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  • Writer's pictureRegan Byrd

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.

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.

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:

· Ignoring briefings about the global pandemic, choosing instead to golf and a call COVID-19 the “Democrat’s new hoax”.

· Forcing states to bid against the feds and each other for medical supplies.

· 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.

Black Americans are facing the brunt of the pandemic due to a combination of bias, neglect, and systemic issues.

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.

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

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