“Washington has lost touch with rural America” is a popular refrain that borders on cliché. It may be true, but the $600 dollar relief checks en route to millions of Americans highlights Washington’s ignorance or, worse, indifference toward Americans living in cities.
$600 would have covered two months’ rent for my half of the two-bedroom apartment in Cedar City, where I lived in 2015. Since then, I moved to the greater Salt Lake area, where the same amount could possibly, maybe — just maybe — cover a half month’s rent for a less-than-ideal apartment outside of Salt Lake, nowhere near work.
It doesn’t take an economist to understand that $600 can be stretched further in Cedar City than Salt Lake and significantly further in rural Utah. Additionally, it doesn’t take a sociologist to understand who is hurt most by one-size-fits-all direct payments: minorities who mostly live in Utah’s cities with notably higher costs of living.
Washington may have lost touch with rural America, but it was never in touch with minorities. It isn’t a matter of opinion that $600 benefits areas of Utah that are over 90% white far more than the state’s more diverse areas. This is likely true across America.
Minorities have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic and will receive disproportionate relief, thanks to policymakers who downplayed the pandemic until they were given the opportunity to receive a vaccine before the people who are expected to survive on the government’s scraps.
Letter: Washington is out of touch with Americans in cities /p>