According to one adage, a recession occurs when a lot of people are thrown out of work. But a depression happens when you lose your job.
Based on those definitions, part of America is experiencing a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic, and another part is suffering through a severe economic depression. By and large, the people who make things or provide services--factory workers, construction workers, mechanics, and restaurant employees--are unemployed. Many of these folks can't pay their rent or make their mortgage payments, and a lot of them have lost their health insurance.
But the media stars and politicians are still getting paid. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said yesterday that unemployed people should boycott the economy and refuse to go back to work after the coronavirus shutdown ends. That's easy for her to say. She's got a sweet gig as a congresswoman.
And then there's Don Lemon, the CNN reporter who mocked the Michigan protestors who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They're upset because they can't get a haircut, Lemon sneered.
Yeh, Don. Make fun of the unemployed. You aren't missing any meals.
It is clear to me that the political class and the media elites have no idea what is going on in America. More than 20 million people are out of work, and millions more will be unemployed by the end of the summer.
And what does Congress do? It passes a relief bill that includes cash for the Kennedy Performing Arts Center and National Public Radio.
College students, who borrowed money to pay their tuition bills, are sent home in mid-semester; and what's the government response? A brief respite from making student-loan payments. Meanwhile, Congress creates the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and distributes $14 billion to the nation's universities.
And it's not just the politicians and media who have insulated themselves from our Great Depression. People who hold government jobs are still getting paid even though many of them are doing very little. The Baton Rouge airport lost 90 percent of its passenger traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but no airport worker has been furloughed. The feds sent the airport $8.4 million, which helps pay the salaries of people who have virtually nothing to do.
All the colleges and universities shut down this spring. Still, the presidents, vice presidents, associate vice presidents, deans, assistant deans, and Title IX compliance officers have seen no drop in their standard of living.
The professors are still getting paid as well, even though their classrooms are empty. They claim to be doing a bang-up job teaching online, but that's mostly bullshit. Students have sued five universities, demanding to get their tuition money back. They know they've been shortchanged.
A massive chasm separates the people who have lost their jobs from the people who are still working. And it will be no consolation for anyone when the unemployment rate hits 30 percent, and the suffering class becomes larger.
The day is coming, and it is coming soon when people who thought their jobs were secure will be unemployed. Even some tenured professors, who believe they enjoy bulletproof job security, will soon be applying for food stamps.
|AOC: Don't go back to work, America!|