What's new

From superpower to failed state: Inequality and the public health crisis in America

TheTruth

FULL MEMBER
Mar 2, 2014
1,802
-20
3,226
Country
Taiwan, Province Of China
Location
Swaziland
Earlier this week, the novel coronavirus death toll in the United States exceeded 200,000. As the highest in the world, it’s a distinction no self-respecting nation would desire or wish upon another. But there’s another “distinction” other democracies will happily abjure, namely, a history of social injustice trending in the wrong direction.

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a glaring light on inequality in America at the same time as it has greatly widened the wealth gap between rich and poor. A particularly painful upshot of the gross income disparity between social classes—one that is unique to America among advanced economies—involves universal, affordable access to health care.

According to Families USA, an estimated 5.4 million people became uninsured between February and May of this year. The socio-economic fallout associated with the public health crisis has “caused the greatest health insurances losses in American history.”

Tragically, in an era of Republican rule, “The U.S. health care system is designed to fail when it’s needed most.” Worse still, the Trump administration is deliberately deepening this crisis-within-a-crisis.

The myth of equality in America
Contrary to a common popular belief encouraged and perpetuated by leaders of both major political parties, America has made little or no progress toward a more equal society in the past half century. In fact, by many of the most important measures America has become less equal.

This pattern toward ever greater inequality has nothing to do with partisan perceptions or cherry picking the facts. Harvard’s Raj Chetty has developed a data tracker that provides a detailed real-time view of the pandemic-induced effects on local economies down to the neighborhood level.* The data doesn’t lie and what it makes absolutely clear is that the recession and related unemployment rates have returned to near normal for high-wage workers but “they remain significantly lower for low-wage workers.” One chart shows by April, the bottom quarter of wage earners, those making less than $27,000 a year, had lost almost 11 million jobs, more than three times the number lost by the top quarter, which earn more than $60,000 annually.

In the following weeks and months, the gap widened. By June, the recession was all-but over for “high income individuals” while 80% of jobless workers were in the bottom half of the labor force.

It was exactly 50 years ago this month that Milton Friedman wrote a seminal essay denouncing the idea that corporations should have a “social conscience” and arguing that such a misguided business ethic would undermine “the basis of a free society.” If a corporation “takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the watchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers,” it’s game over for American ascendency. It would be Friedman’s views— given a rocket boost with the election of Ronald Reagan election in 1980—that gained the ascendency.

And the rest, as they say, is history:

The promise of vital legislative protections against the excesses of unconstrained capitalism — including the National Labor Relations Act, minimum wage laws, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, antitrust regulations and consumer safety laws, to name a few — were undercut by two generations of ceaseless attack.

Between 1948 and 1979 worker productivity grew 108%; wages grew apace, rising an impressive 93%. The stock market rose by 603% during these three decades. From 1979 to 2018, worker productivity grew 70% but wages stagnated, rising by less than 12%. But no worries: Compensation for chief executives grew by 940% and the stock market rose 2,200 percent!

Donald Trump is not responsible for what happened before 2016, of course, but he has used the prodigious power of the American presidency to double down on Milton’s Friedman cruel image of what America should be. And he has done his damnedest to propel America from its superpower past to its future as a failed state.

Pandemics and people
The Covid-19 public health crisis has shed new light on another fact of life, namely that human nature is not a singular thing. The famous Pogo cartoon is relevant here: “Yep son,” Pogo says to Porkypine, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” As this pandemic has proven so clearly, human nature varies significantly. For some, it means taking responsibility for our actions—like social distancing and wearing a mask in a pandemic. For others, it means the exact opposite—taking off any pre-crisis mask of social responsibility.

The pandemic has shined a spotlight not only on the failings of leaders and elites but also on the most selfish, ignorant, and reckless “ordinary” human beings among us. And it has made them spectacularly easy to identify.

Because of its extremely infectious nature—but also because it is often asymptomatic—it has put the worst of our species—the ones who are too stunted to be heedful of science or respect expertise of any kind—in a position to prevent efforts to flatten the curve. And the smallest minded, many with morals to typify the tiniest mentality, are led by the man at the top with the biggest ego and a megaphone to match.

*The American Economic Association has described Chetty as “arguably the best applied microeconomist of his generation.”




 

W.11

ELITE MEMBER
Jan 20, 2011
14,797
-31
11,692
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
The country is frankly getting what it deserved long time ago. These people who used to laugh and poke fingers and meddle on others are becoming laughing stocks and butt of jokes themselves.

In history there is always incline and decline, what USA is facing is a natural order of things.

pay back is a long over due.

regards
 

Hamartia Antidote

ELITE MEMBER
Nov 17, 2013
21,113
23
15,680
Country
United States
Location
United States
I remember all those threads about $25,000 Covid tests and how expensive favor-the-rich hospital stays will bankrupt millions of Americans.

But then suddenly nothing happened...even with all the cases...where are the hundreds of thousands of expected hospital expense horror stories with our broken system? Where are the shortage of hospital bed stories or hundreds of temporary hospitals needing to be built in record time?
 
Last edited:
Nov 18, 2014
966
0
1,147
Country
United States
Location
United States
Obsolescence, built in or natural is what capitalism thrives on...(natural disasters, accidents and destruction are actually good for commerce as long as people are willing to build, buy new and work for it) it draws on base instincts of people, competition and greed... No wonder, it survived when communism didn't... where extra effort didn't mean more wealth...

In a strange twist of fate... Covid caused shut down of economy and everyone found out sitting idle kills capitalism. It is these people who support the vultures and sharks and their life styles.

No wonder then, that a capitalist mind will seek herd immunity... whatever the cost 200k or 2mil, as long as factories and malls don't close. It was always a haphazard approach and even the shutdown was botched.
 

Globenim

SENIOR MEMBER
Aug 19, 2011
2,038
-1
3,418
Country
China
Location
Thailand
it’s a distinction no self-respecting nation would desire or wish upon another.
I still remember when seemingly half of America was gloating and rooting for it to happen in China and ten times worse just to fuel their inferiority and false superiority complexes about China.

Now they switched to point fingers even against their so called allies India just to assert America isnt one of the worst hit places despite their alleged preparedness and despite the months of completely neglected headstart the huge information flow from China and other countries had given. Not learning anything even as a major second wave is hitting the entire West.
 

LeGenD

MODERATOR
Aug 28, 2006
11,138
49
12,554
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
USA receive a large number of flights on a daily basis (busy airports). It would be virtually impossible to stop a virus from slipping through.

USA have its imperfections no doubt but these critics somehow missed the obvious?

Criticism should be objective as well.
 
Jul 30, 2020
392
-1
150
Country
India
Location
India
In history there is always incline and decline, what USA is facing is a natural order of things.
So, will the "fastest growing" decline naturally sometime? Or may be the decline has already begun but the apostates cant speak-up? Which one is right? One of them has to be, noh?

pay back is a long over due.
China Virus has caused massive loss of lives across the globe. Should there be some kind of "pay back" here too? Oh wait, its NOT China Virus at all. It is just some western conspiracy to defame China.
 

beijingwalker

ELITE MEMBER
Nov 4, 2011
34,388
1
63,912
Country
China
Location
China
China Virus has caused massive loss of lives across the globe. Should there be some kind of "pay back" here too? Oh wait, its NOT China Virus at all. It is just some western conspiracy to defame China.
The virus can earliest be traced back to Spain early last year, the virus arrived in US from Europe, Australia virus cases were from US, India got it from Europe and middle east, None were from China. This shows how China's early lockdown worked.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top