Capitalism And The American Pandemic Response

23 min read
This video is a major departure from the usual content on my channel, but I think it’s necessary. This particular moment in American and world history demands that we all take an honest look at the trajectory of the United…

This video is a major departure from the usual content on my channel, but I think it’s necessary. This particular moment in American and world history demands that we all take an honest look at the trajectory of the United States of America. The current system is untenable and the Coronavirus pandemic has laid bare how truly ill-prepared the country is to protect its citizens. When corporations and the ultra-wealthy are the primary concern of those in power, the majority will suffer. This video is my attempt to contribute some small amount to the national conversation about what America is, and what it needs to become.

If you’d like to support this channel so I can make more content like this, please consider becoming a patron!

Further Reading:

Debs’ speech at Butte, 1902

More by Debs:

American Medical Costs:

Family Leave in America:

College Debt Then And Now:

Fed’s Report on Economic Wellbeing:

Radical and Leftist Books:

Leftist Politics and Culture:

Good Leftist Reporting on America and Coronavirus:

Capitalism And The American Pandemic Response – Second Thought

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I need to preface today's episode by Saying it's very different from my usual Content it's strictly political before You accuse me of partisanship be aware That I'm disgusted with both major Political parties the way both Democrats And Republicans have handled the Coronavirus crisis and governing in General has been incredibly damaging if This type of content doesn't interest You feel free not to watch I'll probably Be back to my usual content next week But if you're an American of working-age Please consider watching this video it Might be the most important one I ever Make thank you And again when you have 15 people and The 15 within a couple of days is going To be down to close to zero that's a Pretty good job we've done today Financial markets suffered historic Losses the Dow falling almost 3,000 Points that is the biggest one-day point Drop of all time Concerns are growing about the health Systems ability to handle the peak of The crisis with beds filling up and Critical supplies dwindling if you can't Afford a payment because you've been Laid off due to coronavirus now is the Time to start making phone calls for US Senators including Intelligence Committee Chair Richard burr reportedly Sold stock before coronavirus fear sent

The markets plunging shortly after that Tweet that I just noted you sold over a Million dollars in stocks in your own Personal portfolio before the market Went down were you trading on inside Information about what was coming he Dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he Wouldn't lose money and then he stayed Silent now the pressure is really on to Seal this deal and vote with the hopes That all this money will help convince Hard-hit businesses to keep their Workers on there are 500,000 McDonald's Workers just like me that have to go to Work whether sick or well because we Have no paid sick leave a letter just Sent out by United CEO president and Union leaders basically say they want to Deal by the end of March or payroll cuts Will have to happen for things like Every day we learn about a new celebrity Over a new professional athlete that got Tested and yet my heart I can't get Results on my patient I've been swapping People for about one week And I still haven't gotten a result yet It is incomprehensible and unspeakable That corporations now are taking Advantage of this crisis in order to get Tax breaks and subsidies that have Nothing to do with the corona virus and The Congress must be very clear no tax Breaks no subsidies to these Corporations a hundred eighteen years

Ago a man who would go on to run for President from a prison cell said the Cheapest commodity on earth today is Human flesh and blood to make a profit At the expense of human life is the Central controlling motive of the Capitalist system today over a century Later that statement has never rung more True Eugene V Debs was a socialist Living in a time when America still had An active Socialist Party and this line Came from an impromptu speech at the Butte Auditorium in Montana after being Encouraged by local workers to say a few Words Deb's went on to speak for over Two hours having only planned to stop in Butte for the day and with no intention Of delivering a speech the locals only Received three hours notice that Deb's Was going to speak the auditorium was Filled to capacity with many late comers Content to stand Deb spoke of the plight Of the working class the nature of class Struggle between those who owned the Factories and those who operate them he Spoke of the value of human life and the Security and dignity every American Deserved as a right he received a Standing ovation the problems of today Are no different from the problems of Deb's his time they've persisted ever Since But as America seems to lurch towards a Crisis point all the wealth concentrated

In the hands of a few as the masses lose Their livelihoods in the face of a Pandemic we lacked the understanding of 1902 Since that time through conscious action By those in power the language of class Struggle has been repressed and forced Out of the public conversation we now Live in a time of consensus America is The greatest nation on earth we've Reached the end of history capitalism Has been vindicated as the sole Successful economic model but deep down Most of us know that's not true We don't feel successful we're less Well-off than our parents Most of us will never be able to buy a House or a four The cost of raising children other Nations look at us with derision or pity To understand this moment and how we got Here we need to understand the language Of class struggle and acknowledge the Fact that the system is rigged against Those who actually do the work before we Get to the heart of the matter we need To set the stage The average American life has changed Dramatically in the past 30 or 40 years In 1987 the average American could Expect to be able to pay for the Entirety of their four-year college Education on a minimum-wage part-time Salary according to one study the

Average combined cost of tuition room And board across two thousand three Hundred twelve public and private Universities in the US was thirty nine Thousand six hundred forty three dollars Adjusted for inflation let's do some Math all of these numbers will be Adjusted for inflation we'll take a Fairly affordable school say the University of Central Florida the Four-year price for this particular School in 1987 was thirty-three thousand One hundred dollars the minimum wage in 1987 was $7.00 and $0.19 if the student Worked 20 hours per week and put all of That money towards paying for their Education they could cover a hundred and 6.5 percent of the cost and graduate With zero student debt fast forward to 2016 and the numbers look very different The minimum wage is almost exactly the Same 725 versus 719 but over the 30 years the Cost of a four-year degree from the University of Central Florida rose to 61 Thousand eight hundred seventy two Dollars that's an increase of 87 percent A student working 20 hours per week at Minimum wage in 2016 could only cover Sixty eight point two percent of the Cost and would graduate with almost Twenty thousand dollars in student debt And these numbers are for a relatively Affordable school what happens when we

Pick a more expensive school let's look At Samford University a little private School in Birmingham Alabama in 1987 a Four-year degree from Sanford cost fifty Six thousand five hundred nineteen Dollars a student making minimum wage in 1987 would only be able to cover sixty Two point four percent of the total cost And would graduate with twenty-one Thousand two hundred eighty dollars in Student debt fast forward to 2016 and The price of a four-year degree from Sanford had jumped to a hundred sixty Thousand six hundred sixty dollars That's an increase of a hundred eighty Four percent a student working part-time In 2016 could only cover twenty six Point three percent of the cost of their Education leaving Them with a hundred eighteen thousand Four hundred thirty-six dollars in Student debt now in this case both Students graduate with loans to pay off Let's do the math on those the average Salary for an early career College-educated worker was forty-nine Thousand four hundred six dollars in Nineteen eighty seven and fifty thousand Five hundred fifty six dollars in twenty Sixteen Sidenote I and all of my friends would Have loved to find a fifty thousand Dollar job right out of school but I Digress

Let's assume both students set aside 10% Of their salary each year to pay towards Their debt and their salary increases by Three percent annually the student in Nineteen eighty seven would be able to Pay off their loans in five years three Months the student in 2016 will likely Never be able to pay off their loan Unless their salary increases Dramatically because the interest owed Would outpace monthly payments the Disparity is even more dramatic if we go Back further in 1968 the minimum wage Was a dollar sixty adjusted for Inflation that's eleven dollars and Seventy six cents the bottom line is That while cost of everything from Education to housing to groceries and Prescription drugs have all skyrocketed The wages of workers have remained the Same or gotten worse today the younger Generations live lives defined by Precarity Millennials graduated from School with mountains of debt entered a Workforce that wasn't hiring or wasn't Offering full-time or benefits many Jumped on new solutions like gig economy Jobs driving for uber or lyft delivering For any number of delivery companies or Returning to freelance work to pay the Bills and hoping for a steady job to Become available that nine-to-five job That our parents hated has become a Dream for many young workers and one

That seems increasingly unattainable as Business is outsourced to increase Profits and keep workers just under Full-time so they don't have to provide Benefits like health insurance these Factors have combined to create an Entire generation of young people who Live paycheck to paycheck and are Routinely mocked by older folks who Don't realize just how much has changed Over the last few decades nor do they Seem to realize that the oldest Millennials are now 40 years old and We're about to see a whole new Generation enter this rigged economy the Defining moments of the average Millennials life have been 9/11 the Financial crash of 2008 and now the Coronavirus economic crisis we've seen None of the promised land that our Parents remember and yet people always Say the economy is doing great and we See those at the very top at billions – Their net worth every Year and now with the world's largest And wealthiest superpower on the brink Of collapse it's unsurprising that People are beginning to ask why this is Happening let's return to the concept of Class struggle there are two overarching Classes in any given society the owner Class or capital and the working class Or labor workers sell their labor and Their time to owners for a wage owners

Do not work for a wage instead they own The means by which capital money is Produced that could be a factory or a Skyscraper or hotel things that need Workers to operate in a nutshell your Goal as a worker and your bosses goal as An owner are diametrically opposed you Want to spend as little time working for The greatest wage possible so you have Time to enjoy the fruits of your labor With your friends and family your boss Wants to get as much work out of you for As little money as possible to maximize Profits these goals are in conflict this Is the nature of class struggle the Notion of the middle class is largely a Construct to divide the working Population if you work for a wage that Is if you sell your time and labor to Someone else Whether you make fifteen thousand Dollars per year or a hundred fifty Thousand dollars per year you are Working class this will be important Later but for now let's turn to some Things I think everyone can agree upon If you asked me to sum up the American Dream it would look something like this Three core tenets if you work 40 hours Per week in America you should be able To afford a home in the city in which You work the essentials of everyday life And be able to put a little bit away in Savings one full-time job should be

Enough second if you live in America you Should not go bankrupt paying a medical Bill all Americans should be able to see A doctor when they need to finally Everyone should pay their fair share in Taxes corporations should not be able to Dodge taxes nor should they be able to Buy politicians I think everyone can get Behind these three basic human ideals Just common sense and decency modern day American capitalism is no longer Compatible with these ideals if you Don't believe me let's look at what Rampant late-stage capitalism has Created According to the federal reserve's Report on the economic well-being of US Households in 2017 forty percent of Americans can't afford a surprise four Hundred dollar expense which is a Challenge in a pandemic because an Ambulance ride in America will cost you More than twice that amount not to Mention the treatment the federal Minimum wage hasn't been adjusted for Inflation in over ten years America is The only first world country not to Guarantee paid parental leave Life-saving drugs in America often cost Ten times what they cost in other Countries for example in Canada one vial Of insulin cost thirty two dollars in The United States the same drug from the Same factory cost three hundred dollars

And that's not even an extreme example Take the HIV drug Truvada in australia It cost just eight dollars in the United States It costs two thousand dollars despite US Taxpayers footing the bill for its Development it was estimated that five Hundred thousand people will go bankrupt From medical expenses this year that was Before the corona virus epidemic now we Have no idea and most people don't even Want to think about it Wealth inequality is at its worst point In a hundred years with the top One-tenth of 1% owning the same amount Of wealth as the bottom 90% in 2018 for The first time in history the richest 400 families paid a lower tax rate than The bottom 50% so Mike Bloomberg the guy Who just spent a billion dollars on a Disastrous bid for the Democratic Nomination paid a lower tax rate than His secretary for those of you thinking So what a smaller percent of a bigger Number is still more money say you've Got $100 and I've got a million dollars I've got all my needs covered easily so Taking say 20% wouldn't make a Difference to me 20% of your hundred Dollars could be the difference between Covering groceries and bills or not and While individual greed is reprehensible What we see from corporations is even Worse in 2018 Amazon paid zero dollars

In federal taxes on eleven point two Billion dollars in profit that is Obscene so what are those in power doing To fix these problems [Music] As Congress is dealing with the brutal Economic fallout from the crisis reports That at least two senators sold off Stocks after receiving official Coronavirus briefings before the markets Tanked there's a massive economic Stimulus package that's being crafted This is a part of it it could also Include roughly 50 billion dollars in Assistance for Airlines what Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate just presented was just a package Of corporate sweeteners to hand a blank Check to trump and venusian that is Secret that we won't even know who They're doling money out to and and then They're just slapping the name Coronavirus on top of it but if you're Going to pass an eviction of a mortgage Moratorium without also passing a rent Moratorium what you are doing is that You are providing relief to people Largely at least of the city of New York Based on their class and that you're Providing higher relief to people who Are land owners or landlords now stops Did briefly very briefly move off their Lows today when the Federal Reserve Announced they would pump 1 trillion

Dollars of liquidity into the market to Try to calm the market but by the looks Of things and with the dow down over 2,000 points today it looks like that Didn't work you won't be surprised to Learn that the powerful are doing what They always do trying their best to keep It the rest of us be damned they're Considering bailouts for industries like The airlines who spent 96% of the past Decades cash flow on buybacks if you Don't understand what stock buybacks are Here's a quick rundown when a company Has cash on hand they often buy back Their own shares from shareholders and Take them off the market This makes the remaining shares appear More valuable this practice Disproportionately benefits executives Whose compensation comes largely in the Form of stock options as opposed to a Traditional salary that's why when you See a CEO like dave calhoun of Boeing Declared that he won't be taking a Salary this year You should look more closely most Executive compensation comes from stock Options and other bonuses when Goldman Sachs was bailed out they awarded their Executives record bonuses for going a Salary is just a show to appear Magnanimous if Boeing gets a bailout They will do the same thing Every other major corporation does they

Will buy back stocks and pad the bank Accounts of their executives at the Expense of taxpayers that's our money And we will not see any benefit or Gratitude from them remember they spent 96% of the past decades cash flow on Buybacks they'll do it again Boeing is Currently asking for sixty billion Dollars in federal assistance but wait a Minute where was their emergency fund Maybe they should cut out their daily Starbucks and avocado toast if they want To save money see what I did there the Workers are expected to have three Months of expenses saved up or risk Being lectured by the rich on financial Responsibility but a couple of weeks of Bad business and now giant corporations Led by multimillionaires are crying for Help it's not just the airlines either All of the major cruise lines are Calling for bailouts – but the thing About getting help from the US Government is that you really should Operate as a US business but many cruise Lines operate under foreign flags to Dodge US taxes these include Disney Registered in the Bahamas celebrity in Malta and Carnival in Panama the Absolut Nerve of these companies whose CEOs haul In millions of dollars in profits in no Small part because of their tax evasion In asking the American people to bail Them out but here we get to an

Interesting idea If the Cruise Lines and the airline's Two major contributors to climate change Are on the brink of collapse maybe we Should let them fail or if we do decide To save them they need to give up the Keys nationalize the industries that Refuse to use their money responsibly We've been told time and time again that We don't have the money to transition to A green economy and yet we're inevitably Going to spend billions bailing out some Of the worst offenders in the climate Crisis we have an opportunity to stop This but if we're being honest we should At least expect to see the government Cave and bail out the airlines watch What happens their executives will make A lot of money but on the topic of huge Sums of money let's talk about the Attempt to save a spiraling stock market The Fed pumped 1.5 trillion dollars in Short-term loans into the stock market Hoping to stop the bleeding and keep Investors from losing their minds 1.5 Trillion dollars and no one batted an Eye This is particularly egregious when you Realize that the richest 10% of people Own 90% of all stocks funny to think That anytime a proposal to help them Already comes along say universal Healthcare or student loan forgiveness There's a whole lot of pearl clutching

And shouting about how we can't afford It Despite the mountains of evidence that Show these programs would benefit the Economy but when the wealthy and Powerful wants something sure what the Hell here's one and a half trillion Dollars that might temporarily stop the Sell-off and guess what it's not working Why because the wealthy people who own The companies don't create value their Workers do when there's no labor keeping The companies running everything falls Apart but while we're on the topic of The stock market let's talk about Insider trading that day he dumped up to 1.7 million dollars in stocks and 33 Separate transactions BER bought nothing That day was a flurry of selling on January 24th he attended a closed-door Briefing on the Chinese coronavirus he Was delivered by dr. Anthony foul he and The head of the CDC apparently what Burr Heard they're spooked him Burr hid what He knew about the corona virus threat And then lied about it at length to the Nation for a public servant it's pretty Hard to imagine many things more immoral Than doing this Richard burr had Critical information that might have Helped the people he is sworn to protect But he hid that information and helped Only himself instead of sounding the Alarm alerting the country goading the

Government into action as an ethical Person would have done Bertold easy lies That in the end may have killed people You know you've done something appalling When Tucker Carlson turns on you what Leffler and burr did is truly nauseating They withheld information about the Severity of the coming crisis and they Profited from it these people have blood On their hands but the thing is they're Just playing the game of capitalism they Saw an opportunity to make money and They took it but as I'm writing the Script for this video on Tuesday March 24th we're beginning to see something Even more sadistic we have to get back To work Our people want to work they want to go Back they have to go back let's get back To work let's get back to living let's Be smart about it And those of us who are 70 plus will Take care of ourselves but don't Sacrifice the country don't do that Don't ruin so you're basically saying That this disease could take your life But that's not the scariest thing to you There's something that would be worse Than dying Yeah you know is the Cure worse than the Disease because you're talking about Shutting down the world economy but we Cannot let the Cure be worse than the Problem itself we're not gonna let the

Cure be worse than the problem really it Was inevitable that we'd reached this Point as our economy tanks because we Botched the response to the coronavirus The ultra-wealthy would need to find a Way to fix it their solution human Sacrifice look at this chart we have the Worst trajectory line we've been hearing A lot of talk about flattening the curve Referring to keeping the number of cases Below the capacity for the healthcare System but if the owner class decides to Tell everybody to go back to work guess What's going to happen we're not going To flatten the curve we're going to kill Hundreds of thousands or millions of People the act of going on TV and Suggesting that grandparents should be Willing to die for the sake of the Economy and their grandchildren is pure Evil plain and simple Let's look at the two options we have Option 1 follow the lead of other more Ethical nations and do everything in our Power to flatten the curve keep our People safe and cover their expenses for The duration of the crisis or option to Condemn millions to die because some Billionaire [ __ ] can't stand to lose A few dollars one option is morally Right and the other is capitalism guess Which one will win by the time this Video is uploaded I bet we'll have our Answer

In the midst of all this talk about hard Truths and sacrifice and greater good There's one group of people who are Revealing themselves to be absolute Parasites so if you own 2030 rental Houses and a lot of people start losing Their jobs what do you think that's Gonna do to you they're not gonna be Able make payment which means you're Gonna have to make it as you have an Extra expense evicting them you're gonna Have more vacancy loss more expenses More care costs trying to fix properly Back up to get it nice to rent out again Let's get one thing straight being a Landlord is not a job the number of Entitled landlords taking to Twitter to Rant is staggering saying things like it Is a job I have to install lights or I Have to decorate the place that's not a Job that's part of being a homeowner and No one forced you to buy additional Homes when the first of the month rolls Around and these Vipers start to Ending rent that people can no longer Pay because their jobs are shut down What happens Massive Ixion's in the middle of a Global pandemic don't think for a second Most landlords will be lenient they've Already shown that they don't care when They say to you tough luck I have a mortgage to pay what they're Really saying is you have a mortgage to

Pay for me being a landlord is not a job These people buy up all the properties And hold them hostage they are part of The problem finally let's talk about the Myth of the philanthropic billionaire We've all heard the ultra-wealthy say Things like we shouldn't be taxed Because billions of dollars in the hands Of a good person is more useful to Society than in the hands of the Government you should have been Skeptical of this claim in the first Place but the pandemic has made it Abundantly clear that there's no such Thing as a good billionaire look at some Of the largest corporations McDonald's Amazon Walmart these companies make Billions in profits and yet their Workers are some of the worst Compensated and even in the face of a Deadly disease they're expected to come Into work and they're not guaranteed Paid sick leave some companies even have The nerve to ask employees to donate Their sick days to affected co-workers Instead of just giving everyone Guaranteed leave but finally finally We're seeing normal people begin to Fight back on March 23rd Amazon gave in To pressure from a small crew of workers At D CH 1 in Chicago they had been Inspired by Sacramento Amazon workers Starting a petition to demand paid time Off walking off the job and demanding a

Meeting with the regional manager and so They did the same thing they organized Their co-workers and three crews from 3 Different shifts handed in copies of the Petition to the boss at company meetings And you know what happened they won they Took on the richest man on the planet And they won all Amazon employees are Now entitled to paid time off that's What happens when the workers realize That they have real power when they work Together we're beginning to see similar Actions from sanitation workers with Pittsburgh garbage collectors refusing To pick up trash without getting Adequate protection and hazard pay We're seeing renters who won't be able To pay their bills on the 1st of the Month Stand up to merciless landlords renters Are hanging white sheets outside their Windows as a sign of solidarity with the Millions of others pressing for a National rent strike these are good Things we need more of them So let's recap the current state of Affairs We're projected to experience the worst Unemployment in US history in the middle Of a global pandemic yet our ability to See a doctor is tied to our employment Those in power are bickering over relief Legislation while we're just days away From millions being unable to afford

Their rent payments opportunists like Senator Leffler are posting pictures of Them working hard when they've just been Caught insider trading and literally Profiting off the death of their fellow Americans we've seen billionaires and The world's wealthiest corporations try To save a few bucks by refusing to take Care of their employees Despite the rich always saying the money Does more good in the hands of Philanthropic billionaires that is Obviously a lie they hoard their wealth And leave millions to die the government Dumped one-and-a-half trillion into the Stock market like it was nothing Remember that the next time they say Something is too expensive they're lying At least this pandemic has made some Things abundantly clear when your boss Said your job couldn't be done from home They were lying when University said a Class couldn't be taught online they Were lying when those in power say Universal health care is too expensive They're lying Every time they say a beneficial program Is too expensive They're lying that forgiving student Loan debt is impossible that raising Wages is too difficult that affordable Housing is unreasonable all lies Those at the levers of power always use That power to keep it they will never

Give up any of that power without a Struggle as we saw with Amazon so what Can we do if power is so entrenched in The hands of the few what can normal People do the pandemic has made one more Thing clear the economy doesn't function Without workers it falls apart in a week Without the cashiers stalkers drivers And countless others rich people love to Deride as lazy the pandemic has proven That it's the workers who create value Not the owners who do nothing there is Power in labor if the millions at the Bottom stand up and say enough is enough You work for us now we'll see some real Changes unite in solidarity with your Fellow workers and press your demands Capitalism is the root of all of today's Evils it cannot solve the problems it Creates those in power will listen to The rest of us if we can organize and Really pressure them to enact our Demands whether you make fifteen Thousand dollars a year or a hundred Fifty thousand if you sell your labor And hours of your life for a wage You are working-class that should be a Mark of pride because it's the Working-class that keeps this country Running the parasites at the very top Don't care if you die they would rather Kill millions of Americans than lose a Single percent of their wealth it's time To remember the language of class

Struggle and fight for dignity and a Livable future if you'd like to learn More about any of the topics discussed In this video I've left links in the description take The time to educate yourself about the Things that matter we have a future to Win and we need everybody to do their Part thank you for watching

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