The Urgency Of Now: We Must Create Policies For The People
We are living in a dystopia in the United States. The Pandemic of 2020 will be known as the straw that broke the camel’s already splintering back.
Our economic model has failed us.
We are entering a Global Depression that will likely be similar to the Great Depression of the 20th century.
Entire industries that rely on large gatherings of people, like the events industry (including sports events, movie theaters, zoos and museums, hotels, etc) and the restaurant and dining industry, face collapse.
The oil industry, a foundation of trading and other economic predictions, lending, budgets etc, has crashed.
Over 30 million people, representing 10% of the entire population of the U.S, are unemployed and millions more are likely not being counted.
More than 70% of jobless Americans did not receive March unemployment benefits.
In April, over half of low income American workers said they or someone in their household “had lost a job or taken a pay cut as a result of the pandemic.”
Creditors are attempting to seize the already meager $1200 stimulus pay from many, when the median rent in the U.S. is $1,500 per month. Puerto Ricans have received no stimulus check. 1.2 million American citizens wont get checks because they are married to immigrants.
We have not built an economy were workers can save and weather economic storms. Most Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency without using debt or selling belongings.
State budgets are in freefall and states cannot declare bankruptcy. In CO, we face a $3 billion dollar budget shortfall.
Against all expert advice, the most economically vulnerable amongst us, in service positions, small business workers, etc, are being made to return to work at their own risk.
We are struggling mentally.
The psychological effects of extended stay at home policies are understudied and undertreated.
Schools and universities will not be able to operate has they have been with large gatherings of students, and parents are overwhelmed with remote work, parenting, and remote teaching.
Our already struggling collective mental health is at risk.
The Federal government has abandoned us.
The Trump Administration and the Republican controlled Senate continues to run like a criminal enterprise, filtering public money to private entities, giving tax cuts to the wealthy and planning additional cuts, unconcerned with the deaths and suffering of others. Trump’s response to the pandemic has been shocking to a degree not thought possible:
· Dismantling the pandemic response team, and replacing it with his un-elected son in law
· Ignoring briefings about the global pandemic, choosing instead to golf and a call COVID-19 the “Democrat’s new hoax”.
· Commandeering medical supplies purchased by states, then giving those medical supplies to private companies to sell back to states.
· Forcing states to bid against the feds and each other for medical supplies.
· Designing a “relief” program that filtered funding for small businesses to corporations and eliminating oversight.
· Paying a bankrupt company with no employees $55 million for N95 masks it doesn’t manufacturer.
· Making irresponsible and baseless claims about COVID-19 cures, out of personal interest, and suggesting injections of bleach or light, showing a frightening lack of basic biological knowledge.
· Destroying the rule of law and legal oversight by firing inspector generals.
· Relying on the Senate to install favorable judges amid the pandemic to secure power (25% of all circuit court judges are now Trump appointees).
· Trying to prevent his loss in 2020 by any means necessary, including fighting against Americans receiving mail-in ballots during a pandemic, and trying to deny resources to the struggling USPS.
· Using this crisis to continue their campaign of xenophobia and harm to immigrants.
Marginalized communities are being devastated.
Native American tribes have received none of the 8 billion in aid they were promised.
Black Americans are facing the brunt of the pandemic due to a combination of bias, neglect, and systemic issues.
Black and Brown people are being over-policed, while white people not obeying social distancing rules are treated with deference, even as they invade closed public property, physically attack police, and carry guns to protests.
Elders are being asked to die to protect the economy.
People with disabilities face discrimination and struggle to get care.
The rush to “return to normal” is an illusion.
COVID-19 is real, dangerous, and we are just beginning to understand its effects on the body.
We are at best 12 to 18 months away from a vaccine being developed and tested for COVID-19.
That does not include the time it will take to produce and distribute a vaccine once one is found.
We continue to have inadequate personal protective equipment and inadequate testing capacity and will not for many months.
We cannot wait any longer. We demand state and federal elected and public officials rise to meet the needs of their communities. We demand you work on the following policies for immediate implementation, with direct involvement from marginalized communities and constructed with equity principles:
Universal healthcare for all permanent residents and citizens of the U.S.
Universal basic income of at least $2,000 per month
Guaranteed housing for individuals and families
Government subsidized childcare
We cannot and should not return the world that led us to this place. We must build a new and better world where human life, and the planet that sustains it, are valued, supported, and given the tools and opportunity to thrive. #policies4thepeople