A danger at this necessary time for rapid policy-making is a return to business as usual after the COVID-19 commercialhealth and economic crisis past.
Weak protections for workers and prioritization of the company’s interests have kept financial security out of reach for millions of workers and prepare the nation for a crisis longer and deeper than necessary. The priority of lawmakers, rightly, is to prevent economic collapse, but a full recovery will require lasting reforms that can help our economy work for everyone.
At present, jobless claims meet the most dire forecasts. Missing a paycheck sends millions more to food banks nationwide. Low wages, especially service workers, are most at risk. They are among the first to lose their jobs that companies close, and those who remain employee risk exposure to the coronavirus by providing what more of us now understand are essential services that keep our economy moving. Disproportionately, they are Bmissing and brown people.
Some policy makers have recognized the challenges faced by ordinary workers and are putting in place policies to address them. California is trying to reduce food insecurity by making it easier to people To request food assistance through the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for example. More states should follow suit.
A few companies that had little or no benefits like paid sick leave for their low-paid workers step up and offer them now. That’s good too, but it wouldn’t have taken a pandemic for workers to receive rudimentary protections which allow them avid the impossible choice Between take care of their health and lose a day’s salary–or their work altogether. Congress adopted legislation that will address this moment and offer paid time off to some workers, but the Trump administration regulations are already seeking to weaken this protection and permanent reform is missing.
We collectively understand that shutting down economic activity will allow us to prevent disease and save lives. But let’s also be clear about the underlying problem that sendss mmillions of us at food banks after missing a paycheck: It’s not COVID-19. Ethe pandemic did not create the 40-year trend of enlargement economic inequality, a hollowed out middle class and the wages of stagnant workers. The responsibility for this rests squarely with vested interests, corporate forces and their political allies. who facilitated explosive growth in CEO compensation and shareholder value while cutting core worker salaries and advantages.
Lawmakers are working to get the nation through the acute phase of this crisis. But it will take immense imagination, unwavering political will and a fundamental reorganization of our political priorities to adequately solve the problems of the day and disorganize our economy.
Dcut down on CARE Act embodyD structural and politics chalengths
Political debate around the Aid, relief and economic security linked to the coronavirus (PRESENT) Act illustrates deep problems with our polishswan and the ideology behind this. Original bill from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excluded cash payments numerous people and families who were too poor to file income taxes in 2018, even if tHey probably face a more immediate need. Latest $ 2.2 trillion relief package is better, meeting a slice of immediate needs of families and workers and providing money to states to meet budgetary expenses related to COVID-19.
But lawmakers have taken great care to help various industries to a half-billion bailouts. The the airline industry is pegged at $ 48 billion. When the industry, like most other American businesses, was enjoying good financial conditions, It spent excess profits on share buybacks, further line the pockets of managers and shareholders. The Seven Biggest American Airlines paid a paltry average effective tax rate of 2.3 percent over the past two years on billions of profits. Now the industry is invested in the advancement of government to save him. But our lawmakers did not demand that the airline industry and other companies invest in government. by paying their fair share of taxes.
The Trump administration said a week ago that would block surveillance rescue funds, and a few days later, President appointed White House lawyer be the inspector general of the fund. This has rightly sounded the alarm.
If nothing changes, lawmakers who championed the corporate bailout will be complicit in reestablishing the same corporate power structure that has persisted for years, just as they did after the 2008 financial crisis. At the time, lawmakers weren’t asking for much in return for bailouting the financial industry, so we returned to an economy in which Wall Street companies came back in force and the country’s wealth continued to grow. accumulate at the top as workers struggled to recoup their losses.
Political forces and businesses revealed their hands before the bill was passed. Three senators, for example, briefly delayed the relief program because they feared that some workers would receive a little more in Uunemployment Iinsurance (UI) that they were not earningI’m lost works. Let it permeate. The dire predictions that senators knew about are coming true. More than 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, nearly double the already breathtaking record of 3.3 million a week earlier. These figures do not include those who lost nearly all their income, like the men and women who drive for Uber or other ridesharing services or the independent contractors some employ to paint, clean and repair their homes. He doesn’t either include those who cannot overcome the backlog User interface application systems. With most countries are closed, the latest unemployment figures are just a snapshot. But some lawmakers felt constrained in the gallery – no more than $ 500 billion in corporate bailouts –because, in their cynical worldview, a low-wage worker ordered to stay at home could get “free stuff”.
The right-wing media machine supported their point of view. The bill adopted despite their protests, but themy ideology, shared by powerful allies, has already formD too many of our policies. This is a dangerous and false individualistic tale that says the rich are rightly rich, and if you are poor you have failed to enjoy the American dream. At the same time, others lawmakers complained that Democrats filled the legislation with a “socialist wish list.” And Senator McConnell latest Thursday, thinking about the deficit, urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “step aside” on propositions, “to do things that have nothing to do with the crisis.”
The list of proposals that President Pelosi floated these last weeks would be expanding access to housing, creating good jobs, strengthening collective bargaining rights and raising the minimum wage, among others. Those ideas would have bring us to an economy in which Following workers and families have the financier security long denied for them through political and corporate forces. They would mean less of us face severe economic hardship the minute we lose our jobs. They wold make it easier for families to recover from economic setback triggered by the time of the coronavirus.
The good news is that working on change policy and economical paradigm has been going on. EEven now a growing contingent of grassroots advocates are raising their voices, demanding cash, and tell our elected officials that the challenges facing working families run deep and must be addressed. Lawmakers should listen and act with imagination and daring. Recovering from COVID-19 and Returning to a Worsening Status Quo economic inequality should not be an option.