The working class of the United States of America has been exploited for decades, and the current pandemic shows the cold truth crystal clear. Change is long overdue, and now more than ever the time is right to demand it. Temporary change is not the goal, it must be stamped in and leave a long-lasting imprint!
Note: This entry is quite polemic
As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, the government of the United States cares little about its citizens. Over 250,000 people have died at this point, but it won’t stop there.
Thousands of more innocent lives will be taken due to the incompetence of Donald Trump and his administration.
Moreover, a stimulus bill may not pass until next year in January, despite thousands – if not millions – of US-Americans facing an eviction due to losing their job and therefore receiving no income anymore. Not to mention that 30.7 million are not covered by health insurance (up by 7.34% from 2015).
And while the working class of the US suffers from the 100-year pandemic and the unemployment hit 40 million, the billionaires got wealthier. That’s not the first point, as an article of Business Insiders points out:
„This isn’t the first time billionaires have seen gains while a large portion of Americans were feeling losses. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, home prices fell 21% and roughly 3.1 million homes were foreclosed on in the United States. The stock market plummeted by over 50%. And by the end of 2009, 8.8 million Americans had lost their jobs. And the effects lingered. From 2009 to 2012, the incomes of the bottom 99% grew by only 0.4%, but the income of the top 1% grew by a staggering 31.4% in the same time span. And it all ties back to two things.“
It doesn’t end there, because even small businesses suffer, as the article elaborates on it:
„Which brings us back to the moment when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the economy. In 2019, the Fed reported that four in 10 Americans didn’t have enough cash in their bank accounts to cover a $400 unexpected expense. And in the first few months of 2020, 40 million Americans found themselves unemployed due to COVID-19. Many small businesses had to close due to lockdowns and social distancing, while others were forced to try to operate with entirely remote staff.
The Small Business Administration made $349 billion available to small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program. But like in 2008, $243 million of that was snapped up by large, publicly traded corporations, some of which were valued at over $100 million. Even hedge funds submitted claims to try to tap into what they saw as free money.“
Then, there’s the tax problem which is pointed out by Woods as well:
„And it’s not just Amazon. Taxes paid by billionaires have decreased 79% since 1980. And those are just the legal avenues that the wealthy take to avoid paying taxes. In 2017, researchers estimated that about 10% of the world’s GDP was stashed in offshore tax havens. A study in 2012 found that as much as $32 trillion was being held offshore by the world’s wealthiest people.“
The decrease in taxes aligns with the election of Ronald Reagan and his neoliberal policies which crushed worker unions and contributed to the inequality we see today. Trump’s tax cut is another contributor to the income and wealth inequality. His deregulation wave and anti-environment policies are designed to help the big industries. Here are 75, many of whom directly impact the people (e.g. polluted water and air which decreases life expectancy):
While Biden can repeal some of these, it is unlikely that the general course of the US-government will change. The Democrats may be better on environmental policies, but there’s no real interest to go much further than during the Obama years (except for the progressive Democrats like AOC). That’s unfortunate, because the article of Business Insiders says that there’s a solution to the problem with the taxes:
„So, after reviewing all this, what can be done to help level the playing field? A recent report by the Institute for Policy Studies lays out several action items. It suggests forming a pandemic profiteering oversight committee that would go beyond the oversight of federal stimulus money. It also supports the Corporate Transparency Act, which would create stronger regulations to prevent US billionaires from using shell corporations to hide their income. After the House passed the bill in 2019, it was introduced in the Senate but has not been brought to a vote.
Other suggestions include an emergency 10% millionaire income surtax, a stimulus package aimed at funding charities, instituting a wealth tax, and reducing the amount allowed by the gift and estate tax. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the report underscores the need to shut down the global hidden-wealth economy. The US alone is estimated to lose nearly $200 billion in tax revenues to offshore havens each year. That’s roughly three times the amount of all the money budgeted for the Department of Education in 2021.
Changes like the ideas above are global in scale and require political cooperation to become reality. If the relationship between wealth and income inequality are ever going to change, it’s going to require all of us.'“
Climate change – a scientifically proven fact – occurs due to greenhouse gas emissions emitted by humanity, which in turn also affects humanity – and it is going to hit those the hardest who have less resources (both in the US and worldwide).
The executive summary of the Climate Science Special Report of 2017 states:
„This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.“
Therefore, tackling the environmental crisis also means combatting poverty and drastically reduce income and wealth inequality. Naturally, the government needs to step in to fund public transport, healthcare (which would actually save money for the US) and implement a progressive tax policy. International cooperation is required to get the tax havens under control and ensure that the top 1% don’t flee from their social responsibilities. After all, they didn’t get rich by sitting on the couch and doing nothing. They employ people who need a way of transport to get to their job; they need shelter, food and water to survive; infrastructure – both digital and physical – is necessary to communicate and get from A to B without problems; the working people also need healthcare coverage without having to fear bankruptcy or medical debt (= less stress and better access to healthcare also improves chances to survive more severe illnesses, or in this case also a deadly virus like SARS-CoV-2); and so on and so on.
Investing in a green economy would not only ensure a smooth transitioning to cleaner energies and a less polluted planet for future generations, but it could also add $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030. Of course, that means a program for workers to go from one economic branch to another must exist to make sure that no one gets left behind.
For that to happen, the working class must realize that they have the power to change the system. While the participation in elections is of great importance, likewise is the activity in political organizations, further educating oneself on various topics, or doing community work. There are various ways to be active in a democracy, and it is good to induce change whether it is on a local level (a village, town or city), on state-level or nation-wide.
No one shall be neglected!
Neoliberalism must end!