Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. on February 22, 2021.

President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. on February 22, 2021. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Not One Single GOP Vote as House Democrats Send 'Historic' $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill to Biden's Desk

"This relief bill is the difference between dignity and despair for millions of America's working families," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson

With the backing of three-quarters of the U.S. public but not a single Republican member of Congress, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that would send direct payments to around 280 million people, extend emergency unemployment programs, slash child poverty in half with a year-long expansion of the child tax credit, and boost funding for vaccine distribution.

The legislation, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, now heads to President Joe Biden's desk. The president, who is expected to sign the bill into law on Friday, said over the weekend that eligible Americans can expect to start receiving direct relief payments later this month.

"No child in America should be deprived of food, of medicine, of clothing, or of education because of the accident of birth. That is what this bill stands for."
—Rep. Ro Khanna

Just one House Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted against the relief package.

While lacking provisions that outside groups and congressional progressives fought for—most notably an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which was removed by the Senate—advocacy organizations applauded the legislation in its entirety as a desperately-needed measure that will help alleviate widespread economic suffering and accelerate progress in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"We look forward to President Biden signing this far-reaching bill as soon as possible so we can get emergency aid into the pockets of low-income and working class people who need it most," George Goehl, director of advocacy group People's Action, said in a statement. "Our fight is far from over."

Goehl called on Democrats to use the reconciliation process—thereby avoiding the need for support from obstructionist Republicans—"to pass recurring cash benefits and unemployment insurance linked to economic conditions, raise the minimum wage, cancel rent and rental debt, and put us on a path to recovery that is just and sustainable."

The Tax Policy Center estimates that the American Rescue Plan will increase the after-tax incomes of the poorest quintile of Americans by more than 20%. An analysis by the Urban Institute released Wednesday finds that the legislation's extension of key unemployment programs through Labor Day, boost to nutrition assistance, direct payments, and expansion of the child tax credit will collectively "reduce the projected poverty rate for 2021 by more than one-third."

Under the relief legislation, the average family of four will receive $5,600 in direct payments alone—$1,400 per adult and adult dependent as well as $1,400 per child—at a moment when 14% of U.S. adults with children are struggling to put food on the table.

"This relief bill is the difference between dignity and despair for millions of America's working families," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). "And yet, not a single Republican—the so-called 'party of the working class'—voted for it! The Republicans have turned their backs on the needs of working families."

After debate over the measure was briefly delayed Wednesday morning by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's (R-Ga.) failed motion to adjourn the session, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said on the House floor that the American Rescue Plan is "historic because it buries the myth that the cause of childhood poverty is a lack of character, or a lack of hard work, or a lack of love."

"The bill affirms the simple truth that the cause of poverty is a lack of income to cover basic necessities," said Khanna. "No child in America should be deprived of food, of medicine, of clothing, or of education because of the accident of birth. That is what this bill stands for. It represents and marks an ideological revolution on behalf of justice."

On top of its robust support for children, the nearly $2 trillion relief package would also give "seniors' health and economic security a much-needed boost," said Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

"Millions of Social Security beneficiaries will be eligible for $1,400 stimulus payments to keep their heads above water financially," Richtman added. "The legislation also contains crucial new funds for vaccinations, testing, and safer nursing home care... The passage of this landmark legislation is a great moment for all Americans who have struggled to survive and stay financially afloat during this pandemic, especially seniors, people with disabilities, and their families."

Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, echoed Richtman, noting that "for the past year, older Americans have faced the most severe health consequences from the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The American Rescue Plan takes an important step in the right direction by including over $12 billion in funding for home and community-based services," said Lawson. "This will allow more seniors and people with disabilities to live in their own homes instead of nursing homes. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan saves the retirements of over 1.5 million Americans by strengthening multi-employer pension plans."

In a floor speech just ahead of Wednesday's vote, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said that by passing the American Rescue Plan, Congress is freeing up "the resources needed to end the pandemic that has killed 527,000 Americans."

"Today we lift millions of American children out of poverty. Today we make an investment to get our children back to school safely. Today we authorize economic impact payments to millions of our citizens behind on their rents and car payments and unable to buy groceries," said Beyer. "Today we reject the social Darwinism of our Republican friends. We reject the ethic of every man, woman, and child for themselves."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·


'Texans Deserved Better Than This': Supreme Court Leaves Abortion Ban in Place

The nation's high court set a date to hear a pair of legal challenges to the "horrific" restrictions.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like It Never Happened': Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished "the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo