Rant of the Week: Vic Dibitetto – “Patriots” and Nazi Flags

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to notice this nearly five minute rant on what the Feds need to do by Vic Dibitetto who is from Brooklyn, NY. The accent is a dead giveaway. Jack Holmes of Eaquire Politics also took note of Vic’s “expletive laden” tirade on the toll the coronavirus lock down has taken on renters and homeowners.

After 4.4 million more Americans filed for unemployment in the last week, the total number of claims since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit—and brought with it a necessary economic lockdown—is over 26 million. All job gains in the decade since the Great Recession have been wiped out. The people who’ve lost their jobs have been funneled into beefed-up (but often overwhelmed) state unemployment systems. With some luck, they’ll qualify for benefits to supplement the onetime $1,200 check from the IRS. And then, when the cataclysm recedes, they’ll have to try to get a job again.

But though the economy has stopped, the bills have not. Even in a scenario where we were to make the mistake of broadly reopening now, people would not go out to restaurants or fly on airplanes as normal. They don’t want to get sick. It’s a pandemic. Markets are mortally wounded. The state must step in, even in a country as poisoned against its own democratic self-government as the United States has become. People have severely reduced, or completely eliminated, incomes. They can’t pay their bills, even if they keep piling up.

The most absurd extension of this involves housing. Many jurisdictions have enacted moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, meaning people who can’t pay their rent or mortgage can’t be thrown on the street during a pandemic. This is a good first step, but the effect is to create a financial cliff after three months. How are people whose income has been affected, or destroyed outright, supposed to pay three months in back rent this summer when they probably will struggle to pay one month’s? Even if they get unemployment and the $1,200, there are other expenses. They might have kids, or an elderly relative to take care of, or healthcare costs, or student-loan debt. We’re a nation where huge numbers of people live paycheck to paycheck, and for a lot of people, the paychecks aren’t coming in anymore. [..]

This is Vic Dibitetto, a New York comedian with a phenomenal accent who is exactly right. A onetime payment of $1,200, as he well illustrated by listing off all the financial obligations a head-of-household might have, is not sufficient. The government should set up recurring payments for the duration of the crisis. This acknowledges reality and also would function as a temporary experiment in universal basic income. Andrew Yang cheers.

But then Dibitetto got into the mortgage question with some aplomb. It’s a similar problem to the rent delay: how are people supposed to make three or four months’ worth of payments when they don’t have as much, or any, money coming in? The Wall Street Journalreported on this phenomenon Thursday, tracking the false promise of federal mortgage relief which has left many borrowers to be “told they will have to make lump-sum ‘balloon’ payments” when the forbearance period ends. “If mortgage servicers follow through with demands for lump-sum payments,” the WSJ tells us, “borrowers could be pushed into default, damaging their creditworthiness and compounding the financial pain inflicted by the downturn.” People can’t pay out of no fault of their own, then take further damage to their financial health in the bargain. It’s absurd, greed and capital run amok because political leaders in both parties have allowed it to happen through (bad or purposeful) design.

Vic explains it better.