The coming social disaster in the US is the next wave of this crisis. It will be the ultimate indictment of our form of conscienceless capitalism. Confronted by the worst unemployment crisis in history amid a great health crisis, a vast cross-section of us will suffer grievously.
What will happen if, as projected, 47 million of us are unemployed? What happens in a country in which 40% of the people have less than $400 in savings and the social safety nets are so grossly inadequate? What happens to the 140 million Americans who are poor or low-income?
What happens when tens of millions lose their health care because they lost their jobs? What happens when the government rescue packages created to date offer crumbs to workers and the displaced and the poor and the needy and save the big bucks for corporations and Wall St?
What will happen when the worst of this crisis strikes in the one developed country that does not offer health care as a right to all? In the one developed country that is not meaningfully protecting the income of those who lost jobs as a result of a necessary gov't decision?
What will happen in a country where people of color and the poor are disproportionately hurt by the pandemic and disproportionately vulnerable economically? There seems to be no government urgency about where this all must inevitably lead.
The economic pain some companies are complaining of has the administration talking of "opening the economy" too soon--a move that will cost tens of thousands of more lives and perhaps another $5 trillion in losses to the economy. Premature opening of the economy will...
...not help. To the contrary, it will only make both the social crisis and the health crisis worse. So that is where we are. Our leaders are debating between inaction and the wrong action in the face of challenges that will bring the country to its knees...for years.
What will the consequence be in terms of rising crime? In terms of human suffering? In terms of social division and conflict? We will soon find out. And we will learn that those consequences are indistinguishable from those of failed leadership and...
...of decades of those in power attacking and dismantling and opposing the kind of programs that provide resiliency in times of crisis like this one, that provide for the needs of all within our society, that are guided by both decency and mutual interest.
Perhaps this disaster will awaken us to the immorality and short-sightedness not just of the Trump Administration but of the GOP and corporate campaigns to surgically remove compassion and foresight from our entire system of government and economics.
Perhaps this crisis will bring reawakening to facts that have been clear to every other developed country in the world. Perhaps it will trigger change. Perhaps...if in November those with a new perspective and a commitment to fight for real transformation are elected.
But prior to that, what a Hell we will face together. I hope each of us finds the ways at our disposal to help care for our neighbors even as we fight with new awareness of the stakes to produce the reset and the reimagining of what we can be we so desperately need.
You can follow @djrothkopf.
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