MADISON, Wis. — Today, President Trump is expected to proclaim America as the “Land of Heroes.” We agree — but we have very different definitions of American heroes. The real heroes during this pandemic are the frontline workers who put their lives on the line to keep our communities running, which is why we have advocated for hazard pay and the protections promised in the HEROES Act.
Unfortunately, Instead of working to advance this legislation, President Trump has shown that the only people he wants to fight for are the wealthy and well-connected.
Before the pandemic, President Trump’s tax law gave Wisconsin’s 1 percent a nearly $40,000 tax cut, while those earning less than $23,900 got a measly $30 tax cut. Now, coronavirus has devastated our state — more than 1,000 Wisconsin residents have died, thousands have lost their homes, and over 210,000 people are out of work. President Trump’s policies have not saved our state from this crisis, and while essential workers struggle to survive, Wisconsin’s eight billionaires added over $14 billion to their wealth since the pandemic began.
Check out this video of Jarrett, a former JBS beef plant worker, who experienced first hand how President Trump has endangered frontline workers. Even as coronavirus cases spiked among meat packing plant employees, President Trump put corporate profits over worker safety and pushed the factories to reopen. Jarrett asked, “if President Trump cares about frontline workers, why are we forced to put our lives at risk while big corporations get richer?”
President Trump has repeatedly prioritized the wants of the wealthy over the needs of working people. He handed a $2,400 per month pandemic pay cut to almost 200,000 unemployed Wisconsinites, resulting in food scarcity for almost 350,000 households. Instead of expanding unemployment insurance, he approved a $135 billion tax break for millionaires and gave out loans to billionaires like Jeff Bezos, country clubs, and his own Cabinet members.
Listen to Angelina, another essential worker serving as a nurse in Milwaukee, in this video. She shares her frustration with communities re-opening while cases increase, saying it “puts stress on health care workers and all front line workers.” Despite this, President Trump continued to push states to reopen, even as the virus strikes communities of color the hardest. Angelina explains: “We’re going to continue to see Black and Brown communities affected at a higher rate — unless we tackle that, we’re not going to see any changes.”
President Trump may praise frontline workers on camera, but he has done very little to protect them. By blocking hazard pay and prioritizing aid to corporations, it’s clear that his real heroes are billionaires — not essential workers.