Like a windstorm toppling a hollowed-out tree, SARS-CoV-2 didn’t cause the current recession so much as it exposed how rotten things already were.
Even before SARS-CoV-2, households were struggling. Far too many were limping along without any savings at all, one crisis away from financial ruin.
Debts at every level were at record highs before SARS-CoV-2 came along, and the Federal Reserve was already busy bailing out the US financial system before the virus hit.
The shale oil industry had failed to generate any profits for over a decade before anyone ever heard of Covid19.
The worldwide wealth gap was already record levels before we were forced into lockdown.
What the coronavirus pandemic has done, though, is give the ruling authorities aircover to accelerate all of these trends to warp speed.
Billionaires have been, by far, the largest winners in this story so far. Ditto for mega corporations. Main Street and small and medium-sized businesses have been utterly crushed.
Where the Great Financial Crisis in 2008 could have been — and should have been — a wake-up call to operate the system more equitably and sustainably, it was used instead as an excuse to make things even worse.
No bank executives were charged or even went to jail for any crimes they played in bringing the financial system to the brink of disaster. Accounting deceit, wire fraud, and forgery — anybody remember ‘robosigning’? That was forgery, a felony, and not one charge was ever leveled. Instead, the Too Big To Fail banks were bailed out and got bigger at the expense of smaller, more responsible firms.
My point here is that SARS-CoV-2 has laid bare our true value systems. Some countries have done an admirable job of showing they care about their citizens, making public safety and health their top priority. Other countries, such as mine (the US), have demonstrated the opposite.
When it comes to making judgment, I look at actions much more than words. What have been the actions of the US authorities so far?
- The Federal Reserve swooped in to assure that the wealthy got even wealthier.
- The CDC couldn’t get effective test kits prepared or deployed until months after many other countries did.
- $Billions and $billions were smoothly and rapidly delivered to the largest institutions, corporations and wealthiest households.
- But only a single $1200 stimulus check has been sent to the poorest of American families. Well, most of them, but many are still waiting for their stimulus checks. Every household sandwiched between the rich and the poor has received nothing.
In other words, the Fed has made its #1 priority the preservation of the financial advantages of the already-rich, while the federal government has made clear that public health isn’t really a priority at all.
The unfairness and legal and moral wrongness of this next bit of news stunned even long-time skeptics like myself.
I object strenuously to any taxpayer money, my money, being sent to any and all religious organizations (I’m a big believer in the separation of church and state). But to do so to help the Catholic church cover shortfalls due to payouts to victims of institutionalized pedophilia? Really, that’s just…I’m out of words.
But more often than not, that’s the business the federal government is in: protecting the abusers, not the victims.
Thousands of hedge funds and other extremely wealthy financial firms are similarly feeding from the same trough [ … ]