The more useless the corporate news media becomes, the more essential it is to find good, informative podcasts.
Today, I listened to a podcast from Pitchfork Economics called “Disaster Economics.” It’s worth 100 hours of listening to the gossip of Nicolle Wallace, the geek coronavirus obsession of Rachael Maddow, or the endless inspirational anecdotes of CNN.
The hope is that this crisis will force a reexamination of forty years of neoliberal policies. Republicans and libertarians have fought for years to make government small enough to (as Grover Norquist once said) strangle in a bathtub. Well, now that’s what we’ve got, and it’s ill equipped to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Even knowing that this type of pandemic was possible, the government scaled down and down government agencies like the CDC and failed to adequately prepare for a crisis. Trump eliminated pandemic planning units of the government and trivialized the problem even when he was repeatedly warned about it.
Neoliberal policies have led to a situation where, for example, this country has the lowest per capita percentage of hospital beds in the advanced industrialized world. The massive hospital consolidation which has been allowed to occur, may have made running particular hospitals more “efficient.” Hospitals, for example, make more money when they have 70% to 80% of their hospital beds full all the time. And, this makes private equity guys happy, but when there is a crisis, the country is not prepared.
We must use this crisis to make regular people more empowered. For 40 years, capitalists have used disasters to disempower people. We must use them to seize back the power we have to determine our own futures.