Money Can’t Save The Wealthy From The Coronavirus
We’re about to rediscover if natural selection favors cooperation over selfishness.
I’m still looking at those coronavirus charts. Here’s one of them:
We’re now at 35,000 cases so far and only 636 closed, too. The incline of the slope between days is increasing, tending towards vertical. The first death was reported on March 1st. 23 days later we’re at 458 deaths in the United States, and the number of deaths has been doubling about every 3 days. This is going to go on for a while. I’ve seen some estimates that the pandemic could last up to 18 months. I don’t know if we’re ready for that, but we’re going to get ready if we need to.
To the extent that people are suffering from this disease, both physically and economically, is in my mind, the extent to which the top 1% cares for the people who work for them. In other words, the lack of preparedness for this pandemic on the part of the United States is a direct reflection on the policy choices and outcomes determined by the people with the greatest influence on those choices: the top 1%. And the people who suffer most from those policy decisions are the great unwashed masses, the middle and lower classes.
A very public debate in Congress is in progress now. It would appear that some people in Congress have noticed that tens of thousands of people are already losing their jobs and they pleaded for 4 months extension of unemployment benefits. Republicans gave them 3 months. A very conservative faction in Congress is reluctant to extend direct support to workers, but has no problem running a $500 billion “slush fund” for their friends at the top of the MLM called, “the American Economy”. It would appear then, that some Republicans think that supply-side economics is still a provable theory. As we saw in 2008, it’s not.
Big business is pitching a very visible fight in Congress for bailout money. And now that Congress has figured out that the Fed can just add zeroes and commas to their ledgers, the fight is on for the bailout money. According to Matt Stoller, Democrat, Bernie Booster, a contributor to The Guardian *and* The Federalist Society, the fight is on and mostly about which businesses will get the spoils of the Quicken database at the Fed:
CNBC reported that hotels want $150 billion, restaurants want $145 billion, and manufacturers wants $1.4 trillion. And the International Council of Shopping Centers wants a guarantee of up to $1 trillion. The beer industry wants $5B. Candy industry wants $500M. The New York Times reported that “Adidas is seeking support for a long-sought provision allowing people to use pretax money to pay for gym memberships and fitness equipment.” Gyms are of course closed. Meatpackers want special visas so they can undercut wages of their workers, and importers want to stop paying duties they incurred for harming domestic industries for illegally dumping products into the U.S.
Will they buy back their stock? That’s a great way to pump the price of their stock, and CEOs and members of the board of directors are compensated with generous stock options. Very convenient.
Or will they keep employees on the payroll? I’m betting they will buyback stock, despite the language built into pending legislation that would prohibit companies that get bailout money from buying their own stock back. Enforcement will be fun. Laying off employees? Management will ask forgiveness rather than hang on.
How is it exactly, that a CEO thinks that buying their stock back is better than keeping their employees on the payroll? You know, for when business picks up again. Last time I checked, businesses need customers and most customers are employees or they are supported by employees.
You know, this reminds me of the events after 9/11. Of all the airlines still in business back then, Southwest Airlines was the only airline that did not layoff its employees. I don’t what they’re doing now with this event, but back then, they did the right thing and kept all their employees busy until business picked up again. And they profited handsomely for that effort.
I don’t get that kind of sentiment at all from our business elites this time around. I see CEO’s cringing at the idea of paying employees for “nothing”. I can totally see business lapping up the handouts, laying off their employees and buying their stock back. Then when they find that they…wait. Businesses need customers right? So when the business buys their stock back instead of hanging onto to their trained and skilled workers, they may find their income drying up because, ta-da!, their customers don’t have money to buy the stuff they make!
I guess the well to do think they’re just going to their 3rd house in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and hang out with their peers. I mean, the Constitution means still means something, right? Well, they better get really good at washing their hands before they land in their crash pads. I hear that germs and viruses are very good at latching on.
The video above from Mark Rober shows just how easily contagions go from hand to hand in school and from touching one’s face. These little buggers are tenacious and latch onto to skin very easily. They waft about in the air for hours. They survive on steel for days. Soap and water are wrecking ball and bulldozer to viruses. Wash your hands!
And we have learned that if you’re very special, you can get tested, even if you’re asymptomatic! Just ask Rand Paul! This despite a nationwide shortage of tests and a complete failure to anticipate the pandemic by Denier-In-Chief, President Trump. Well, Trump got tested, despite his denials. He’s in good company. So did Heidi Klum, Kris Jenner and Tom Hanks. For the rest of us, testing is reserved only for those showing symptoms like a dry cough, headache, and a fever. If you’re lucky, test kits are available in your area.
In the end, after this pandemic is done, we will know if the people in high places are our friends. We already see their resistance to Medicare for All. We already see their resistance to a universal basic income during the pandemic. We already see the CEOs lining up their shots for a government handout while extolling the virtues of a free market. I think I hear what they’re telling us: “If you’ve made it, you’re good. We’ll see you in Jackson Hole. If not, good luck!”