It may be time to accept an uncomfortable truth. How things were before the COVID-19 pandemic are not how things will be going forward.
Life, as we knew it before, is now in the past. I’m sorry if this is a harsh assessment, and if it scares you. But the sooner more people can recognize this for the truth the sooner society can act to move forward.
One of the reasons that we are divided as deeply as we are is because the people who most fear change are lashing out. Further, they have become empowered by certain organizations and individuals who act like thoughtful meaningful pals — but are in fact selfish, greedy takers.
Which leads to another uncomfortable truth we need to acknowledge. Racism, sexism, and all of this newly-empowered ugliness never actually went away — it was just appropriately shunned and shamed into hiding. Now they are feeling free to be open again and lashing out like a dying wild animal on its last legs. Which is a completely apt analogy.
The status-quo was only working for a select few. Returning to it after this disaster is impractical, and as the ongoing situation has proven time and again — unsustainable.
What does that mean? Let’s explore, shall we?
Trickle-down economics DOES NOT WORK
Since the 1980s we have been witnesses to an ongoing failed experiment. Trick-down economics is the grand and glorious notion that when you give the wealthy breaks and incentives they will trickle down to the little guys.
Give the factory owner a tax break and he will use the saved money to create new jobs and pay his employees well. That’s the theory.
If you believe this is working — I give you Amazon. The head of the company is the wealthiest man on Earth. Are his employees respected, well paid, treated fairly, and happy? Do his tax breaks help them? Look it up, research it, and you will see the answer is NO.
This idea DOES NOT WORK. Time and again we have example after example of the rich getting richer. The shareholders get their money as do the owners and the executives. The people it’s supposed to trickle-down to? Not so much.
And now, with the necessary shut-down to combat the spread of the coronavirus, these companies are struggling. Why? Because of greed, mismanagement, and maltreatment of the people most necessary for them to run. Think the executives and stockholders will accept pay-cuts? Of course not — the employees who are the backbone of the company will be let-go to cut costs.
Do you think they will rehire those employees at the same level they were at? Or, more likely, instead seek new employees at a lower salary? I’m an optimist, but I see the history of the last 20 years and how it answers these questions before.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. And I applaud them. But unfortunately, they are overshadowed by the greed and corruption of the rest.
Recognizing this failed model — what can be done about it?
Universal Basic Income
If you are not familiar with the idea of UBI — in short, everyone makes a base salary. Say $2000 a month.
This has several effects — it causes certain businesses to automate more efficiently, removes the societal dread over putting food on the table and basic survival, and opens new paths to new ideas and ways of thinking because of the empowerment of the people.
In many ways, this is the opposite of trickle-down economics. It’s upwardly mobile.
By reversing the present model — especially what’s practiced in the US — this could easily be funded. Fair taxation of the uber-wealthy would be an excellent start to it.
Let’s say your company makes a PROFIT (which, remember, is cash above-and-beyond operating costs) of $20 billion dollars. I tax that at 10 percent. Your profit is now down to $18 billion dollars. Again, that’s cash in your pocket above-and-beyond operating costs to do with as you please.
That $2 billion dollars, all by itself, could pay $24,000 to 83,333 people. If just a hundred companies are paying $2 billion dollars in taxes that could provide that same $24,000 to 8.33 million (8,333,300) people.
That’s just one part of this. Remember that money is made-up, so creating more and new ways to get it is a government choice. Sales tax and other fair taxes would go into this, too.
When you have a base salary and know you can keep a roof over your head and food in your belly, you feel comfortable and confident. That means you’ll be more willing to spend money above-and-beyond your UBI on things. Which, of course, feeds the economy.
Trickle-up models have seen far more success than trickle-down.
Having stable, healthy finances leads to stable, healthy people. How can you further improve the health of the people?
Universal Health Care
Let’s ignore the models of Canada and Great Britain right off that bat, ok? They have their ups and downs, positives and negatives, and any comparison to what we would create in the USA is a circular, unending, unwinnable argument.
Health care is a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. Let’s start there, shall we? Nobody should have to choose between their physical and financial health. How many people do you think COVID-19 is going to bankrupt? I certainly don’t know — but the answer should be ZERO. But it won’t be.
For-profit healthcare is an unfunny joke. Yet it is how we practice medicine in the US.
A nation with the level of wealth such as we have shouldn’t have citizens going bankrupt to fight disease and be healthy. All the lies told have ingrained themselves in such a way that reasonable people think any form of Universal Health Care will be worse than what we have now.
The Affordable Care Act was a first step in addressing this problem — but not the best step Congress could have taken. Medicare and Medicaid already exist — new variants of each could be EASILY created to give the People of this country more affordable and attainable options.
Nobody has to reinvent the wheel — we just need to get off the for-profit bus and get onto the Universal Care bus instead.
I have presented several ideas here for forward momentum and directions our society could take on the other side of this pandemic. How can you and I do anything to impact this?
Stand up for yourself
We need to stop arguing with other “normal” people vehemently opposed to change. You and I cannot change their minds — they’re made up. I am not saying we can or should ignore them — I’m saying we need to not just pointlessly argue with them anymore. That’s getting us nowhere fast.
Educate yourself. There are a huge number of resources of credible information out there where you can expand upon what I am sharing here. Google UBI, Universal Health Care, Trickle-down economics, and see for yourself why understanding this matters to going forward after this pandemic.
Then get involved. Vote. Rally for change. Protest for better things. Write letters to the leaders of this nation and remind them they stand for and with everyday citizens and not above them. Support strikes against those who care only for their own wealth, privilege, and power.
Stand with those less fortunate than you. The disenfranchised, the disrespected, those in greater struggle than you. Self-care and standing up for yourself for reasonable things for all is in no way selfish. It’s empowering. That empowerment could spread faster than any virus.
When those who fear change see others like them empowered it can open them to embracing change more readily. It is seldom instantaneous and requires patience and understanding. But when all is said and done, we are one and the same.
Every single human being deserves not only to survive but to thrive. We are more powerful together than apart — which is why those “in power” strive to divide us.
Be smarter. And Kinder. Be more empathetic. Practice mindfulness and let the self-awareness that provides expand to better awareness of how you can foment change.
Going back is not a viable option. The only way to go is onward. How will YOU help drive that?
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter.