Whenever anyone proposes a policy that would benefit ordinary Americans, we are met with the repetitive chorus of How are we going to pay for it?
Medicare for All? Green New Deal? Universal housing? Universal childcare and preschool? Universal food? Tuition-free higher education? Student and medical debt cancellation? A jobs Guarantee? A living wage? Paid parental leave? Paid sick leave? Expanded Social Security? Universal Basic Income? High-speed rail? Free public transportation? National free wi-fi?
Socialism for the rich remains normalized, while socialism for the majority remains demonized.
How are we going to pay for it? It is often asserted more as an aggressive statement to shut down the idea, than as a genuine question seeking information, even though many of these policies have been enacted elsewhere. The question seems to be a fear-based, greed-based ideological hammer.
During the economic downturn and expected global recession coming with the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government and Federal Reserve Bank are considering, or already implementing: slashing interest rates; lower tax rates; tax deferrals; bank, airline, cruise, and other corporate bailouts; huge loans; equity stakes; dramatically increased financial liquidity; direct payments to Americans; forcing companies to produce certain items under the Defense Production Act; tapping the Strategic National Stockpile; activating the National Guard; a 60-day pause on foreclosures and evictions; prohibiting substantial price hikes; free testing for the coronavirus; and so on. Trillions of dollars will be spent. We also see federal, state, and local governments ordering the shutting down of travel, many businesses, schools, parks, and most other non-essential activities and events to slow the spread of COVID-19, while rolling back regulations on corporations.
Interestingly, no one is defending, let alone praising, the so-called free market, no one is championing libertarian laissez-faire ideas, no one is demanding small government, no one is attacking public health and social welfare programs, and, to be sure, no one is asking how we will pay for it. Instead, massive government involvement and intervention in the economy is steamrolling ahead at a remarkably quick pace and, seemingly, everyone wants a piece of the action.
American ideology regarding the free market, being self-made, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and individualism has largely been mythology and hypocrisy. Crises tend to make that abundantly clear. And, for what it is worth, Horatio Alger, the original rags-to-riches success story, was fictional.
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Even without a crisis, the question How are we going to pay for it? is typically unasked when it comes to the bloated military budget and the military-industrial complex, American imperialist wars, the drone program, the CIA, NSA, ICE, prisons and detention centers, both public and private, and other aspects of the coercive apparatus of the state. We also do not ask How are we going to pay for it? when it comes to the billions of corporate welfare dollars and other forms of wealthfare the US regularly doles out to the affluent. Likewise when the Republicans cut taxes on the wealthy, when Trump runs trillion dollar budget deficits, or when the Republicans balloon our national debt to over $23 trillion or about $70,000 in debt foreachAmerican.
It has never been about whether the US could afford a progressive program; it has always been about whether the elite wanted to or were forced to fund it. It is an issue of political will, apparently, not economic means.
And these are just the financial costs. How do we pay for what has been lost, what has been squandered, what has been ruined beyond repair, who and what has gone extinct that we will never recover? How do we pay for the unnecessary suffering, the shortened and lost lives, the productivity and creativity squandered, the shattered dreams, the tears shed? How do we pay for what could have been, but never was nor will be?
If there is one thing history teaches us, Naomi Klein, author ofThe Shock Doctrinereminds us, its that moments of shock are profoundly volatile. We either lose a whole lot of ground, get fleeced by elites, and pay the price for decades, or we win progressive victories that seemed impossible just a few weeks earlier. Which path will we choose now?
In the meantime, socialism for the rich remains normalized, while socialism for the majority remains demonized. But heres the thing: we will either have democratic socialism or we will continue to socialize suffering. If we do not choose wisely, we will surely pay for it.
See the rest here:
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- Agenda: Is Universal Basic Income the key to tackling care leaver poverty? - HeraldScotland - March 7th, 2021
- Get creative to help artists through pandemic - The Guardian - February 16th, 2021
- The economy can't guarantee a job. It can guarantee a liveable income for other work - The Conversation AU - January 25th, 2021
- Donald Trump and Richard Nixon: 10 comparisons the Internet made to show POTUS is '10X worse' - MEAWW - January 15th, 2021
- Basic income for all: Has the Covid crisis given us a new economic model? - The Irish Times - November 29th, 2020
- Universal basic income has time come for it? Debate intensifies in pandemic - WRAL Tech Wire - November 29th, 2020
- We Need Universal Basic Income And We Need It Now - Scary Mommy - August 30th, 2020
- Prepare for the irreversible rise of non-profit activity everywhere - Livemint - August 26th, 2020
- Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day - Bloomberg - August 26th, 2020
- In the wake of Covid-19, time to consider basic income: Senate report - Investment Executive - July 15th, 2020
- COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Tuesday, July 14 - CBC.ca - July 15th, 2020
- COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Monday, July 13 - CBC.ca - July 15th, 2020
- COVID illuminates global inequalities in workers' rights and working conditions - University of Birmingham - June 24th, 2020
- Why a Universal Basic Income is the solution to inequity - Women's Agenda - June 24th, 2020
- Crypto Experts Reveal Thoughts: How Will Bitcoin Perform After the COVID-19 Crisis Has Passed? - Yahoo Finance - June 24th, 2020
- A universal basic income is less attractive if it needs to be paid for - American Enterprise Institute - June 17th, 2020
- KAREN FOSTER: Pandemic pay premium for grocery store employees a flash in the pan - TheChronicleHerald.ca - June 17th, 2020
- COVID-19: UN agencies warn against rising hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean - UN News - June 17th, 2020
- Why recovery needs to have children at its centre - Social Europe - June 17th, 2020
- Basic Income activism in the United States | BIEN - Basic Income News - June 6th, 2020
- When All Men Are Paid for Existing: Universal Basic Income Has Arrived - National Review - June 6th, 2020
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- Coronavirus is a crisis for the developing world, but here's why it needn't be a catastrophe - The Guardian - May 11th, 2020
- Universal Basic Income: Andrew Yang Was Pushing for It Long Before Coronavirus Pandemic - PopCulture.com - May 11th, 2020
- Starvation in the time of Corona: momentum for the Universal Basic Dividend - DiEM25 - May 11th, 2020
- Is this the beginning of a Universal Basic Income? - Yahoo Finance Australia - April 11th, 2020
- How the Pandemic Could Shape the Economy In the Future - TheStreet - April 11th, 2020
- After the pandemic, will there be a new status quo? - The Corner Economic - April 11th, 2020
- UK workers hit by the economic pain of coronavirus need an income guarantee - The Guardian - April 9th, 2020
- The complexities of a universal basic income - Knowable Magazine - April 9th, 2020
- We're all socialists now | The Interpreter - The Interpreter - April 9th, 2020
- Out of the coronavirus crisis, a new kind of Britain must be born - The Guardian - April 9th, 2020
- Michael Clifford: Is it now time to give some real thought to Universal Basic Income in Ireland? - Irish Examiner - April 9th, 2020
- COVID-19 kicks over the economy - rabble.ca - April 9th, 2020
- Covid-19 Unmasks the Privilege of Isolation in Rio de Janeiro and All Brazil - RioOnWatch - April 9th, 2020
- How WhatsApp is making it more expensive to spread misinformation - The Verge - April 9th, 2020
- For artists and gig workers, expanded emergency benefit access is encouraging but worries about the post-COVID-19 future remain - Toronto Star - April 9th, 2020
- Will There Be a New Status Quo After COVID-19? - Qrius - April 9th, 2020
- Common Arguments Against Basic Income Don't apply to the Emergency BI - Basic Income News - March 31st, 2020
- I've lived through plenty of social shocks this time we must learn the lessons - The Guardian - March 31st, 2020
- How a Basic Income And Jobs Guarantee Can Save The Economy From Coronavirus - The National Interest - March 26th, 2020
- Draghi: we face a war against coronavirus and must mobilise accordingly | Free to read - Financial Times - March 26th, 2020
- Lockdown to fight coronavirus is going to hit most Indian workers very hard - Livemint - March 26th, 2020
- Universal basic income: what is it, how does it work and could it help fight the coronavirus crisis? - Telegraph.co.uk - March 24th, 2020
- It's time to move mountains to protect people we need universal basic income - The Guardian - March 24th, 2020
- Italy: Urgent petition in time of Corona Virus: Expanding the Citizen's Income Scheme! If Not Now, When? - Basic Income News - March 24th, 2020
- Coronavirus: Iain Duncan Smith says dont bring in universal basic income during pandemic as it would be disincentive to work - The Independent - March 24th, 2020
- Solidarity Economicsfor the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond - The American Prospect - March 24th, 2020
- Trump's right: Congress should give Americans $1,000 right now to fight the coronavirus recession - The Conversation US - March 24th, 2020
- Covid-19s Economic Pain Is Universal. But Relief? Depends on Where You Live. - The New York Times - March 24th, 2020
- Who the government's coronavirus economic measures leave behind - Left Foot Forward - March 24th, 2020
- COVID-19 outbreak brings attention back to informal sector - Down To Earth Magazine - March 24th, 2020
- Coronavirus, Surveillance And The Redefinition Of The Social Contract - Forbes - March 24th, 2020
- Commentary: We need food, medicine and safety not tax cuts and corporate bailouts to face coronavirus - The Daily World - March 24th, 2020
- New Zealand Orders Month-Long Lockdown To Halt Spread Of Coronavirus - International Business Times - March 24th, 2020
- All the Coronavirus Tribes You've Met During the Outbreak - VICE - March 24th, 2020
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- Column: Socialism is not the American way | Opinion - Duncan Banner - February 29th, 2020
- P.E.I. Premier Dennis King talks climate, economy and highs and lows in Part 2 of his year-end interview with The Guardian - The Journal Pioneer - January 3rd, 2020
- We need to test whether our millions in education aid is actually working - Financial Post - January 3rd, 2020
- A modern method of cutting poverty: Investigating what Universal Basic Income will mean for Northern families - Mancunian Matters - December 13th, 2019
- The Guardian view on Finlands new PM: a different type of leadership - The Guardian - December 13th, 2019
- Want to Retire in Harmony? Make Sure All Parts of Your Plan Are in Sync - Kiplinger's Personal Finance - December 13th, 2019
- Broadband for All could revolutionize wifi in UK, if it's possible - Inverse - November 30th, 2019
- California higher education hangs in the balance as UC, Cal State search for new leaders - Los Angeles Times - November 30th, 2019
- Food shopping at dollar stores - Brantford Expositor - August 22nd, 2017
- How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net - CityLab - August 20th, 2017
- Universal Basic Infrastructure to help decrease India's poverty - Economic Times - August 15th, 2017
- New Zealand Fabians host Basic Income panel - Basic Income News - August 14th, 2017
- Universal basic income proponent to speak in Boise - Idaho Press-Tribune - August 8th, 2017
- Is a Well-Paying Job the next Entitlement Program? - Big Think (blog) - August 6th, 2017
- DON PRIDMORE: Be careful what you wish for... - The Guardian - August 1st, 2017
- EDITORIAL: Island needs dollars, not data, to cope with poverty - The Guardian - July 27th, 2017
- Peterborough businesses claim $15 minimum wage hike could result in job cuts - Globalnews.ca - July 26th, 2017