Like a third world country

For such a rich country we sure do a wretched job of making sure everyone is ok. Some economists notice.

In a withering attack on the president, Joseph Stiglitz said millions of people were turning to food banks, turning up for work due to a lack of sick pay, and dying because of health inequalities.

The Nobel prize-winning economist said: “The numbers turning to food banks are just enormous and beyond the capacity of them to supply. It is like a third world country. The public social safety net is not working.”

That’s because there isn’t one. We’re all about making rich people ever richer, while ensuring poor people stay poor, and that in emergencies they die. That’s our one steadfast core value, as far as I can tell.

“We have a safety net that is inadequate. The inequality in the US is so large. This disease has targeted those with the poorest health. In the advanced world, the US is one of the countries with the poorest health overall and the greatest health inequality.”

And highest infant and maternal mortality, and largest gap between richest and poorest, and a number of other ugly markers.

Stiglitz said Republicans had opposed proposals to give those affected by coronavirus 10 days’ sick leave, meaning many employees were going to work even while infected. “The Republicans said no because they said it would set a bad precedent. It is literally unbelievable.”

A bad precedent of not encouraging a pandemic to spread and not forcing workers to choose between death by virus and death by poverty.

During an interview with the Guardian to mark the paperback publication of his book People, Power, and Profits, Stiglitz was asked whether the US might be heading for a second Great Depression.

“Yes is the answer in short,” he said. “If you leave it to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell [the Republican Senate majority leader] we will have a Great Depression. If we had the right policy structure in place we could avoid it easily.”

But it will be great. It says so right in the title.

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