The onslaught of the novel coronavirus has plunged the U.S., and the world, into a new economic and political reality. That said, it would be wrong to suggest the economy was humming along nicely, for poor and working people, at least, before the pandemic and ensuing collapse of the economy.
In fact, the economic crisis has been looming and was predicted. Acknowledging there were huge holes in the economy, namely worker protections, vast income and wealth inequality, and inequities in access to health, calls for a “return to normal” lack widespread appeal. Instead, poor and working people want an improved, more just society and economy.
As Reverend William Barber recently wrote, “this virus is teaching us that from now on living wages, guaranteed healthcare for all, unemployment and labor rights are not far left issues, but issues of right versus wrong in life versus death.“
In response to the coronavirus, major changes, including a massive stimulus, have already occurred. But will low-wage worker protections, unemployment benefits, and an expanded social safety net last?
Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, joined Law and Disorder Radio to discuss the changes to economic and political life for Americans since the start of the pandemic, and why we can’t “go back to normal” when the worst of it is behind us.