And today I see the threads about the Assisted Living Center in New Jersey and photos of the infected and assumed infected and I hear stories from all angles about how "America NEEDS to get back to work" and "Open for business" and "Controlled Infections" and I am in the same level of despondence as I was that day.
Then, I was the father of a then-6 year old who was the same age as many who were slain at Sandy Hook, and my heart was ripped from my chest and the sucking wound has never really healed...now my little girl is becoming a young woman and I am reminded DAILY how much of a shot to the nation's soul that horror was...
Today, those residents are the same age as my parents, and my parents are not yet in assisted living, but are on a path to require such care in the coming months or years (if we all survive this)...I see assholes like Hannity, Beck and Patrick saying things like 'they should die glad to die for the economy' and I want to rip their throats out...
WTF happened to America in the last 20 years? How did we ever get to this low point, this catastrophe, this void of leadership?
I'm sorry, but my depression is really settling in and overwhelming me right now...I can't see how this country EVER recovers or becomes better than it was once, and we're a long, long way from even breaking even again.
This CAN'T be how things like life and death and family and aging are discussed and dealt with - in naked $ and cents figures, as if we are all just entries on a ledger and someone needs us and our families to go so their 'value' can increase?
I want to hug those obviously traumatized residents and workers and the worst thing is not only can I not do so, they can't get hugs from anyone in that scenario.
This can't be real...it just can't be.
This idea that "the cure can't be worse than the disease"...I want to choke the motherfuckers that are running around parroting this as if it were humane or anything but a monstrous clarion call to place profits over people forever.
I swear to god, the next time a Republican hypocrite even TRIES to utter the phrase "pro-life" NEAR me, there is going to be a jaw broken and it won't be mine. They can ram that line of bullshit straight up their ass, through their intestines, into their stomachs and right out their filthy fucking hypocrite mouths.
Pro-Life? FUCK YOU, you anti-women, anti-elders, pro-profit pieces of shit. Seriously, FUCK. YOU.
NO WAY, BILL!!!
YES WAY, TED!!!
The facts are that no one knows what to do in this situation because no one is asking or considering the right questions. IF you're goal is to temporarily stabilize the status quo system in the hopes of returning to "business as usual" soon, then the correct things to do are to:
1) freeze all foreclosures and simply add on an extra month of payments or restitution for the number of months of protection/stagnation this requires; keep people in homes, keep businesses in place and keep from a destructive momentum that would wipe out jobs, businesses and local economies simply to grant landlords the titles and restitution in the face of this disaster. During this time landlords and debt holders could be provided with principal payments, but would have to forego interest payments until the economy is restarted...we're trying to keep people and businesses WHOLE, not ENGORGED or MAXIMALLY PROFITABLE...
2) provide direct financial assistance to the public only when it is done as a pass-through for wage replacement on a sliding scale that basically provides all workers (and bosses and owners) Federal Minimum Wage benefits for the duration of the shut down...I'm sure many people would be wishing that $15/hr. minimum had gone through, but we can put a floor under people, not necessarily the entire structure though...
3) Criminalize ANY profiteering, price gouging, or stock buy back style executive enrichment during this time AND for the immediate 6 months after the crisis abates...those at the top are going to have to share in the pain of those at the bottom if we want to retain a civilized society and not fall into a totalitarian nightmare or dystopian anarchy in many areas. This is being bandied about as a 'war footing', well war profiteering was one of the ugliest charges a person could face in the 1940's, so it should be treated the same here and now...
4) Food distribution and the food preparation and delivery system should be prioritized to kick in as soon as the need becomes overwhelming...like now or next week at the latest; one of the ways to help people in this time of need is to eliminate the worry of where the next meal is coming from...keeping people from being overcome by fear is a great challenge, but keeping HUNGRY people from mob violence and social disintegration is even harder still. I have heard literally NOTHING about this challenge from anyone in Congress or the office of POTUS or the media for that matter...this is a major oversight and needs to be addressed ASAP...
5) Medical care for non-COVID19 patients...if nothing else, this crisis is shining a very ugly spotlight on the shortcomings of the medical system in the USA - the "best in the world"...supplies are critically under stocked and under produced to pretend like they are any other commodity unit in a business warehouse textbook. You cannot have the 'best in the world' ANYTHING without the 'Best in the World PLANS and CONTINGENCIES"...nurses, practitioners, aides and staff are being run through a wringer right now because admins and bean counters values PROFITS over PEOPLE (not solely their fault...it is endemic to the entire economic system). Without a massive allocation of resources to these hospitals and clinics and offices, there will be suffering and deaths and a ripple effect through the overall economy and society.
And that's just to duct-tape this whole thing together long enough to GET TO THE NEXT PHASE - rebuilding a NEW economy from the ashes of this one... This idea that Trump (or ANYONE) could simply decree that things go 'back to normal' ignores the very reason this thing is as bad as it is - FEAR. Yelling at a scared animal is not going to make them do what you want them to...and demanding that "the economy be restarted" is not something the President can make happen...open the doors? Maybe...get people to gladly risk infection for the profits of someone else? Doubtful...
This is an opportunity for bold proposals and policy ideas to come forth and to redesign a new economy for Q3-2020 and beyond, a new start on how governments, people and businesses SHOULD interact and staff and stock; as well as a thorough review of the impacts of this on the current economy to enhance building a new one from its ashes. Anyone else holding their breath waiting for THAT outcome? Didn't think so....
This is an inflection point in human history. I know, I know...over the top...nutty talk....conspiracy muck-a-muck...
I am serious.
This is a once in every 80 years chance to reset the economic model, to simply change the system and start in a new direction. This is not going to set off a recession, we are going straight to depression and its going to be brutal, but the end HAS TO BE an empowerment of WORK and WORKERS and SOCIETY and a sidelining or devaluing of CAPITAL, WEALTH CONCENTRATION and OWNERSHIP.
COVID-19 has exposed the lie at the heart of the global economy - namely that 'trickle down' anything is a good thing or a viable option in an interconnected world. Wealth concentration is simply going to HAVE to give way to Wealth confiscation and mandatory societal redistribution. It is going to be that, or it is going to be bloody, pointless war in an effort to prop up a dead philosophy - unregulated, unfettered capitalism.
Certain sectors are waaaay over due for a purge and re-prioritization:
Making money off of leveraging money over other human beings? This is not going to end well for them...usury laws are going to come back in a very, very large way. People currently holding worthless IUOs of unsecured debt (credit card companies, vampire-like student loan debts) are going to be forced to take a severe haircut in both their wealth and their status within a healthy society...I'm sorry, but this has happened before - to my dad. In the 1960's, he made the choice to obtain an engineering degree and went to work for one of the top companies in the country at the time - Bethlehem Steel, a Fortune 500 juggernaut of the 1960's economy. Fast forward to the 1990s...after a lifetime dedicated to the company and the industry, domestic steel bankruptcies cut my father's retirement assets and benefits to pennies on the dollar and forced him into early retirement...he was NOT alone, as an entire industry shed "legacy costs" and cut or dropped promises to employees, retirees and those who helped build this nation...
Well bankers, guess for whom the bell tolls now?
Profiteering off of human misery - whether in property loss, health care denial and rationing or disasters?
Ghoulish and doomed for relegation to the ashcan of history. We need nationalized healthcare to provide a viable response for emergent disease and for an aging population and a debt-riddled youth. This is an abomination to force people into bankruptcy for health care or for simple bad luck in diseases or accidents or both. This extends to other forms of insurance too - home, auto, fire, unemployment? There is never a single instance where I have know people to tell me how much they LOVE their insurance billing process or benefit approval reviews.
Placing value in land ownership over social preparation for catastrophe? That dog won't hunt any longer... Rent is astronomical and pricing many people out of downtown areas and into exurbs and 2 hour commutes - 1 way! The land is not for one person or one group or one hedgefund to "own"...it is part of the national character and a natural benefit to the people of the nation and those we invite to join us through a fair and sane immigration policy...
The F.I.Re. sector of the economy is dominant in attention, political clout and portion of the pie they consume, hoard and keep. It is not time to abandon all capitalism - small businesses need protection and government intervention to promote local employment and local distribution of food and circulation of capital. Once the unearned, non-productive "profits" of these leaches is clawed back and then reinvested into a new economic model.
This was the kind of environment that spurred FDR's New Deal - and many ideas they tried then failed miserably, but they kept at it and kept at it and kept at it and totally transformed the world in the offing. The alternatives - fascism and totalitarianism were ascendant; but they were beat back and an unprecedented boom in the economy was achieved - WITH a top marginal tax bracket of 90%!
WE have done it before, We, the people, need to do it once more to save this experiment in self-rule again.
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