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Are Bread Riots Coming To America?

Over the last week, just under 1 million people filed for ordinary unemployment benefits, plus another half-million under the special pandemic unemployment program for people who don’t ordinarily qualify, a substantial decline from some of the numbers seen since the beginning of the pandemic. At this rate, by mid-September or so, new unemployment claims will be merely as bad as they were during the worst of the Great Recession.

Those unemployment benefits, however, because this country has systematically stripped and sabotaged its safety net, are extremely meager and often nearly impossible to actually get. Hundreds of thousands of private citizens who have lost their jobs are flocking to Reddit for help and advice, as state unemployment bureaucracies are so janky and swamped they often can’t deal with the flood of applications.

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In the past week, the r/unemployment subreddit has taken a dark turn with the expiration of the CARES Act’s super-unemployment and the failure of Republicans to even come to an agreement about what they want in the next round of pandemic relief. It’s become a de facto support group for people whose lives are collapsing around them for a simple lack of income or jobs, and talk of suicide is common.

One wonders: Is America about to see bread protests or even riots?

People around the country have been testifying how they are down to their last dollar or flat broke, facing eviction or living on the street, unable to afford vital prescriptions, or even food. “I’ve got $18.91 in my bank account this morning. My cupboards are getting low, my dog will have to eat whatever me and my kids eat and my gas light will be back on shortly,” wrote one Redditor recently.

“My car payment was due today and I’m still $200 short, 500 counting last month’s. My phone bill is due in a few days. I’m a month behind on the electric bill. I have about $60 to my name, I’m not going to make rent and my [landlords] have already said they will not be giving any allowances,” wrote another.

“Well I’ve waited and now my power turns off at the end of today, in a house where my entire family has moved in with me … worst of all I have two toddlers and virtually nowhere to go. ‘Rona and the government have picked off my family one by one and this seems to be the final nail in the coffin,” wrote a third.

And that’s the very tip of the iceberg — indeed, millions of people were left out of even the initial CARES Act rescue, and millions of more layoffs are likely to come in the next few months. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has collected data for the week ending July 21, before super-unemployment expired, and found that 12 percent of households were regularly short of food, 21 percent of renters were behind on their payments, and 28 percent of children were in households with one or the other problem. All that is certainly going to get much, much worse if another rescue isn’t passed.

Usually, governments get worried when their citizens are starving, especially when it would be easy to prevent. A severe food shortage is one thing, but when there is more than enough to go around, and the state could feed everyone simply and easily, most democratic countries choose to do so. A starving people might rise up in fury and overthrow the government, as happened in France in 1789.

Now, America has not seen much of this sort of unrest in the past, for a few reasons. One is our hegemonic individualist ideology, which indoctrinates the people into believing that any turn of bad luck is their fault. Another is our convoluted constitution, which isolates many politicians from democratic accountability.

It is possible to win the Electoral College and the presidency while losing the popular vote 4 to 1; most House seats are gerrymandered to be completely uncompetitive; Senate seats are apportioned in a ridiculously anti-democratic fashion — and two-thirds of the Senate isn’t even up for election in any given cycle anyway.

Politicians like Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) — who have complained at the amount of proposed relief spending; Johnson actually celebrated the breakdown of negotiations — display an utter disregard for the welfare of their constituents because they have indoctrinated themselves with the ideology of Herbert Hoover and because none of them can lose in November. Paul and Johnson will not face the voters until 2022, and Cruz not until 2024.

But simple voting is only one aspect of democratic freedom. Another is the right to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances. And the coronavirus pandemic is so obviously not the fault of anyone on unemployment that one can see American individualist ideology starting to crack in real-time, including on r/unemployment.

“Should we just take it upon ourselves to start protesting outside of every single one of their houses?” one Redditor speculated recently. Such a protest did indeed happen on Tuesday outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s house in Kentucky. “Mitch better have my money,” people chanted.

Demanding a handout from the government is difficult for many Americans because we are trained from birth to “look out for yourself” and not expect help from others. But the fact is that nobody can actually look out for themselves. Interdependence is simply a fact of life in any complex economy.

We all depend on state-created laws, regulations, subsidies, and policies — and none more so than the rich, who are collecting government cheese in about a thousand subtle ways. It is absolutely within the rights of the people to demand that their elected representatives make sure everyone has enough to eat and a roof over their heads at all times, not just in a crisis.

And when a Great Depression-scale disaster is allowed to fester for no reason, it is anybody’s guess what will happen. As we saw with this summer’s racial-justice protest movement, mass despair is just waiting for a spark to blow into a conflagration of rage. The result could easily spin out of anyone’s control.

The president and Republican members of Congress should fear the consequences of letting the American people drown a lot more than they currently do.

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13 comments

  1. Food riots and worse things are in our future. Jesus is our only hope. Btw keep your powder dry

  2. For starters, the democrats lead by Pelosi are on summer recess for thirty days without passing any kind of relief. The Republicans can only do so much without Bi partisan support which the democrats refuse because their absolutely childish in their approaches. Therefore President Trump signed four orders releasing much needed funds.unfortunately now it’s up to Democrat Goveners to ensure people receive the money. Speaking as a blue state citizen with a communist gov.I can tell you it dosent work.

  3. Written by a Democratic propaganda spreading individual. Typical scare tactic, something the Dems are expert at administering. This article further proves they don’t give a damn about the American people, it’s about power for themselves. Be very careful America. Don’t fall for their lies.

  4. The Demorats are holding up everything in hopes it hurts Trump.That is why the President has gone to the executive order to get things done. As far as I am concerned the whole republican and democrat establishment is nothing but a bunch of swamp creatures that loathe Trump. When he rode down the elevator to announce his run for the Presidency there was a collective gasp at the fact that someone might win who was an outsider and could not be controlled. These pricks have been selling out our country since the end of WW2

  5. Whom ever posted this message has been indoctrinated by the politically extreme left ideology. Blaming a specific Party for the failure of both parties, is irrational. Our government has ceased to function as it was intended by the founders of this exemplar nation. Both parties have failed to act for the good of the people. “We must stay in power “ is their ludicrous cry. Most votes are now along political lines without any consideration for the people. Our President has been targeted by the MSM like no other President has since the founding of this nation. He is trying to act for the good of all citizens. His tasks are extremely difficult due to this division within our political ranks. The Republican Party has formulated a Bill for relief to those in need. They have been met by an unconcerned Democrats. Search for facts before posting the ridiculous statements shown above. This response is from a veteran who has given up parts of my body in Vietnam so that you may post the ridiculous comments above.

  6. Samuel E. Crabtree

    If an idea proposed by ANY party has a possibility of success it will be opposed by members of the other party BECAUSE neither party wants the opposing party to be able to claim it had a SUCCESSFUL proposal. Further, even if a candidate has ideas that would be good and campaigns on those ideas he/she substantially abandons promoting those ideals once he/she wins the election he/she immediately begins running tor re-election – rather than working to pass the ideals upon which he/she ran. He/she believes that it is more important FOR THE PEOPLE that he/she be re-elected than it is for anything else.

  7. I guess Pulse gets more conservative thinking people than progressives. That is actually unfortunate. Our country was built on a discussion of what EVERYONE wanted (of course not the slaves or women but….) and what they thought were appropriate solutions to the issues. Declaration of Independence is an example. Many of Pulse articles that are not advertisements are very thought provoking irregardless of the ideology. It seems that the comments above do not agree with me. They want Pulse to support and write articles that only give one ideology. If you do that you will lose my support (which many of the people above would enjoy). The ability to have a discussion without the name calling and single minded messaging is very important to a DEMOCRACY. I hope that I have been a very slight pin-prick in everyone’s bubble today. Thanks.

    • The article was biased to the far-left viewpoint. Democrats passed their $3 trillion HEROS Act which was loaded with stuff unrelated to Corona virus relief. To be honest, the Senate was trying to add a new HQ for the FBI. The politicians need to come together to put out a relief package that is only relief without all the extras.

      The problem is the Democratic Party Leadership has moved to the extreme Left and is pushing socialism. The Republicans stretch from the center to the extreme Right which is part of the reason they have a difficult time coming together on things. The majority of the people are in the middle of the political spectrum and have to see thru the smoke the news media puts out which has been pretty bad recently as the majority of the media is overly biased to the Left and is totally anti-Trump.

      We want and need our government to work for us and the only way I see is to vote for politicians that are more to the middle of the spectrum; any one running as a “Progressive” needs to be voted OUT as they don’t want to compromise on anything. This country cannot afford socialism the far-left is pushing.

      People need to research their candidates and check if the positions of the candidates aligns with their personal views.

    • I Use To Be Democrat For almost 40 Years, Most Of My Family always Voted & Were Democrats. NOT Anymore. When You have a Democratic Party That Always Tell Lies, Do Not Tell the Truth for Their Own Political Gain, and They Cannot Give The President Credit For anything at all. They control The Mainstream Media That Purposely Choose To Not Report on Anything Good That The President Does. When You have Constant Negative Reporting When it Comes To The Republicans & Our Great President, This Is Why Not Only Me But Most Of My Family have Switched over to The Republican Party. I Did Not Change From Democrat To Republican Because I Wanted To, I Changed Because Of all Of The Lie’s That I have Seen Read & Researched That was Reported Buy The Hate Filled Lie’n Democrats which I cannot Love Or Support, so I had To Change Party’s. I’m Am along with almost Everyone I Know & Have Talked To in The last Year or Two, We all Are Just So Disappointed & sad For This New Radical Socialist Agenda That These Democrats & Media are Now Conforming To. It is Just a Real Crying Shame. But I Do Believe That God Will Take Care Of Everything and We Will Be a Better Country & People For That.

  8. Obviously written be a Democrat. Notice how everything is the fault of Republicans?

  9. I’m So SICK & TIRED of all The LIES Coming From These Fake Writers & Media People Spreading Hate & Lies In Hopes To Try & Trick, Change as well as Manipulate WE THE PEOPLE With All Of Their Propaganda, Conspiracy Theory’s as well as Negative So Called Reporting. These People Should Be Charged & Prosecuted For Misleading The Public For Their Own Personal Gain & Power. These People Make Me Sick To My Stomach. If You Hate This Country & Hate Our President The LEAVE THE USA You Morons. We The People Do Not Want Need Or Have To Have Those Kind of Hateful Lie’n SOB’s Thinking They Are Above The Law Above Us The People & Above Even GOD Himself In Some of these Idiots We Have In The Media & Democratic Party. You All Should Be One Million Percent Ashamed Of Yourselves. But Once We The People Come Together To Elect The Law & Order Republicans Back In Office Then We The People Will Take Our Country Back. Get Rid Of The Democrats In Power in These Blue So Called States and Watch & See How Law & Order will sweep across This Country Like The Hand Of GOD. Thank You Lord, Thank You Jesus & Thank You Almighty God For That, For All That You Do For This Country, For Our President & For Anyone In Need That is Hurting. God Bless All Lives Not Just One Group.

  10. The time to act is now! Not November 3rd. Yes, I am calling for every patriotic American to pick up their firearms and stop this communist bullshit. If you don’t, you will feel the wave of a nazi/fascist/communistic state fall upon your heads. Pick up your guns and fight these bastards or live with the consequences!

  11. You are all so utterly totally f*cked.

    You actually BELIEVE its not turnip boys fault when his obstinacy, obduracy, ignorance, arrogance, and plain dumbarse idiocy have let the pandemic rip into the very marrow of America.

    You actually BELIEVE that the sh*t coming down is someone elses doing. Rather than take anything even vaguely resembling personal and societal responsibility.. like every other advanced nation on earth… you go to parties etc en masse. Then you sh*t your pants when the bug bites. You seem to think looking like a fat f*ckwit in camo, intimidating public servants while you brandish semi-automatic weapons, is going to stop a virus that GIVES NO F*CKS AT ALL.

    You actually BELIEVE that Coronavirus is not real.. when it so obviously is.

    You actually BELIEVE that Fartacus has your back.. when he sees YOUR back as something for HIM to walk over so he doesnt get his wingtips wet.

    You are an international joke. You have participated in the denigration of what was once the United States. Now.. its united in shame and name only.

    Shame on you all. NOBODY anywhere now allows US citizens to enter their country. YOUR PASSPORT IS NOW USELESS. tRump promised you a racist wall that was never never going to happen.. now every other nation has walled you all in and NONE of you will travel anywhere anytime soon.

    Seriously.. ‘owning the libs’? What kind of puerile, kindergarten, ‘crap your pants’ culture is that? Grow the f*ck up and behave like adults again. You EMBARRASS THE WORLD.. let alone America.

    Bring reality and respect for truth back. Stop exacerbating the injuries to everybody everywhere. Get that toxic tangerine toad the hell out of there.

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