As summer commences we see pictures of beach bods, home gardens and tanning rituals. Sidebar: I’ve always found it odd that white Americans are so obsessed with tanning and simultaneously see black & brown people as lesser than. Why look like the people you don’t consider as people? And this why racism doesn’t make sense. Anyway, the story you won’t see on your Instagram feeds or covered on corporate mainstream news outlets – and I use the term news very loosely here! – is the story about the spike in homelessness we are about to see in America.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has decided to extend the eviction moratoriums by an extra month – so basically till the end of July 2021. Good, now the American populous finally has enough time to pay back thousands and thousands of dollars worth of back rent on a minimum wage income. According to American Math, which most mathematicians don’t consider Math, says that’s possible if the working class never stops working. Capitalism is so awful is fucking up math for everyone.
The Lynch pin in this decision was none other than Big Boy Beers, Brett Kavanaugh. I was just as shocked as you likely are to hear that Kavanugh, the conservative judge with an alleged rape charge was looking out for the people, for about 30 extra days. This because according to American Math, which I remind you mathematicians don’t consider as real math, says that we only have a limited amount of compassion. And for Big Bay Beers Brett Kavanaugh its directly correlated with the amount of beers he has. It’s Bell Curve of Beers for him. There’s a max he can drink to maximize compassion. Anything beyond that will lead to him bringing out a calendar his dad gave him saying “the rent is due!”
Kavanaugh’s argument was that the evictions that are due to happen are going to cause chaos. As he said this a resounding “NO FUCKING SHIT” was heard across the lands. I believe we can call this the profanity heard around the world. Millions of American are on the verge of becoming homeless. 30 extra days to settle a massive debt is nothing more than a bandaid on a car crash. Kavanaugh’s decision puts the onus on Congress to come up with a solution.
Congress could’ve stopped all this from happening had they passed a bill to cancel all rents and mortgages throughout the pandemic. And before everyone starts screaming about “What about the small landlords!?!” in alternating caps, cancelling rents & mortgages would include them as well. In fact all debts should’ve been canceled the moment the banks and Wall St. received over $6 trillion in government bailouts in rough 38 microseconds after the quarantine was put into place. You have to wonder where that money went? The answer is the pockets of the bank bosses, which are probably worst kind of bosses around. And besides the corporate landlords got over $24 billion in assistance and bailouts on top of the additional money they got from tenants rental assistance, so it’s not like they’re hurting for the money.
WIth that being said, if instead of spending all that money on bailing out corporations that weren’t in financial crisis when the pandemic began, they spent it on the people giving them a UBI for a year, this eviction epidemic wouldn’t have happened. If you gave everyone with a social security number about $1500/month for about a year, the government would’ve spent roughly the same amount as they did bailing out the banks. And this way less people fall through the cracks of assistance. The people who didn’t need the extra $1500 could’ve either reinvested or donated to those that did. And that’s how real math works!
They could’ve also made it easier for tenants to get rental assistance. As of now there were arbitrary deadlines to apply for rental assistance for tenants. Remember, corporate landlords & the banks just received their bailout no problem. The problem with this is the fact that most Americans work multiple jobs to make rent and pay bills. This doesn’t leave a lot of time to fill out forms and ensure that they meet random deadlines. After working 2 jobs, 12 hours and dealing everything life has to throw at you, ask yourself if paperwork is what you want to deal with.
Don’t forget under Capitalism its 8 hours for work, 2 hours to sit in traffic, 1 hour for lunch, 4 more hours for work, 2 hours for meetings, 1 hour for family, 6 hours for your second job, 1 hour for sleep if you’re lucky. It’s a system that doesn’t value the restorative power of recreation. And in all that, where do you see time for paperwork? The only system that understands that is Socialism.
Another solution the Biden Administration and Congress could’ve implemented is increasing the minimum wage to help the working class. Now this too would be a bandaid measure if it wasn’t done in tandem with cancelling the debts during a global emergency. But in the past decade this has been met with propagandistic lies about increased prices of various goods and services. But like I said, minimum wage has been stagnant for over a decade and the prices of goods and services have been going up, this includes rent. So that basically renders that argument moot.
At this point, I’m not putting a lot faith in a Congress that has cared more about its donors and the corporate elites rather than the people they’re supposed to represent. At least that’s what they tell us. A Princeton study tells us that they don’t. They do in fact represent the interests of the rich.
A lot of people are calling the act of evictions violence. This becomes a controversial statement partly due to the blurry definition of violence. In order to perceive a crime as violent, either the offender or the act itself must fit into our preconceived notions of what violence means. Each state categorizes violence differently. Like in Texas its only violence if weapons are used outside of a duel. In Florida it’s books…just any book is considered an act of violence. In New York anyone that isn’t a Cuomosexual is a violent. You get it.
But it is a blurred line. Robbery is an act of violence whether there was a weapon or a physical altercation involved. I’d say violence is any act that drastically affects your life negatively and creates a cycle of trauma. Homeless people get literally thrown in a cycle of trauma considering they have a higher likelihood of dying early and facing an increased amount of brutality from the general public and the police. They also face the brunt of the effects of climate change. Summers have become brutally hot and they don’t have places to go get shade or water.
Recently in Atlanta, the unhoused in the city formed a union and presented demands to the city for housing, clean water and a seat a the negotiating table when it comes to addressing solutions to this problem. The police decided to arrest and displace the Union encampment. And it’s not like what the Union was asking for was outrageous and neither were they threatening the politicians of Atlanta. In America right now we have enough empty houses and properties to house the unhoused. And its been proven that giving the homeless a home vastly improves their lives and helps keep jobs, stay off drugs and reduces abuse they face.
Besides a lot of unhoused people have jobs…yes jobs as in plural. The reason why our system doesn’t consider evictions and homelessness an act of violence is because the effects of the abuse aren’t immediate. But in a lot of cases they are. Loosing your home and your stuff is an immediate consequence. Just like in a robbery, your things are taken away through no fault of your own and that’s considered violence. In this case the eviction is happening due to a global pandemic that affected people’s income and the government did virtually nothing to help the people and people are losing their homes and stuff and that’s not violence? I guess in Capitalism the only way an eviction is violence is if the landlord punches you in the chest on your way out and you fall down a flight of stairs.
Eviction is the only crime where the victim is punished.
The long and short of it that is Capitalism is manufacturing a homeless crisis that the United States may not be able to come out of. And it boils down to the Sophie’s Choice argument of people or profit. And Capitalism will always choose profit and sacrifice people to achieve that goal. This is a pretty standard move for Capitalism. There are bold actions that can be taken on legislative level that would help average Americans get their financial footing back but that would involve corporations loosing their ability to buy a second yacht. And if they don’t have that how will the rich post their hot beach summer selfies!
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!