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The Sociopathy of Failed Stimulus Negotiations

Hundreds of thousands are dying, millions are in financial pain, yet Congress fails to do anything to help Americans in their time of need.

We have a sick population and a failing economy. Fighting Covid is nearly an impossible task without a vaccine, mask mandates, or lockdowns — made much harder by the Commander in Chief holding rallies that most health experts believe constitute super-spreader events.

However, fixing the dumpster-fire that is the Trump economy is actually easier than we think, even with the president’s daily bouts of mental instability displayed in 280 characters. All we need is Congress to pass a stimulus bill; it’s that easy. Trump will sign it. He’s well behind in the polls and would love any opportunity to tell the American people how much he has done to help them. Remember his name at the bottom of your stimulus check earlier this year? Good thing that check didn’t come from Trump personally or any of his businesses; it probably wouldn’t clear.

But all jokes aside, for once the problem isn’t Trump, it’s Congress. Primarily republicans, but democrats aren't without blame either. Just this week, Nancy Pelosi rejected a stimulus package that would have helped millions. The fact that both parties think a one-time, $1,300 check is sufficient to get American families through an economic disaster of this size is evidence enough how disconnected they are from the people they represent and how far their thinking is removed from reality.

It’s not just that Republicans don’t want to spend the money or that Democrats are hard-balling for a bigger stimulus package knowing Trump will get the credit and it may impact the election, it’s much deeper than that. If someone can help you during your time of financial need —which Congress certainly can, in fact, it has a duty to do so — but they choose not to, there is usually a reason why. (I’m not going to go into the fact that the US Treasury borrows at negative real interest rates and does so in a currency they print. Bottom line: there is plenty of money to go around.

So what, then, is that reason? Why has Congress failed the American people to such a malignant degree?

Many view the current state of gridlock as legislative business as usual, weighting the costs and benefits of providing more stimulus. But my belief is that this behavior aligns quite well with something far more sinister, something that puts politics and personal gain before humanity: widespread antisocial personality disorder by our leaders. (I know, I know. But stay with me here.) The idea that, with the seemingly insurmountable challenges we face and sufficient resources to adequately address them — as other developed countries have through expanded fiscal stimulus and early lockdowns — the fact that Congress is choosing not to do anything can only be explained by sociopathic behavior by those in charge.

Now I’m not a trained psychologist, nor am I suggesting that all members of Congress, or even Congressional leadership, are mentally insane. What I’m saying is that there is a reason for the apathy displayed, an apathy that is causing unnecessary harm to millions of Americans.

If we were to be clinical, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes sociopaths as showing the following characteristics: “A reckless disregard for safety of self or others...Lack a realistic concern about their current problems or their future...may minimize the harmful consequences of their actions.. [or] indicate complete indifference.“

Does that remind you of anyone? Yes, of course Trump. But perhaps your current representative? Maybe Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell?

Sometimes I think it’s necessary to point the finger. Indeed, it can be a prudent, or even patriotic, thing to do. And while we may have a desire to point a certain finger at the President for making things much worse than they otherwise would be, it’s better to shed light on Congress’s complete indifference to our economic suffering and ask,“if you aren’t sociopaths, then what are you?”


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