America’s Cruel Economy is not Compatible with a Global Pandemic.
The working people we’ve neglected will be the most vulnerable to Coronavirus, but no one is immune.
Let’s start with a few basic premises:
- We don’t eat right, particularly the poorest among us.
- We don’t sleep enough. People who are overworked and/or living in poverty suffer the most.
- Our low economic security with no guaranteed sick leave or healthcare means workers report to work regardless of how they feel. (Note: This was also bad before Coronavirus.) A 4 figure cost to get tested in a time where most people don’t have 3 figures to their name is less than ideal.
Ok here’s what that looks like.
Going left to right: Economic Security which so many here lack, has a positive relationship with Sleep and Diet quality. Sleep and diet quality also seem to have a reinforcing relationship with each other. That means if you have bad sleep it can lead to bad diet, and vice versa. It’s not really important but it’s a decent example of a positive feedback loop. (R1)
Both of these elements influence Immune Strength. Lower immune strength means a higher Infection Rate. More people infected means more germs will be spread, which means more people will be infected in a reinforcing feedback loop. (R2)
More people infected means more workers will be coming in sick which again reinforces Germ Spread and Infection Rate. (R3) Low Economic Security also means even more workers will come in sick and so on.
Finally low Economic security means the ability or even willingness to seek healthcare will be low which leads to a higher Infection Rate more Germs Spread, more Workers Coming in Sick (R2 & R3 again.)
On top of all this, the meager programs like the EITC that could help lower income people are designed to first and foremost encourage work. This program may fail on its own merits, but it fails even worse based on our current needs, especially given the need for cash now, not next year.
It’s not the end of the world of course. The US is still allegedly a first world country with decent sanitation that also happens to be on red alert for an incoming pandemic. Things could be worse.
“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.” — Adam Smith