Darren Hardy is at an impasse.

He’s the CFO of a Chevrolet dealership in Manchester, and thanks to COVID-19 and general concerns about the world, people aren’t buying a lot of cars. Like 40-50 percent less than usual.

Hardy, who was made redundant between March and May this year, said he was successful thanks to the federal COVID-19 CARES law, which helped him pay his bills, as well as put his loan payments on hold. student until December 31. But now he’s still not making much money, and the roughly $ 300 loan repayment could break him. He owes a total of nearly $ 40,000.

“I don’t know where it’s going to come from,” he said. “People don’t buy cars, they are scared and rightly so. It’s a very, very stressful situation. Everything goes home to roost.

Hardy is one of 575,000 Kentuckians who owe $ 18.7 billion in student loans, according to the Kentucky Center on Economic Policy. He works in Manchester but lives in Owsley County, one of the poorest counties in the country. He sees people having more trouble than him, people who will be stuck once other state and federal programs, like rent assistance and unemployment benefits dry up at the end of the year.

One-third of Kentuckians struggle to meet basic needs like food, heat or rent as the holidays approach, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. At the same time, Kentucky’s COVID-19 rates are to skyrocket, despite Gov. Andy Beshear’s calls to wear masks and new restrictions on schools, restaurants and bars.

In the meantime, here’s what the rest of our elected officials are doing these days:

Mitch McConnell, Washington’s most powerful elected official, has been too busy silently encouraging a tragicomic coup led by “Sweaty” Rudy Guiliani to worry about the hundreds of thousands of his fellow Kentucky people facing a terrible Christmas and an even scarier New Year. McConnell could stop blaming Democrats for the lack of COVID relief and do something about it, but scoring political points is a lot less work and a lot more fun.

(Darren Hardy, by the way, offered to take McConnell on tour to show him the real Kentucky in the poorest counties across the country. “How doesn’t Kentucky get any help from the most powerful man in Washington? He asked.)

Daniel Cameron, kicking grand juries and losing in state Supreme Court fights, is now trying to regain his credibility with a federal prosecution to reopen Christian schools. He has already lost an important case in the state Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled that Beshear has these emergency powers. (I also have questions about restrictions on private schools, while their COVID-19 numbers have remained relatively low, but it’s really not about religious freedom.)

Members of the Republican General Assembly caucus complain about ‘freedom’ and plan how to remove these emergency powers from Beshear, even though his actions are the only reason Kentucky rates are still lower than most. of our neighbors. What’s their big plan to help with COVID-19, you ask? They don’t have one, but freedom.

Other freedom fighters in Kentucky are keep restaurants open and refusing to wear masks, even as the state’s largest hospital, the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Hospital announced on Tuesday that it would close some operating rooms to make room for COVID patients, pouring in from all counties where people refuse to wear masks. Later in the afternoon, two families from northern Kentucky sued the governor to “criminalize” family dinners.

The only good news is that adults are will finally be in charge in Washington, DC with a real plan to stop COVID-19, possible student debt forgiveness, and possible relief act. But you know what’s coming. McConnell and his fellow Republicans, having ignored the national debt to give tax breaks to the rich, have now decided it was a VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM again.

Speaking of serious people, maybe some of these freedom fighters should listen to Dr. Mike Daugherty, a Republican doctor.

“It seems necessary to inform some of my fellow Republicans that COVID-19 is not political football,” he wrote in a letter to the editor last week. “It’s more of a deadly virus. Criticizing Governor Andy Beshear for making tough decisions based on solid science … is patently ridiculous. So, critics, keep your head in the sand. At least that way you won’t be exhaling aerosol particles and infecting others.

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