package. The United States now has $24.95 trillion in national debt, a sagging economy that will not recover this year, the people who could most afford to pay taxes, pay little or none. There will come a day of reckoning, my friends. Do you suppose Robert Jeffress, Jim Bakker, Governor Justice, Kanye West and the others will step up to the plate and offer to pay higher taxes to help bring the debt down? Think on that one for a while.