Class War! America’s False Choice

Muh Poor Oil Fields

Muh poor oil fields!

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal has done us the service this week of openly arguing that their bottom line is more important than our lives.

It’s behind a paywall, but Fox Business was kind enough to provide a free version for our perusal. The headline, ‘Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown‘ vaguely presages its thesis subheading: “No society can safeguard public health for long at the cost of its economic health.

Yes, yes they can. Many countries around the world are running a skeleton crew of essential services to stave off, ya know, a pandemic.

Even worse, this is a false choice – Other countries are pumping capital into the pockets of their citizens, so they can keep on buying things. Because consumer spending is the engine of this whole thing, remember?

In the US, our government illustrates the lie here by dragging its collective feet on this option. Congress would seem to prefer posturing for their vested interests, and Democrats have proven themselves almost as drenched in corporate sludge as their Republican counterparts. Each side tried to pack the emergency bill with ideological goodies, apparently forgetting that this is an emergency. 

Meanwhile, we have President Trump echoing the sentiments of the donor class. The New York Post quotes him as saying, “We lose thousands of people a year to the flu but we never turned the economy off. We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn't call up automobile manufacturers to say, ‘Stop making cars, we don't want them anymore.’

Black Magic

Oh, great Market! Favor us with your bounty!

Classic whataboutism. Putting aside driving deaths as a long-standing problem that needs addressing, these examples are nothing but distraction.

Those deaths don’t happen all at once. If hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, you better hope you don’t break a bone or have a heart attack.

But the forcing of this false choice – Do we save the people or the economy? – Begs the question: Why won’t they just donate a few billion to keeping the damn thing afloat? Our tax dollars have certainly done enough to keep their precious market running.

It betrays their perspective. To the monied class, the economy is not for the health of the nation. The economy is for lining their pockets

And us regular people, we drive the economy with our labor, not our purchasing power. It’s never been more evident that those baubles are to keep us busy. They are talking about sending the lowliest among us back to work, because a recession is worse than tens of thousands of dead Americans.

Sending the young and underpaid back to their assembly lines and waitressing sections won’t protect the old and overpaid. The young are simply carriers, who will ferry the virus home to their parents and grandparents. This is no kind of protection. This amounts to human sacrifice at the altar of Capital, the most flagrant display in recent memory. 

Whither My Castle

Whither my castle?

One anonymous cog on Reddit put it best: “Oh hey honey, I’d love to feed the kids, but I’ve been rethinking the food situation. No family can safeguard its children’s food needs while sacrificing its bank account!” 

Our politicians are so indebted to the market, they essentially work for it instead of the people who elected them. When the rubber meets the road, there are two distinct sets of concerns – 

  1. How will I keep my house/feed my kids/pay my loans if I lose my job and can’t find another?
  2. How will I maintain business growth if the global economy tanks?

This demonstrates the stratification of our society we have all heard about. Stepping outside the bubble of American cable news, voices from all over the world are expressing and discussing what this quarantine means to them. Missed hair appointments, canceled track meets. Personal milestones that will never be. Canceled weddings, home purchases reconsidered. Lives put on hold.

And the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal had the tone-deafness to say this out loud. To suggest that American lives are less important than the GDP. The market is at odds with survival, and we have all been struggling to collectively come to terms with this. Now, with resources suddenly contracting, the market and its minions are trying to talk us into handing over what little we still have.

But only in America. Only in the US are our leaders weighing our lives against Capital. Even the UK, under a conservative

Boobie Gun

Come and take it from me, Capitalist!

government with recently renewed isolationism, is stepping up to help its citizens – the living, breathing people – not just its corporations.

Of course, they don’t live under the enlightened notion that corporations are people. How we didn’t all see that those “people” would miraculously find the front of the line when the time came is an embarrassment to a nation still enthralled with its Bad Boy persona like Marlon Brando in 1972.

Decades of living off the goodwill generated by our past without creating anything vital have caught up with us, and it’s plain for all to see. 

It’s shocking enough to beggar belief. But the message is clear. It’s not just that they don’t care about us, they actively see us as living for their convenience.

Despair was creeping up on all of us anyway, living in a system that has been rigged against us since before most of us were born. This writer is hopeful these shots across the bow will function as the emergency flare that alerts us something is terribly wrong.

As of this writing, the United States has taken the global lead in Covid-19 cases. In a few weeks or months, when thousands are dead and the Toilet Paper Riots look like a charming memory, will we regroup to hold our leaders accountable?  

 

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