The economic impact of COVID-19 has become more cemented with the release of the April 2020 jobs report, indicating the “official” unemployment hit 14.7%. It’s important to note that the U.S. Empire uses a counting methodology that only includes those who are currently receiving unemployment benefits. It does not count those who have exhausted their benefits, have benefits pending, or dropped out of the workforce entirely. The U.S. Empire doesn’t count those circumstances in order to suppress the stark, undeniable reality that the middle-class has been decimated by decades of trickle-down economics.
So what’s the real unemployment rate?
According to a Federal Reserve board member, anywhere from 17-24% with a forecast of 32% later this year. The April 2020 jobs report revealed a staggering total loss of 20.5 million jobs. The previous monthly job loss record had been 2 million during the Great Depression and 800,000 during the 2009 Recession. An additional 13 million have lost their job since the April report.
But what caused it?
Okay, so that’s all catastrophically horrific data by any measure. The job losses for April alone has erased an entire decade worth of job growth and that’s massively depressing. But it also exposes just how fragile and vulnerable the system really is and how much power the middle-class could potentially wield. All it took was seven weeks of the economy being more/less frozen to plunge us into Great Depression 2.0. It’s now been demonstrated to us beyond any shadow of a doubt, in real-time, that if the middle-class majority staged a General Strike our demands would be quickly met.
The economy is set to further collapse when Wave Two strikes in the Fall/Winter, meaning a very high probability of another global lockdown. Below is the latest model most-widely accepted as of 5/9 from a scientific and historical standpoint. By analyzing past virus outbreaks and behavior, the chart below is a probable forecast for what will happen next.
Wave 2 would arrive just in time to cripple any hope of retail making any sort of holiday comeback and further crush travel/tourism industries. We couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to organize, don a yellow vest, and overthrow the system. The more fragile the economy, the more it can’t take a further beating without collapsing entirely, the quicker our demands will be met.
In the off chance that sounds radical to you, remember that our current “leaders” in Congress still won’t provide us with healthcare as a human right. Richest country in the history of the world, but unlike every other developed nation half a million of our citizens have to file for bankruptcy due to medical debt every year, 87 million are uninsured or underinsured (and that’s prior to the COVID-19 job losses), and an estimated 68,000 die avoidable deaths as a result per year.
The vast majority of the country supports Medicare for All, yet Democrats only offer us a demented rapist who firmly vowed to veto that legislation. In the middle of a pandemic, in an election year of such historic consequence, the DNC still won’t nominate anyone who supports Americans having healthcare as a human right. They’d rather lose a second time to Donald Trump as long as they win with their corporate donors.
They will never surrender willing.
Do you think the U.S. Empire is suddenly going to develop a conscience and start prioritizing the needs of the middle-class? It hasn’t in over four decades. Do you think the wealthy Oligarchs who pull the strings at the top will suddenly surrender their stranglehold on the U.S. Government and give us back our democracy? Do you really think the robber barons of our time went through all that trouble to buy an entire Congress just to give it all away in the end? Do you think the NSA is going to admit that spying on our phone calls, texts, and emails is a violation of our privacy laws? Do you think the CIA is going to abandon imperialism and stop slaughtering innocent people overseas? Hell no. Money and power talks. End of story.
When was the last time a Change.org petition worked?
The system has been corrupted to such a deeply-rooted degree that any prior electoral or legal means of achieving progress have long been extinguished. Petitioning, marching, voting… none of these has changed the fact over the last four decades income inequality has consistently increased, which means more poverty, which means more crime, more incarcerations. That’s bad news for the people, but for the corporations that just means more free prison labor, which means more profit and happier shareholders. That’s just one of many deeply-rooted, deeply-corrupted systems that make up the financial infrastructure of America. Removing only the corrupt portions would be like removing the engine, transmission, and wheels of a car but still expecting it to somehow run.
The problems we face require systemic change to resolve. Incremental change cannot keep pace with the rate of impending collapse. We must take the economy hostage and demand healthcare as a human right, a public-only funding of elections, paper ballots, ranked-choice voting, universal basic income, plans for a green-energy economy, affordable housing, a new Glass-Steagall to break up Big Bank monopolies, the decriminalization of all drugs, demilitarization of police departments, and an end to these shamefully unnecessary and illegal regime-change wars. This can all be accomplished through a General Strike, which requires a nationwide majority to participate. The alternative is a much smaller number hitting the streets with the proverbial torches and pitchforks. Emphasis on proverbial.
The only question is how messy it will be when it goes down, but rest assured that it is going down. America’s draconian system of economic darwinism is finally coming to a close because Capitalism by design always results in collapse without checks and balances (aka socialism). The key going forward is to be proactive enough to seize the opportunity, to proactively steer the fallout of the financial collapse in the right direction. Otherwise America will either continue to devolve into a full-blown corporate-fascist dystopian state or collapse entirely leaving us with a scenario akin to Mad Max. As appealing as the latter may sound to some libertarian idealists, the resulting chaos of complete anarchy would not be a pleasant experience based on history. But we do need to burn much of it down and start fresh.
Putting aside whether the ongoing pandemic is due to naturally-occurring circumstances, accidentally leaked from a lab, or was an outright intentional act of terrorism, the undeniable impact of COVID-19 assures us that massive systemic change is coming. Whether that ends up being for better or worse in the United States will depend on the courage of middle-class Americans to organize, plan, and effectively execute said plan. We cannot continue to leave the future of 330 million in the hands of a few hundred bought-and-paid-for puppets of the corporate Elite.