Congress Acts, But Is it Enough? And Who Benefits Most?

We also examine the critical role of Dr. Anthony Fauci to containing Trump and how vulnerable he is in performing that role. Lastly, a webinar from Next System Project tonight.

On Tuesday, we examined how the capitalist system generally and a privatized health care system more specifically, impede our nation from protecting public health, reducing the cost of prevention and care, reduce our capacity to prepare for pandemics or other health emergencies, yet ensure sustained profits for a very few private monopolies. Click here if you missed Tuesday’s post.

Today, we offer commentary on the critical role Dr. Anthony Fauci is playing in reining in Donald Trump, followed by analysis of who is most impacted by the coronavirus economically and in terms of exposure risk and who and how benefits most from the Senate bailout/stimulus/relief bill.. At the end of the post, we offer information about a one-hour webinar from Next System Project focused upon how nationalizing critical national functions could foster a more democratic economy. Next System Project does some of the best research on how to re-invent our democracy and our economy of any organization I’ve encountered. The webinar is at 2pm MT today. Details below.

Dr. Fauci: Our Only Hope for Containing Trump

Since Monday, Trump has been blathering non-stop about how we are ever so close to turning a coronavirus corner, that Easter is a beautiful day and that maybe we can just all go back to work by then. However, this is the same Donald Trump who claimed that the virus was under control, that anyone who wants to get tested can get tested, and that the corporate response has been perfect.

During his Tuesday press conference, Trump continued this refrain while Fauci grimaced behind him. When offered a chance to back up the Prez, Fauci concurred that while we must be flexible and there may be some communities somewhere in the US that could open up for business, he was very clear: the science will be the arbiter of the matter.

Trump’s ridiculous claims are being bandied about by the media and by conservative elected officials like Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who told reporters that those over 70 may have to just manage on their own as people needed to return to work. Fortunately, Dr. Fauci has been a consistent voice of sanity and credibility, stating last night: “We don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”

Things are going to come to a head soon, as Trump has never been fond of science, bad news, anything that slows the economy or being confronted with reality. And he is beginning to turn the public health response to COVID-19 into a partisan issue focused on his own re-election. Only an extraordinary narcissist could conjure up the idea that health professionals are conspiring to make public health decisions based upon the polls or that the media is reporting on the views of public health experts just to harm Trump’s chances in November.

“I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly,” Trump said, according to the New York Post. “I think there are certain people that would like [the economy] to do financially poorly, because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls.”

Market Watch: “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline,’ says Dr. Anthony Fauci

There is real danger in Trump’s spouting nonsense about Easter. Aside with fueling false hope, such wild claims also undermine the credibility of state and local orders to shut down all but essential business. Yet Trump continues to insist that returning to normal on Easter would be “beautiful” completely disregarding the horrific news coming from New York, news that will only continue to get worse and will, no doubt rain on Trump’s Easter plans.

“Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full?” Trump asked Fox News yesterday. “You’ll have packed churches all over our country. I think it’ll be a beautiful time.” Fox News host Bill Hemmer described Trump’s Easter resolution scenario as ‘a great American resurrection,’ because of course he did.”

Fox News

We should pray for Fauci somehow being able to navigate waters that are as treacherous one could imagine, as he is our only hope. While he can’t possibly keep Trump from speaking nonsense and he may be able to keep him from implementing actions that would ensure a catastrophe, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, even millions.

Low-Wage Americans Most Vulnerable to COVID-19 Layoffs

It is not surprising that it is low-wage workers who are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 layoffs, although I admit to being taken aback at the charts below illustrating that most all of the jobs threatened by layoffs are low-wage. The first chart points to how many jobs are in jeopardy by job sectors. Interestingly, these jobs are also the ones that would be most vulnerable should they return to work, as all of the jobs below involve close contact with customers. So, while these workers are the most economically vulnerable, if Trump were to get his way and they all returned to work, they are also the people most at risk of being infected. The second chart simply shows the total number of jobs in jeopardy and the proportion (95%) of whom are low-wager workers.

Out of 37 million jobs that may be at risk, 95% are low-wage jobs, defined as jobs earning $801.47 a week.

If the president and his cronies had the interest of these 35.2 million workers, they would be insisting they stay at home for as long as the virus is running its course and to compensate them they would produce robust relief targeting them rather than padding the profits of mega corporations. Instead, as the report below, describes, the focus is on propping up Wall St and the 1%. The original GOP-crafted version of Senate bill would have been even less generous to workers and local communities if the Senate hadn’t been forced to incorporate many elements from the Democrat House version to achieve bipartisan support. But as we see below, the final version, offering significant support to working families, comes with a massive price tag with the vast majority of financial resources benefitting… guessed it.

Why the Stimulus Package Isn’t Enough

I’ve read several articles about the deficiencies in the just passed Senate relief package. Counterpunch did it most succinctly and clearly. Click here to read this important Counterpunch report. Among the highlights from the report, Counterpunch describes how the $500 Billion allocated to help industry will includes a House provision to create an Oversight Commission charged with establishing the terms of the bailout for each industry receiving one. Unfortunately, as Counterpunch describes, it will be Trump and the Senate who will appoint the commission members and we all know how good a job that team has done at appointees to the judicial system. When asked who would provide the oversight of this bailout, Trump replied: ” “I’ll be the oversight.” I am not comforted.

Another interesting conclusion drawn by Counterpunch was how much has been made of the $2 T package with only 25% going to industry bail outs. What is missed in this analysis is the huge corporate bailout done quickly by the Treasury and without a vote from the legislature.

“In contrast, however, the Federal Reserve US central bank has quickly allocated no less than $6.2 Trillion so far to bail out the banks and investors, even before they fail this time. And promises to do more if needed and for as long as necessary. It is writing a blank check for the bankers and investors.”

Counterpunch: ” US Senate’s Final Stimulus Bill: Why It Won’t be Enough”

In the end, Counterpoint concludes that if you add together the Treasury bailout of $6.2 Trillion (all going to Wall St) and the Senate bailout (much of it going to Wall St, big Ag and other industries), the American people and small business receive 1/12th of the total bailout. And, as Counterpoint makes clear, the 1/12 allocated to local communities, Main St and working people, is not going to get the job done.

Tuesday, we described how the current health system, both medical and public health, have failed us in this crisis, exposing the craven greed and corrupted values of a profit-driven system. Today, we see the priorities of our political leadership and Wall St: the same greed, the same thirst for profit and the same victims. Us.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne


Seizing the moment for nationalization

When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—hardly a champion of the radical left—this week demanded that the Trump administration nationalize the supply chains for essential medical supplies in order to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic, he showed how far the topic of nationalization has moved from the fringes of political debate to the mainstream. Today at 2pm MT, join Next System Project for a one-hour webinar roundtable featuring journalists Kate Aronoff and Alexander Sammon, professor and author Robert Hockett, and Next System Project research director Thomas Hanna. Together we will explore the surprising history of nationalization in the US, the demands currently on the table, and what we need to know in order to make sure nationalization is used to make a more democratic economy. Click here to register.

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