Treasonable noticing of seditious facts

Nicholas Kristoff in the NYT: “The newest Social Progress Index, shared with me before its official release Thursday morning, finds that out of 163 countries assessed worldwide, the United States, Brazil and Hungary are the only ones in which people are worse off than when the index began in 2011. And the declines in Brazil and Hungary were smaller than America’s. …

“The United States, despite its immense wealth, military power and cultural influence, ranks 28th — having slipped from 19th in 2011. The index now puts the United States behind significantly poorer countries, including Estonia, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Greece.”

A measure of social progress finds that the quality of life has dropped in America over the last decade, even as it has risen almost everywhere else.

Who cares about the stock market?

Paul Krugman in NYT: “So here’s the current state of America: Unemployment is still extremely high, largely because Trump and his allies first refused to take the coronavirus seriously, then pushed for an early reopening in a nation that met none of the conditions for resuming business as usual — and even now refuse to get firmly behind basic protective strategies like widespread mask requirements.

“Despite this epic failure, the unemployed were kept afloat for months by federal aid, which helped avert both humanitarian and economic catastrophe. But now the aid has been cut off, with Trump and allies as unserious about the looming economic disaster as they were about the looming epidemiological disaster.”

Optimism about Apple?s future profits won?t pay this month?s rent.

Yikes!

“The bank is forecasting a 24% decline in economic activity next quarter, compared to their previous forecast for a 5% decline. That’s because U.S. economic data (specifically manufacturing data) have already started to miss economist estimates, even before Americans started to stay home to avoid spreading the coronavirus.”

U.S. economic data have already started to miss economist estimates, even before Americans started to stay home to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Another reason why we need universal healthcare

NYT: “But more than rate cuts or bursts of spending, economists say, the best short-term measures to prevent an economic downturn may be “automatic stabilizers” — existing programs or regulations that protect workers, provide low-cost health care or help companies get through a lean period. Some of these measures were adopted during another time of financial stress: the 2008 financial crisis.

“Assurances that many workers won’t have to choose between caring for their health and paying their rent is a crucial psychological factor as Italy and France shut hundreds of schools, Britain unlocks an “action plan” to prevent the virus’s spread and businesses across the Continent cancel trips and meetings to limit their employees’ exposure to the epidemic.”

More importantly, workers with paid sick time are more likely to stay home when sick and people with guaranteed access to healthcare (that won’t bankrupt them) will seek treatment promptly when sick and get the treatment (and quarantine, if necessay) they need. Our lack of universal coverage and reasonable sick leave policies endangers us all.

Europe’s social policies are sometimes seen as overly generous. Yet they may help cushion the economic impact of the virus.

Treasonable noticing of seditious facts

Paul Krugman in NYT: “The first thing you need to know about the very rich is that they are, politically, different from you and me. Don’t be fooled by the handful of prominent liberal or liberal-ish billionaires; systematic studies of the politics of the ultrawealthy show that they are very conservative, obsessed with tax cuts, opposed to environmental and financial regulation, eager to cut social programs.

“The second thing you need to know is that the rich often get what they want, even when most of the public want the opposite. For example, a vast majority of voters — including a majority of self-identified Republicans — believe that corporations pay too little in taxes. Yet the signature domestic policy of the Trump administration was a huge corporate tax cut.”

Yes, the rich have too much political influence.