Patterico's Pontifications

5/1/2020

Mitt Romney Introduces “Patriot Pay” For Some Frontline Workers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:17 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Sen. Mitt Romney has introduced Patriot Pay to provide bonuses to frontline workers earning less that $90,000 for doing essential jobs:

Despite risks to their own health, America’s frontline workers have provided health care, transportation, food, and more essential services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As unemployment lines grow longer, these patriots continue to return to work the next day, some even making less money than they could on unemployment insurance. Congress should allow critical employers to provide Patriot Pay bonuses to frontline workers who earn under $90,000 in essential jobs through a refundable payroll tax credit. This form of hazard pay would complement, not replace, an employer’s responsibility to pay their workers—it is designed to quadruple any bonuses an employer gives to essential workers.

Here is how Patriot Pay would work:

For essential employees that make less than $50,000 annualized, employers would receive a 75% refundable payroll tax credit for a bonus up to $12 an hour.
• For essential employees making over $50,000 annualized, the tax credit phases out by $24 for every additional $500 in income until annualized incomes hit $90,000.
• The maximum tax credit is $1,440 per month, per employee, meaning a full-time worker would receive up to a $1,920 monthly bonus.

Qualifying for the plan:

Congress and the Department of Labor would designate critical industries including, but not limited to, hospitals, food distributors and processors, and health manufacturers.
• Eligible employers will certify that an employee worked in conditions that increased their potential COVID-19 exposure.
• Eligible employers would qualify for tax credits for employee bonuses provided between May 1 and July 31, 2020. Employees must work at least 100 hours each month they receive the bonus for their wages to be eligible for the tax credit.

Romney explained the goal of the plan:

Health care professionals, grocery store workers, food processors, and many others—the unsung patriots on the frontline of this pandemic—every day risk their safety for the health and well-being of our country, and they deserve our unwavering support. Patriot Pay is a way for us to reward our essential workers as they continue to keep Americans safe, healthy, and fed.

In March, Romney had pushed for a one-time $1,000 payment to every American as a way to help struggling families meet short-term financial obligations during the pandemic.

34 Responses to “Mitt Romney Introduces “Patriot Pay” For Some Frontline Workers”

  1. I haven’t looked yet, but it would be interesting to know how many such plans are in the pipeline.

    Dana (0feb77)

  2. I wonder what the list of “front-line workers” will include by the time they are done.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  3. Once you start printing money, it’s hard to stop. The entire Congress has a seat here.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  4. This sounds complicated, and is in essence a tax reduction, which they will not see until the end of the year. Hard to see how this helps stressed workers today.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  5. The way I read it is that employers get a tax break if they start paying their frontline workers bonuses, so it seems like it would help the workers right away?

    Davethulhu (744195)

  6. For essential employees that make less than $50,000 annualized, employers would receive a 75% refundable payroll tax credit for a bonus up to $12 an hour.

    So here is a real-world example. A month or so ago, some of the major grocers announced that they would be upping their workers’ pay in light of the risks and the heavy traffic at stores. I think some of them mentioned a figure of $2 per hour as the pay increase they would provide. So now, under the Romney legislation, I take it to mean that they can offer an increase of $8 per hour and have the feds cover $6 of that on the payroll tax credit. That would be an extra $320 per week for employees working a 40-hour week, and theoretically an approximately $1400 bump in monthly pay. Will it be retroactive to the end of March?

    Cheers to Senator Romney for proposing this legislation, but spending printed money is pretty easy. The hard part for this Washington crowd is going to be tightening up and cutting spending once we are safely out of this. (Oh, whom am I kidding? They’re never going to cut spending; that’s just a pipe dream.)

    JVW (54fd0b)

  7. I think Joe Biden endorsed something like this before and before Biden other Democrats except the Democrats ave the government paying all the money. Romney relies on the tax system

    https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/07/829007895/we-should-reward-them-senate-democrats-to-push-for-frontline-worker-hazard-pay

    The Democratic proposal has two main components: up to a $25,000 pay increase for essential workers, and a one-time $15,000 incentive to help recruit new health care workers during the pandemic.

    The pay increase is the equivalent of a $13 per hour pay raise, that would be retroactive to the start of the crisis and authorized through Dec. 31, 2020. It would apply to workers earning less than $200,000 annually, but workers who make more than that would still be entitled to up to $5,000 in hazard pay. It would apply to vast swaths of the workforce, including health care workers, postal workers, transit workers and airport workers. It would not apply to employees who are working from home. The one-time $15,000 recruitment incentive would be more limited, and focused on health care workers that are experiencing shortages such as home care workers and first responders.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  8. I actually disagree with this plan.

    The priority need to be those who has lost their jobs and to re-open the economy as fast as it’s feasible.

    whembly (f54d88)

  9. “Health care professionals, grocery store workers, food processors, and many others—the unsung patriots on the frontline of this pandemic—every day risk their safety for the health and well-being of our country, and they deserve our unwavering support.”

    Many others like who?! Bank tellers, postal workers, pizza delivery drivers, hedge fund managers… bartenders, pornographers, center fielders, Bible thumpers– and U.S. Senators? Who is to decide–and how– who is “essential” in the life and times of American commerce- a lottery? A Mormon? Donald Trump? Has the old junior senator from Utah ever seen ‘When Worlds Collide’ or “Deep Impact” ??? He’s a Mittiot.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  10. POssible correction: What Niden asked for was to get protective gear to frontline workers

    Op ed in the New York Times of Monday, April 13, 2020:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/opinion/joe-biden-coronavirus-reopen-america.html

    From my talks with some industry leaders, I know that many are already at work on these questions. Mr. Trump needs to accelerate this thinking and make sure it is available to all businesses — including small businesses, not just the largest companies.

    Likewise, I would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, working with organized labor and employee groups, to figure out what protections workers need on the job during this period.

    Getting protective gear to our health care workers and emergency medical workers is the top priority — and one where we are still lagging. But once that need is met, I’d ask the experts to figure out what delivery workers, waiters, clerks and so many other professionals need to be safe. And I would focus like a laser on the racial disparities in Covid-19 cases.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  11. What’s a “health manufacturer?”

    John B Boddie (f7954e)

  12. The administration’s cover-up is now officially underway:

    White House blocks Fauci from testifying next week

    The White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the administration’s coronavirus task force, from testifying on Capitol Hill next week, according to a spokesman from a key House committee.

    “The Appropriations Committee sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week’s Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement Friday.

    White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere confirmed the decision.

    “While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings,” Deere said in a statement. “We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”

    So he can stand there for hours every day as an ornament at Trump’s media spectacles, and cruise the talking head shows morning, noon and night, but he doesn’t have time to take a few questions from Congress since he might embarrass the Disinfector in Chief by giving honest answers.

    Shameful.

    Dave (1bb933)

  13. For essential employees that make less than $50,000 annualized, employers would receive a 75% refundable payroll tax credit for a bonus up to $12 an hour.
    • For essential employees making over $50,000 annualized, the tax credit phases out by $24 for every additional $500 in income until annualized incomes hit $90,000.
    • The maximum tax credit is $1,440 per month, per employee, meaning a full-time worker would receive up to a $1,920 monthly bonus.

    Which, for those who read, answers the silly question of…

    Many others like who?! Bank tellers, postal workers, pizza delivery drivers, hedge fund managers… bartenders, pornographers, center fielders, Bible thumpers– and U.S. Senators? Who is to decide–and how– who is “essential” in the life and times of American commerce- a lottery? A Mormon? Donald Trump?

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  14. Kayleigh McEnany just made a thoroughly Trumpian debut
    A White House press secretary held a briefing for the first time in more than 13 months Friday, with newcomer Kayleigh McEnany dusting off the old mainstay for at least one day.

    And while the briefing carried promises of no lies and featured a relatively steady performance, the old, factually challenged mainstays of past briefings — and President Trump’s own commentary — were readily present.
    ……
    “I will never lie to you,” she said. “You have my word on that.”
    ……
    McEnany also re-upped a claim she has made in recent days, saying that despite early questions about the capacity of the United States to provide enough ventilators amid the coronavirus outbreak, “not a single American has died for lack of a ventilator.” ……Exactly how McEnany can say definitively that nobody has died because of this isn’t clear.
    …….
    Perhaps McEnany’s most provably false comments, though, came with regard to former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump and Flynn’s other backers have in recent days spotlighted newly revealed notes from the law enforcement officials who Flynn lied to, arguing that they had set him up. (For reasons described here, that argument is problematic, at best.)
    …..
    McEnany’s entire performance recalled that of her predecessors, in that she was effectively relaying claims that Trump has made — but claims that nonetheless exaggerate, make up or completely disregard the facts.

    And by the end, McEnany served up a reminder about just who she intended to please with all of it.

    “Everyone should watch the Fox News town hall with the president from 7 to 9 p.m. [on Sunday],” McEnany said. ……

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  15. The White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the administration’s coronavirus task force, from testifying on Capitol Hill next week, according to a spokesman from a key House committee.

    “Who?!?!” – Tedros Adhanom, Director-General, WHO.

    “Doctor Who?!?” – Jodie Whittaker

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. 771 lawsuits — and counting: Wave of virus litigation hits businesses across the U.S.
    Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly amassing in state and federal courts, the first wave of litigation challenging decisions made early during the crisis by corporations, insurance companies and governments.

    Claims have been filed against hospitals and senior-living facilities, airlines and cruise lines, fitness chains and the entertainment industry — 771 as of Friday, according to a database compiled by Hunton Andrews Kurth, an international law firm tracking cases that emerge from the pandemic. The volume and variety make painfully clear that, throughout the United States, the virus has caused widespread devastation and hardship, and that the full scope of its economic toll remains to be seen.
    …..
    Lawyers there put out a call for potential clients in “essential” jobs — grocery store personnel, delivery drivers and bus operators — where the lack of personal protective equipment has been an issue. Kiley Grombacher, whose firm has sought class-action claims, said the response has been “unbelievable” and includes people “in almost all the major industries,” including transportation, retail and health care.

    A number of class actions have been filed, including against Ticketmaster for its handling of canceled live events. One suit alleges the box office behemoth, and its parent company Live Nation, “sought to force their customers to bear the brunt of their own shortsightedness,” according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
    …..
    Torsten Kracht, an attorney with Hunton Andrews Kurth, the law firm managing the “Covid-19 Complaint Tracker,” said that early on, many of the cases were filed on behalf of inmates seeking release from detention facilities. “We’re starting to see those cases plateau a little bit,” he said. Employment termination and wage-based claims are rising, as are wrongful-death claims, contract disputes and liabilities centered around “acts of God.”
    …..
    “It would be fair to say that it’s testing some areas of law that haven’t gotten a lot of attention in, in many cases, decades,” Kracht said. Because of the lack of legal precedent for catastrophic events matching the massive scale of the novel coronavirus, rulings that result from this first wave of cases are “going to be breaking some new ground,” he added. He also noted that any new standards to emerge will likely influence business deals for years to come, with contracts carrying force-majeure clauses that specifically address interruptions caused by pandemic.
    …….

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  17. The White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the administration’s coronavirus task force, from testifying on Capitol Hill next week, according to a spokesman from a key House committee.
    Yeah, because he is too busy bending over his test tubes trying to find a cure. Funny he has time for the fawning media and talk to them but not to the people who represent the taxpayers who support his visits to Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc..

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  18. Given that my darling bride (of 40 years, 11 months and 12 days) is a registered nurse working in a hospital, I can’t say that I would be heartbroken if this passed. :)

    But eventually, the bills will have to be paid. Once people start getting back to work, people who earn a lot less than my wife will be paying taxes to subsidize her, and thus our, income.

    The Dana in Kentucky (a2adc1)

  19. Are nurses ‘essential employees’? Most people would say yes in this situation, but with most states having put a hold on elective procedures, many smaller hospitals, especially in small town or rural areas, have been laying off workers, including nurses. The Appalachian Regional Hospitals, a chain of 13 small hospitals in eastern Kentucky, laid off 500 workers, including RNs, about a month ago.

    The girlfriend of one of my nephews, who made big bucks as a ‘traveling nurse,’ started a job six weeks ago in the Pyrite State . . . and the hospital terminated her contract with another six weeks to go because it has too many RNs.

    The Dana in Kentucky (a2adc1)

  20. The White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the administration’s coronavirus task force, from testifying on Capitol Hill next week, according to a spokesman from a key House committee.

    And here I thought that the lovely Nancy Pelosi was keeping the House out of session.

    The Dana in Kentucky (a2adc1)

  21. Mitt Romney is struggling to be in the spotlight, and this is one way to do it. Lets spend $$$. Give everyone some free money for being “essential”. What about all the people who LOST THEIR JOBS and BUSINESSES because they were “non-essential”?

    I suppose if some of these essential workers were experiencing dangerous conditions that have resulted in a much higher rate of death by CV-19, I might agree. But it should be targeted at very small groups. After all, Loggers, Fisherman, Roofers, Electricians, coal miners and miners in general, have higher workplace injuries and deaths. But the Fed Government doesn’t send them a check.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  22. Congress is not asking Fauci to testify. The Demcorats in Congress are asking him to testify in order to hurt Trump. This isn’t about some noble desire to find out some truth about the medical situation, its just Pelosi and the D’s trying to make Trump look bad.

    Dr. Fauci has more important things to do.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  23. You always get this weird pattern with the MSM. When its a R Congress, then the headline is always “R’s in Congress want X”. When its the D’s in charge, its changed to “Congress wants X”. THey always want us to know that the R’s are in control and wanting someone the D’s don’t like. But they don’t do that when the D’s are in control.

    Republicans pounce and push issue X. D’s aren’t labeled. they’re just concerned legislators doing their jobs. LOL!

    rcocean (1a839e)

  24. Employees must work at least 100 hours each month they receive the bonus for their wages to be eligible for the tax credit.

    Sigh. At least these guys have jobs, Mitt. I agree they should be honored and all that, but the clear and present economic problems aren’t the folks who are working right now.

    Dana, congrats on 41 years married.

    I think there are a lot of good people who need work. I don’t want to subsidize not working. I don’t want to give a present to people who can make ends meed right now. I think the government has spent a sickening amount already. If they want to stimulate the economy, they need to target spending towards projects that create jobs and will support more and more jobs.

    Double the interstates. Add some ways around our traffic clogged cities. Build some grand wall. Give every house in America a gigabit internet connection on the taxpayer’s dime, and free access to a common community college education with rigorous academic standards, but the ability to get a credential in all kinds of professions. Take the money for that out of the programs for student loans (I’d say get out of the business of backing student loans altogether once Americans can get a free education up to the associates level). Encouraging some of these current students to enter the workforce would stimulate the economy and for many, be good for them. But anyway, add programs that build the economy and create jobs that create jobs.

    A fat check for nurses and cops and grocers? I don’t think that helps them long term. It just looks good on the news.

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  25. @13. “Mittiot’s Delight,” Raggy; -stay happy.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  26. 771 lawsuits — and counting: Wave of virus litigation hits businesses across the U.S.
    Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly amassing in state and federal courts, the first wave of litigation challenging decisions made early during the crisis by corporations, insurance companies and governments.

    EFFing liability trial lawyers!!!!

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” It’s supposed to be an amusing joke, but lawyers keep justifying the sentiment.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  27. Some of those civil law cases are brought to enforce contracts, including insurance contracts covering small businesses against losses.

    It’s best to know wtf you are bloviating about before you make a fool of yourself.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  28. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” It’s supposed to be an amusing joke, but lawyers keep justifying the sentiment.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 5/1/2020 @ 6:34 pm

    It’s not supposed to be an amusing joke. It’s something a tyrant said in a play to show how much he was afraid of the law. Lawyers do justify the sentiment insofar as they keep Trump fans pissed off all the time, but tort reform is often a good thing. Loser pays. Improving SLAPP laws. Who do you think should reform the laws though? Apparently not lawyers.

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  29. No, actually it was a peasant rebelling. Jack Cade’s Rebellion of 1450. I don’t know what happened to Dick the Butcher, the guy talking, but Jack Cade, the leader, was summarily hanged by the Mayor of London. Bet he could have used a good lawyer.

    nk (1d9030)

  30. yes that’s what I was referring to. At least in my memory they were lawless guys trying to take over the government (in michigan?).

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  31. Dustin wrote:

    Dana, congrats on 41 years married.

    Almost! It won’t be 41 years until the 19th.

    The Dana in Kentucky (a2adc1)

  32. Dustin wrote:

    Double the interstates. Add some ways around our traffic clogged cities.

    Shades of the Big Dig!

    I new an executive of Aggregate Industries, who bailed before the problems with out-of-specification concrete were exposed.

    The Dana in Kentucky (a2adc1)

  33. Even though I’m Republican, I’m glad Mittens lost. What a strange, pathetic man. The Ulimate Fake Con(servative).

    rcocean (846d30)

  34. Possible correction: What Biden asked for was to get protective gear to frontline workers

    Op ed in the New York Times of Monday, April 13, 2020:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/opinion/joe-biden-coronavirus-reopen-america.html

    From my talks with some industry leaders, I know that many are already at work on these questions. Mr. Trump needs to accelerate this thinking and make sure it is available to all businesses — including small businesses, not just the largest companies.

    Likewise, I would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, working with organized labor and employee groups, to figure out what protections workers need on the job during this period.

    Getting protective gear to our health care workers and emergency medical workers is the top priority — and one where we are still lagging. But once that need is met, I’d ask the experts to figure out what delivery workers, waiters, clerks and so many other professionals need to be safe. And I would focus like a laser on the racial disparities in Covid-19 cases.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)


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