As of this writing, the economy—as well as society in many other ways— is melting down. The coronavirus is the pandemic we have long-feared. We are unfortunately seeing the chickens come home to roost in regard to things such as infrastructure neglect, economic insecurity, wealth disparities not seen since 1928, and a government that has been pared down by decades of misinformation campaigns, tax cuts, misplaced priorities, and demagogues in blue suits. It is a very hard time for America. In this blog, I go through a little historical perspective and then call for a major change in the very fabric of American society: a new New Deal for the new millennium.
It’s serious business. Sober truth teller, Nicholas D. Kristof, put it this way:
“This is an interval of quiet when the United States should be urgently ramping up investment in vaccines and therapies, addressing the severe shortages of medical supplies and equipment, and giving retired physicians and military medics legal authority to practice in a crisis. During World War II, the Ford Motor Company turned out one B-24 bomber every 63 minutes; today, we should be rushing out ventilators and face masks, but there’s nothing like the same sense of urgency.”
In my neck of the woods, drive-through testing sites were just shuttered owing to the scarcity of protective gear for healthcare workers. We don’t have enough masks and ventilators and hospital beds. In America? This is the country that put human beings on the moon. We invented the Internet. We invented some incredible vaccines here. We were building a B-52 “Flying Fortress” at the rate of one plan an hour in 1944. Are you fucking kidding me? What happened to our national potential, our dynamism and responsibility, and who has been responsible for falling asleep at the wheel? What kind of political and economic cancer have we created for ourselves?
It’s not just the “doomsday scenario” in regard to public health, compliance with government emergency orders, loss of life, and the fraying social fabric. The very bedrock of our economic system is figuratively shaking under violent tectonic forces. We face a crisis on a level of magnitude much greater than the terrorism attacks of 9/11. The New York Times Editorial Board believes that:
“The federal government has a chance to save millions of Americans from unemployment as the coronavirus spreads, but policymakers must act decisively. Employers, facing a revenue drought, are laying off workers at a record pace. Preliminary data indicates that more people filed for unemployment benefits last week than in any previous week in the nation’s history, shattering a record set back in 1982. The mass layoffs are depriving families of income and, what is perhaps more important in the middle of a pandemic, leaving many without health insurance, too. The necessary solution is a grand bargain: The federal government provides the money that companies are unable to earn, and companies use the money to keep workers on the payroll.”
This is a call for government assistance and intervention in the economic and social lives of Americans big-time.
Trump recently said: “If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.
With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.”
I’m lying. That, of course, was none other than Franklin D. Roosevelt. I never lived under his leadership, and it was not perfect by any stretch. Neither was the man himself. Whatever can be fairly said of F.D.R., he was not a raging narcissist with no capacity to feel tender feelings, regret, self-reflection, or criticism from others, which is what we are currently saddled with. I suppose we have learned well (well, half of us): elect an unscrupulous con man and you face serious consequences.
F.D.R. did say the following: “What do the people of America want more than anything else? To my mind, they want two things: work, with all the moral and spiritual values that go with it; and with work, a reasonable measure of security—security for themselves and for their wives and children. Work and security—these are more than words. They are more than facts. They are the spiritual values, the true goal toward which our efforts of reconstruction should lead.”
It’s obvious to every fair observer now what kind of pickle we are in, not just because of one virus, but because of the vulnerabilities we have allowed to flourish while we watched our sports and let politicians feather their own nests and enact what has lately clearly been an extreme-Right agenda. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez notes:
“It’s important we realize how this virus hasn’t just created new problems; but poured gasoline on the crises we’ve long had. It’s okay if you didn’t see the extreme urgency of our healthcare, housing, wage, carceral, FPol, etc. crises before. But I hope you don’t unsee them later.”
She also believes, accurately, I think, that “[o]ne enormous lesson that I hope people realize in this moment: Resistance to revolutionary policy was never really about a lack of money, or capacity, or logistics. It was always about power and a lack of political will.”
No less than a commendable conversion of conscience has occurred to David Brooks, the eminent author of The Road to Character and The Social Animal. Once a conservative columnist for The New York Times, and the foil to Mark Shields on PBS Newshour, Brooks underwent a major change secondary to his shocking divorce six or seven years ago. Rethinking everything and going very deep, he reconsidered many things. On page xx of the introduction to his new book The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life, he writes: “Over the past few years, as a result of personal, national, and global events, I have become radicalized.” In hindsight, this was predictable based on his prior writings, and the point he makes is very instructive:
“I now think the rampant individualism of our current culture is a catastrophe. The emphasis on self — individual success, self-fulfillment, individual freedom, self-actualization — is a catastrophe. I know think that living a good life requires a much vaster transformation. It’s not enough to work on your own weaknesses. The whole cultural paradigm has to shift from the mindset of hyper-individualism to the relational mindset of the second mountain.”
Indeed, he reveals: “I’ve written this book, in part, to remind myself of the kind of live I want to live.” By “the second mountain”, briefly, what he is referring to is the fact that we tend to spend our lives doing what is automatic and expected: succeed in endeavors such as work, wealth, marriage, children. The usual goods and prizes. However, some, eventually, realize that it’s not about achieving success for the self; that is actually incomplete and, as he found out, vacuous, in a way. The second mountain we have to climb — and this can occur to anyone, at any time — is that of awakening, emotionality, service, and love. We must become the moral beings we have the capacity to become. The means to the goal are indirect, but true joy and meaning and loss of self-consciousness can be the result. I digress.
The fact that folks are being laid off at a stunning pace, and that these citizens are now sans health insurance, only bolsters the argument progressives from Bernie Sanders on down have been making for a very long time. What could be better in a situation such as this as to have done the planning and implementation necessary to set up healthcare for every man, woman, and child in earlier years so that now we would have a functional and comprehensive health care system. I bet there will be much hand-wringing from constituents across the land — many of whom have recently purchased guns, by the way — worrying about what will stand between them and pain, chaos, insecurity, rage, ruin, and death. Nativist and reactionary resentment and anger can well up at a time like this, and civil chaos is now only two or three steps from reaching proportions not seen since perhaps the Great Depression (and acts like interning Japanese and German Americans).
Writer Michael Toms believes the following: “We are at a crossroads; I am at a crossroads; you are at a crossroads. We are in the midst of an age-old story, that of the forces of light versus the forces of darkness. Will we choose the path of fear, anger, and revenge, or will we choose the path of nonviolence and hope?” He was referencing the choices we have to make in the wake of 9/11, so if he were alive today, I assume he would feel we are in a much more momentous time, and, therefore, our actions now are critically important, for our very future rests on them. We mustn’t let the thinking of old be that which we rely to solve our present problems, to paraphrase Einstein. Our future will be no different than our past, should we fall victim to that lack of creativity, that dearth of will.
We are on the ropes now, and we may get knocked out, my friends. As I type, it is March 21st. The NYT Editorial Board urges readers that “To staunch job losses, policymakers need to announce that help is on the way, and that it will be retroactive to the beginning of March. Then they need to deliver that help as fast as possible.”
Whether the libertarians are right: that government is ham-handed and corrupt and obviously cannot help us. Alternatively, progressives may be correct that we should have been making the massive investments in the economy and infrastructure and institutions that we currently are, long ago. Either way it was going to be expensive. But, what’s the point in having amazing wealth in this country if you can’t have a decent and secure existence? Why should Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates have as much money as 160,000,000 other Americans combined? Why should they have access to personal doctors and private jets and all manner of privilege, when 25,000,000 Californians alone are expected to become moderately, severely, or gravely ill this Spring? The Spring of our discontent.
I believe we need a new New Deal to cope with all the stress and strain being put on American institutions, from government to schools to hospitals to the populace. Years of flagging infrastructure investments, tax cuts, government mistakes, the so-called presidency of Donald Trump, and a “me, me, me!” attitude has caught us napping and are going to potentially destroy us.
“The vast majority of the nation’s citizens do not have the power to alter the rules of the market to meet their needs. But to exercise that power, they must understand what is happening and where their interests lie, and they must join together. We have done so before. If history is any guide and common sense has any sway, we will do so again,” former Secretary of Labor Robert S. Reich advises.
One can call such a vision socialism, but that matters not. What matters is what the socialistic approach to reforming America means, in practice. As Einstein said, “…the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development.” Congresswoman Barbara Lee also points out that “[e]conomic security – through cleaner air, healthy kids, safer communities – is a cornerstone to our national security.” Economist Benjamin Friedman adds: “America has made progress mostly when living standards for the majority of the nation’s citizens are advancing. Leaving aside the depression of the 1930s, the opposite has been true when incomes have stagnated or fallen.”
Ancient Athens thought it was the gem of the Mediterranean, a god-protected city that was a nexus of philosophy, architecture, civics, military prowess, and art. Then, Sparta finally won the Peloponnesian War, and crippled it. We face an enemy like Sparta, and like Athens, we have been bled and weakened by seven long years of war, except our decline has been much our own fault. As a society, we have failed to prepare for this pandemic, and made many other unforced errors, and are now figuratively out to sea with no wind. We need succor, leadership, and massive action.
Jamelle Bouie, a writer at the New York Times, encapsulates my feelings well with this: “Washington is, finally, working toward a response. But even the most ambitious proposals are nowhere near powerful enough to actually stop the coronavirus from destroying the economy. To do that, policymakers have to go beyond stimulus or bailouts for select industries. They have to take responsibility for economic life on a scale not seen since the New Deal.” Here is his piece.
I don’t know if we can rely on Trump and his minions to do what would need to be done – either for the main goal he has in mind: propping up the economy long enough to ensure his reelection – but we are facing the threat we face. It causes me a sense of rage, actually, to think of how we were so close to having Hillary Clinton lead us through this pandemic, but as Donald Rumsfeld said, “You don’t go to war with the Army you want, you go to war with the Army you have.” Well, it seems clear we are in a type of war, and though I have grave doubts about Trump, and worry he won’t even allow a fair election this November, he is the president we have, not the one we want. A few hundred thousand voters in a few key states have decided our fate and now we are living with the consequences. But I digress.
I am a social critic, but I also can see the vision that Bouie and others have laid out. We simply cannot go back to where we were two months ago, because a) it will land us here again for some other crisis, be it economic catastrophe (a la 2008), a worse disease pandemic, an alarmingly increased rate of autism and other man-made disorders and dysfunctions, or some kind of war/terrorism/nuclear event.
Here is a laudable progressive vision for America at this pivotal time. It was put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. (LINK).
If we get past this conflagration that is just starting to reach 1,000 degrees as of 3/20/20, society will have been fundamentally altered, and although Joe Biden will in all likelihood become president (though Trump may very well declare that in a national emergency, he can’t step down!), we have to enact progressive reforms to our economic system and to society in general. Perhaps as conservatives face the folly of having voted for a horrible leader and as they rely on government for help and support and guidance, they, too, will get on board with much needed changes. We desperately needed a New Deal in 1933, when F.D.R. took office, and in 15 years he led us through the Depression and a war that we almost lost. Now, however, we need a new New Deal to prevent the decay of our nation to a second-rate “has been”, to stave off planetary disaster by nuclear weapons or climate change, and to ensure that people do not die due to some want or need that we could fill if we only had the will.
We must not let huge corporations feed from the trough of government, which Republicans might not be frightened enough to prevent them from doing (one of the only things that motivates a Congressional Republican now is avoidance of pain). The New York Times Editorial Board cautions: “Boeing, for example, is seeking a $60 billion bailout — which, as it happens, is almost exactly the amount of money the company has distributed to its shareholders since 2013, in the form of $17.4 billion in dividend payments and $43.1 billion spent repurchasing its own shares. The major airlines spent 96 percent of free cash over the last decade buying back their own stock to drive up share prices, living in the moment with little regard to the future. Among the beneficiaries? Airline executives, who sold about $1.6 billion in shares during that period.” When liberals and good-hearted folks talk of healing and progressive goals and love and infrastructure and all that, Republicans get twitchy and predatory.
I am fairly frightened and anxious nowadays. I take heart from Gar Alperovitz’ reassuring comment, though:
“It is instructive also to remember that the fourteen–year period which preceded the advent of the New Deal began with the “Red Scare,” one of the greatest eras of political repression in American history, and that it continued through the deeply conservative presidencies of Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Even so, many of the programs and ideas that became the basis of the next stage of progressive development were refined in the state and local laboratories of democracy during this challenging period, as in many ways were its larger political theory and vision.”
The visionary Renaissance Man, F.D.R.’s vice-president, Henry A. Wallace, said this, and it’s also inspirational:
“The New Deal is as old as the wants of man. The New Deal is Amos proclaiming the needs of the poor in the land of Israel. The New Deal is New England citizens dumping tea in Boston Harbor. The New Deal is Andrew Jackson marching in the twentieth century. The New Deal is Abraham Lincoln preaching freedom for the oppressed. The New Deal is the New Freedom of Woodrow Wilson fighting the cartels as they try to establish national and international fascism.”
Now is the time to look this fierce reality straight in the face, and make necessary changes. We’re fighting for our lives, individually and collectively. Jake Sullivan counsels:
“Just as the Great Depression discredited the ideas of the pre-New Deal conservatives who fought for total laissez-faire outcomes in both the political branches and the courts, so the Great Recession once again laid bare the failure of our government to protect its citizens from unchecked market excess. There has been a delayed reaction this time around, but people have begun to see more clearly not only the flaws of our public and private institutions that contributed to the financial crisis, but also the decades of rising inequality and income stagnation that came before — and the uneven recovery that followed. Our politics are in the process of adjusting to this new reality.”
“From Thomas Jefferson to the New Deal, a more demanding, civic conception of freedom has also informed American political argument. …Recalling the civic strand of our tradition can help us reimagine present possibilities,” Harvard philosopher
I would hate to see America’s light dim, as Athens’ light was, centuries ago. I am not sure if that is pure survival instinct, or because I know America has “better angels” that can deliver us from our complacency, foolishness, gullibility, laziness, and greed. Ω
I did a web search for the phrase “now is the time for a new New Deal” and this Nation article came up in case you want to see their more professional take on this concept (LINK). Ideas include workers’ co-ops, guaranteed basic income, healthcare for all, a significant allowance for a child, a job guarantee, and so on.
Now I offer a few quotes as inspiration.
I will quote Helene Olen liberally because I think her recent essay is perfect for such an occasion:
“Our moment of crisis is decades in the making, the endgame of decades of embracing the idea that we are not interconnected, that it is each man and woman for themselves.The results are all around us: Income and wealth inequality soared. When a global financial crisis occurred in 2008, the government bailed out the banks and financial service sector, while allowing millions of American households to go into foreclosure. The rich got even richer, while almost everyone else fell behind. A majority of people say they cannot come up with $1,000 in a pinch without resorting to credit. “Intent on extracting wealth for an ever-smaller elite, we failed to invest. Corporations put money into stock buybacks, not into their employees or research. School funding fell, and our infrastructure — well, it’s a solid D+, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Roads are filled with potholes, and bridges literally fall down.
Nowhere was this pullback deadlier than in health care — as we are no doubt about to learn. The number of hospital beds fell dramatically as pressure mounted to cut “slack” in the system to meet profit goals. Pharmaceutical companies pulled back on researching antibiotics, while pursuing more lucrative cures (for, say, male pattern baldness). At the same time, they offshored to China production of drugs vital to our national health, heedless of what would happen in an emergency.
We deemed health care itself a profit center and refused to make it low cost and universal.One in 4 Americans say they’ve forgone necessary doctor visits or prescriptions because they can’t afford treatment. Gallup reported that 13 percent say they know someone who died because of the same. Even this week, hospitals were quoting prices of more than $1,000 for coronavirus tests.
It all culminated in the election of Donald Trump.He presented himself as a self-made business guru but, in fact, was a to-the-manor-born serial bankrupt. True to form, when the coronavirus crisis struck, he turned to positive thinking, insisting that only a few had tested ill. That was true — because thanks to his inaction, there were nowhere near enough testing kits. Now, he is frantically trying to bluff his way outof the global coronavirus pandemic.
But the fault is not Trump’s alone. Too many of us were deluded, convinced that we ourselves would be fine while others suffered around us. But it was absurd to think money could protect us from all danger. Viral diseases don’t check your wallet before striking, and they find you at Hamptons summer houses and hidden bunkers alike.
We are all connected. We all need to take on the task of rebuilding our society and putting protections in place so that when the next the crisis comes, we are ready to take it on. That looks like Medicare-for-all. Paid sick leave. A strong unemployment system — one that covers gig workers — so that people losing their jobs don’t run out of money almost immediately.
That’s not a radical left agenda,it’s one that protects all of us. It also happens to be humane.”
How is that for an encouragement of America needing a new New Deal!?
Here is another quote that I hope doesn’t get me intro trouble, but that is just perfect for my argument that a new New Deal is what we desperately need during a crisis such as the one we now face. This is a song called “Closer to the Heart” by the beautiful rock group, Rush, which unfortunately lost its invaluable member, lyricist Neil Peart, two months ago. That was one of the worst things ever to happen to human society, I think: to lose a man as great and inspirational as Peart. Well, I digress. I present “Closer to the Heart”, from the 1977 album A Farewell to Kings.
“And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones to start
To mould a new reality
Closer to the Heart
The Blacksmith and the Artist
Reflect it in their art
Forge their creativity
Closer to the Heart
Philosophers and Ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the Heart
You can be the Captain
I will draw the Chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the Heart.”
Harry Smith of NBC News has some interesting thoughts on our current crisis, and uses a “vision” metaphor:
“America is going through a kind of ‘vision test’; an exam on how we view one another. Do we see only ourselves? Or do we get the ‘bigger picture?’ Those Gen Z types partying on the beach could use some ‘corrective lenses.’ And for the toilet paper hoarders: seriously? On the other hand, hooray for the folks in the grocery stores and the pharmacies and the people who resupply them. And for those on the front lines: nurses, paramedics, PAs, and doctors, gratitude is not a good enough word to express our appreciation. And also thanks to their families, who know with every patient comes some risk. Finally, to the ‘social distance superstars’ who realize keeping your distance is the best way to slow the virus; indeed, our best expression of loving your neighbor. Maybe we should call it ‘2020 vision.'”
“A vial of insulin costs approximately $300 in the USA compared with $30 in Canada. Legislation prohibiting price negotiations for pharmaceuticals, supplies, or equipment has left the Medicare system unable to regulate prices. …The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the capacity to negotiate prices… This bargaining power results in pharmaceutical prices that are 40% lower in the VA than those under Medicare.” ~ Alison P. Galvani, et. al
“It’s not about Trump; it’s not even about the government; this is as much of a test of you and me. We have to be at our best! The good news is that America has always been defined by how she handles a crisis; we are a country that is forged by hard times. Hard times make strong people; strong people make good times. We are strong. And you know what? It’s not just us; the President said today ‘We’re not worrying about the rest of the world.’ Wrong. The world is dealing with it; we’re part of a community. And the world is watching the United States.” ~ Chris Cuomo
“Those of you who sneered at a ‘socialist’ running for president: those checks pouring out of Washington are the epitome of ‘socialism’. Who will be sending theirs back?” ~ Johanna Storer Houman
“Working is part of being human. The person should be at the center of the economy, he says that all the time. Working is central to who we think we are, our worth as human beings, our making a contribution to the society. It’s just heartbreaking to the pope, and to many of us, that there are millions and millions of people all around who are yearning to work—and they don’t have jobs. As one of your guests already mentioned, 30 percent in Spain, 40 percent in Italy, 25 percent of black people living in America. They want to work not just to earn a salary…but because that’s the way you are a part of the human enterprise.” ~ Harvey Cox
“It used to be right vs. left, or liberal vs. conservative; now it’s truth vs. lies.” ~ Gary Kasparov
“Everyone be safe, be smart, be kind, be calm, enjoy time with loved ones and think of others. Take this opportunity to spend some time on the phone, Skype or face time chatting with a Grandma, Grandpa or any senior you know that may be feeling isolated or lonely. Brighten someone’s day with a nice upbeat conversation. We’re all in this together.” ~ Robert L. Lloyd
“The coronavirus crisis teaches two critical climate lessons: 1) We can afford a Green New Deal. 2) When we agree as a society that something is an emergency, we come together to address it. The only thing blocking climate action is our collective choice not to act.” ~ Peter Kalmus
“In reality, any careful reading showed that the New Deal policies substantially ameliorated the effects of the Great Depression for tens of millions of people. The major economic failing of the New Deal was that President Roosevelt was not prepared to push the policies as far as necessary to fully lift the economy out of the Great Depression.”
“I’m experiencing democracy grief. For anyone who was, like me, born after the civil rights movement finally made democracy in America real, liberal democracy has always been part of the climate, as easy to take for granted as clean air or the changing of the seasons. When I contemplate the sort of illiberal oligarchy that would await my children should Donald Trump win another term, the scale of the loss feels so vast that I can barely process it.” ~ Michelle Goldberg
“It looks like Biden will secure the nomination, but Sanders won the policy argument. Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina support Medicare for All; Democrats in California, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia support free college. And the future of the Democratic Party — the youngest voters — are with Sanders. If Biden goes on to win the White House, there’s real space for the pro-Sanders left to work its will on policy. It can use its influence to steer Biden toward its preferred outcomes. It can fulfill some of its goals under the cover of Biden’s moderation, from raising the minimum wage nationally to pushing the American health care system closer to single-payer.” ~ Jamelle Bouie
“In the worst-case scenario, will social services collapse in some areas? Will order fray? Gun sales are increasing, because some people expect chaos and crime. The United States is in a weaker position than some other countries to confront the virus because it is the only advanced country that doesn’t have universal health coverage, and the only one that does not guarantee paid sick leave. With chronic diseases, the burden of these gaps is felt primarily by the poor; with infectious diseases, the burden will be shared by all Americans.” ~ Nicholas D. Kristof
“Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
“From the mid-20th century until the 1970s, American corporations shared a belief that they had a duty not only to their shareholders but to their workers, their communities and the country that created the economic conditions and legal protections for them to thrive. It created an extremely prosperous America for working people and the broad middle of the country. But over the past several decades, corporate boardrooms have become obsessed with maximizing only shareholder earnings to the detriment of workers and the long-term strength of their companies, helping to create the worst level of income inequality in decades.”
“For many people, talk of virtue in politics brings to mind religious conservatives telling people how to live. But this is not the only way that conceptions of virtue and the common good can inform politics. The challenge is to imagine a politics that takes moral and spiritual questions seriously, but brings them to bear on broad economic and civic concerns, not only on sex and abortion.”
“Most countries are proud to have a health care system. It’s an organized way of helping the sick and infirm—a mark of genuine civilization. Not so here, alas, where the health system is rapidly becoming a health hazard.”
“The essential challenge is political rather than economic. It is impossible to reform an economic system whose basic rules are under the control of an economic elite without altering the allocation of political power that lies behind the control.”
“The achievements of liberalism were everywhere visible: the robust growth of the American economy, stabilized (at times at least) by the active use of Keynesian policies; the gradual expansion of the New Deal welfare and social insurance system, which had lifted millions of elderly people (and many others) out of poverty; and beginning in the early 1960s, the alliance between the federal government and the civil rights movement, an alliance that most white liberals believed gave liberalism a powerful moral claim to accompany its many practical achievements.”
“Donald Trump has been an exceptional leader when it comes to addressing the coronavirus: exceptionally incompetent. He has exemplified the proud tradition of American exceptionalism, by which Americans believe that they are an exception to the rules that apply to the rest of humanity.” ~ John Feffer
“The Trump administration could have begun to use a functioning test from the World Health Organization, but didn’t. It could have removed regulations that prevented private hospitals and labs from quickly developing their own tests, but didn’t. The inaction meant that the United States fell behind South Korea, Singapore and China in fighting the virus.” ~ David Leonhardt
“We dedicate ourselves to working with our neighbors, near and far, day in and day out, to building that peaceful society in which the tragedies we have known are a bad memory and a continuing warning.”
“Inequality is, to a very large extent, the result of government policies that shape and direct the forces of technology and markets and broader societal forces. There is in this a note of both hope and despair: hope because it means that this inequality is not inevitable, and that by changing policies we can achieve a more efficient and more egalitarian society; despair because the political processes that shape these policies are so hard to change.”
“While safeguarding people’s health and providing treatment to all afflicted are our overriding priorities, it may also be time for us Americans, beginning with parents, to recognize just how demanding, difficult and indispensable the work of the public school teacher is and that a school teacher deserves to be paid much more than the median salary, which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $58,230 for an elementary school teacher in the U.S. Recalling McCain’s rule, a congressman — bad or good — is paid $174,000 a year.” ~ Mark Shields