As millions of Americans are laid off or lose their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis, they often also lose their employer-provided health care. You think maybe it’s finally time for Medicare For All?
Americans will have to rely increasingly on credit cards, which charge usurious interest rates of 25% or higher, even as the Fed has lowered the prime rate nearly to zero for banks. Any chance that banks and credit card companies will dramatically lower their rates to help Americans in this time of crisis?
Speaking of credit card companies and high interest rates, guess who their greatest friend was in the U.S. Senate. Yes, Joe Biden, Senator from Delaware, where laws favor banks and credit card companies.
Speaking of Joe Biden, guess who’s been virtually invisible during the coronavirus crisis. His handlers apparently think Joe isn’t ready for prime time. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has been raising millions for charity and promoting sensible ideas that are later adopted by the Trump administration.
The DNC, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer don’t know what to think or do until their corporate masters provide guidance or give them permission. Meanwhile, the Trump administration and the Republicans are filling the vacuum, even as they push legislation that supports their pet ideas and programs (restrictions on immigration, further attacks on public education, and the like).
Party-line Democrats want payments to Americans to be means-tested. Yet help to corporations is never means-tested. What gives? In the spirit of trickle-down economics, expect a few drops of assistance to the poor and buckets-full of support for the rich.
Huge crises don’t always produce good leaders. The Great Depression exposed Herbert Hoover and his small-minded thinking. COVID-19 is exposing Trump for what he is: ignorant, lazy, incurious, incapable of empathy, petulant, and vain. Meanwhile, as an alternative, the DNC puts forward Joe Biden, a corporate tool in his late seventies showing signs of confusion and cognitive decline. Sadly, it’s not true that strong leaders arise to meet the moment — not in this White House, not in this corrupt political system.
Americans have been told for decades “You can have it all.” To have “No Fear.” To take selfies of ourselves and revel in our own individualism. Even after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, our leaders told us to go shopping and visit Disney, to consume and party. Now we’re being encouraged to come together, to help one another, to be unselfish, to live a life that’s not self-centered. But in many cases it’s too late. People aren’t listening. They’ve been told forever to focus on themselves and their own self-actualization. And you just don’t flip a propaganda/conditioning switch that easily.
That said, I salute our doctors, nurses, other medical personnel, and first responders. I salute everyone working at supermarkets and hardware stores and the like, serving us all despite the risks. I meet my neighbors on walks and I admire the spirit of friendliness and our collective willingness to help one another. We’re going to need this spirit to get through the weeks and months ahead.
“Keep calm and wash your hands” is a sign I saw at my local bank. It’s not the worst advice. Be safe out there.
Update (3/23): To no surprise, a deeply corrupt and compromised political system is responding to this crisis in a deeply corrupt and compromised way. Truly, this is a national emergency. And what is Congress doing to help ordinary people? Virtually nothing. The Senate’s “relief” package is relief for the rich and corporations and industries.
In this immense crisis, we are seeing the sheer awfulness of the religion of American capitalism.
As Trump has dithered and Biden has remained invisible, Bernie Sanders has led the charge, raising millions for charity and fighting for workers. Why can’t people see this?