Letter to the Editor | America prioritizes profits above public health
March 25, 2020
With lockdowns becoming widespread, corporate mouthpieces such as the Wall Street Journal are now recommending that society reverse course and sacrifice the lives of workers and their families to protect profit.
American capital is at a critical moment in history. Corporate debt is at an all-time high. As giants of industry default on their debt, lenders will be ruined, and workers will be laid off in the millions. As you read, senators and representatives are finding ways to secure subsidies and bailouts for their numerous corporate donors. Even the confectionery industry is angling for subsidies. Shamelessly, the defense industry attempted to insert an order for F-35 jets into a stimulus bill.
The irony of ordering a killing machine while doctors and nurses are dying due to a lack of masks and resulting exposure to SARS-CoV-2 should lead to immediate outrage in a humane society.
This decision making is a product of our political economy. In recent memory, both political parties have been complicit in dumping trillions of dollars into creating weapons of war while also feeding billions in subsidies for sustaining the fossil fuel industry in the face of a deteriorating environment.
Social programs have been left to wither — including a sorely missed pandemic response team that was axed in 2018. As a result, the United States still does not have a universal healthcare system. Americans with either no medical insurance or those with copays and deductibles are going to think twice about receiving treatment. These Americans, accompanied by those without paid sick leave and the undocumented, comprise a rough half of the population, and will be left helpless as a pandemic ravages their ranks.
When a working class is being exposed to a deadly pandemic in order to resume corporate profits, they begin to resemble serfs more than humans with rights.
Ethan is a junior in LAS studying Molecular and Cellular Biology.