The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the near shutdown of the service industry. This has similarly led to mass unemployment in nearly every industry. Further, many people seeking work are now finding HR departments aren’t hiring, and many workers doing freelance/commission work have seen a standstill in project requests. Many of these people do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Without a freeze on rents and mortgages, we are hurtling straight for a housing crisis.
Are we a failstate?
Hurtling towards a housing crisis
We faced a housing crisis in the early 2000s, and the government bailed out the banks, leaving regular people homeless and/or in insurmountable debt to this day. All of this talk of delaying rent payments means working Americans are going to be forced to shoulder the burden of this pandemic, while there is already talk of massive corporate bailouts.
Further, members of the House and Senate traded stocks in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in the States, protecting their assets rather than the American people. This is both Democrats and Republicans doing this! The Democrats even held presidential primaries during the outbreak…how is this acceptable to ask older or more vulnerable folks to come out to vote during a pandemic? How is it acceptable to ask younger, healthier folks to risk the health of others if they want to vote? The two candidates largely differed in their stance on healthcare reform, an incredibly important topic considering the current pandemic, and the DNC is essentially telling people in these districts, “come risk your own health and/or the health of others if you really want a say in American healthcare.” This is not the response of a legitimate political party. Meanwhile, the Republicans have been downplaying the pandemic, despite early warnings from public health officials. This is more than incompitent, this is corruption, plain and simple. Or more accurately, this is the system behaving as it’s intended to. That is, protecting the extremely wealthy by exploiting the working class.
Public health issues going unaddressed
Government inaction has already led to the spread of COVID-19—delayed testing worsened the spread of the virus, and in large part, their delayed response was in reaction to earlier cutbacks to public health funding.
For many still with work in the service industry, they continue to work paycheck-to-paycheck (78% of workers in the US live paycheck-to-paycheck). Without a freeze on rent, many of these employees will ignore symptoms and go in anyways, worsening the spread of COVID-19. Not to mention, many people in America still do not have healthcare. Well-funded media outlets are largely ignoring this connection between the pandemic and class, which is unsurprising as the people who own mass media outlets benefit from austerity policies.
Is this economic crisis anything new?
Check out this great video for a brief history of wealth and inequality in the West:
What do we do?
Beyond a RENT STRIKE, we need to move away from this profit-driven economic system towards a more socialized one. With all this talk of GDP and stock portfolios, you’d be forgiven if you’ve forgotten what an economic system is. So let’s be clear here:
An economic system is a resource distribution system.
With people starving, sick, and homeless…it may be time to reevaluate what we’re doing here because it’s not working. Hopefully our other article on COVID-19 makes it clear that this system hasn’t been working for a long time. If any of this is ringing true for you, please consider getting involved in a socialist party, such as Socialist Resurgence…at the very least, I urge everyone to check out what they have to say about this crisis and its subsequent economic recession in the article The disease is capitalism: global economic crisis.