Pass the Spackle

I watched part of the Biden-Bernie debate list night. Whatever anyone thinks about Democratic Centrists or Democratic Socialists, it’s clear that either of these two would take on a global pandemic with smarter people and more compassion and honesty than the present inhabitant of the White House. And while one might be tempted to think that Trump’s failed response to the pandemic might lead his supporters to doubt him even a little, one would be wrong. Read this and this and this and weep for a nation of so many willful idiots.

I have to admit: I couldn’t watch the whole Bernie-Biden debate. It was disappointing that even a crisis of this magnitude couldn’t move Biden to acknowledge that a national healthcare system covering everyone could have been more than handy this week, and that (going forward) it would be the best long-term response to another pandemic. Instead, Biden seemed comfortable with the idea of sitting in the Situation Room managing a one-time crisis. Of course, after that we’d still have a patchwork healthcare “system” that excludes 80 million people — and we’d still be waiting for the next national health emergency.

The 63% of all Americans who would be wiped out financially by a $500 emergency are the same ones likely to lose the little they own during this pandemic because their services providing rides, eldercare, serving tables, or running corner stores and restaurants won’t be needed for several months. I didn’t hear any satisfactory explanations last night of how Capitalism and The Market were going to handle the massive financial damage to these vulnerable people.

Our nation of 330 million people has 400 million guns and 924,000 hospital beds and we may soon find ourselves in the same situation as Italy, which announced yesterday that people over 80 might be denied treatment because there are simply not enough ventilators and hospital beds. As schools close due to the virus, we are forced to acknowledge how much we depend on them to provide a safe place and food for millions of children. And until last week I thought Andrew Yang’s universal basic income was a gimmick. I was wrong: COVID-19 is the best argument seen yet for providing financial stability to families — now that we’re way past hypotheticals.

Progressives keep saying government has a role to play in providing a safety net for real people — not just defense contractors, the oil industry and big agriculture. But most Democrats still think the market economy can handle everything. I wonder if the Coronavirus has made anyone rethink this assumption, even a little. No, dear friends, this week has been a wake-up call. We’ve been patching the cracked walls of the house for far too long. Even though the floor has buckled and we can hear the beams snapping while even bigger cracks appear with greater frequency, the only solution we ever come up with is to buy more Spackle.

But why the hell don’t we just fix the foundation?