The Pandemic Will Move Most Of Us To The Left
Those on the right of the political spectrum are learning a bitter lesson, one that will be hammered into public discourse until they finally acknowledge it: the private sector isn’t big enough, smart enough, or aware enough to step in when the government fails. And this time, with this pandemic, American governments failed big time. Did the private sector take up the slack? Judging by the millions now unemployed, probably not.
A study in contrast has already been drawn between the United States and a few other “socialist” countries. South Korea is a shining example of what to do right in response to signs of a pandemic. They acted forcefully, aggressively, and early, to coordinate efforts of government, researchers, and business, to isolate the cause of COVID-19, develop tests for it and to isolate those found to be infected. They did not have to shut down their economy in response to the virus. They will have an economic downturn, but they’re not going to have an economic depression as we will.
The dream of the ardent conservative, the one where business steps in when the government fails, is dead. Much of the damage done to the federal government, the empty offices, the brain drain, and the regulatory rollbacks, are part of that dream. We can thank people like Steve Bannon and Donald Trump for a lack of vision to see that sometimes, you’re dealing with something so big, so vast that business is simply not capable or even willing to provide an adequate response to it. The coronavirus is that.
The pandemic has made the need for Medicare for All that much more urgent. In the last few weeks, more than 10 million people have filed for unemployment benefits. That’s 10 million more people without health insurance. And most of them will not be able to afford gigantic COBRA payments to keep their health insurance coverage. Most of the newly unemployed will be more concerned with buying food and keeping the lights on than with keeping their health insurance.
Conservatives believe that people should be motivated to work. Is the potential to be left without health insurance the kind of motivation they were thinking of? Or can we finally cut the ties between health insurance and employment?