A Modest Proposal to Alleviate Some of the Financial Hardship from COVID-19
Let us get right down to the point: There is going to be a disparate impact of COVID-19 on the poor (and on small business owners, but that is a separate consideration). Some will undoubtedly find it difficult to pay their bills. We should absolutely not have any who go hungry because they have had their hours cut or their place of employment is closed due to the pandemic. Thankfully, there are many charities that will help to take up some of the slack; however, I would like to make a minor legal proposal to help address this and future pandemics:
Upon the official declaration of an epidemic or a pandemic, all purchases of necessary food, medicine, or hygiene products made on a credit card shall carry an interest rate of zero percent (0%) and shall not be required to be paid back until six (6) months after the end of the aforementioned pandemic. This shall apply equally to credit and charge cards.
Now, this isa basic proposal, and will undoubtedly need clarification and further detailing before becoming a law (should such actually happen); however, I do firmly believe that it would help some of those who are most likely to suffer economic consequences because of the current pandemic. No one should have to worry about paying for needed food, medical, and hygiene items because of the threat of high interest charges or other financial consequences.
Government programs and charities will cover the very poor (who may not have credit cards), the wealthy will — of course — be fine, and the foregoing proposal will address those who would otherwise be largely overlooked. As for the credit card companies, they will fare just fine if this proposal happens to put a small dent in their hundreds of billions in profit. To my mind, this is a non-partisan proposal and should pass with minimal opposition.
For the sake of our fellow citizens, I pray that someone will come forward to sponsor an appropriate bill, and that such bill will be passed swiftly into law.
A similar proposal could — and, to my mind, should — be advanced with regard to student loans, but emotions tend to run high on that issue.