A Reader Writes (on May 18) to Disagree with Me About a UBI for the Pandemic

Published August 18, 2020

He writes:

Mark, I like to respond to you directly, because the few times I’ve written on your Facebook or Patheos page, I’ve been ridiculed, that is not your fault btw, so please don’t take that the wrong way, and I know it pains you sometimes how commentators respond, I still agree to keep things transparent though, and commentators uncharity should be proof enough, you know how much I value your opinion, and just to put my cards on the table. 

Understood.  And I’m sorry you were ridiculed.  I value readers who give honest perspectives and who write without transparent “Gotcha” agendas.  They are a lot rarer than they should be so I treasure it when I meet such readers.

I think Trump has made things infinitely worse, but I have to charitably disagree with your argument here,

for two reasons, first, it’s not where the politics are right now, and that’s no one who didn’t vote for Trumps fault, so I need to get back to work for my family even with the risks, which I’ve weighed and found I’m ready to live with them ,

I quite agree it’s “not where the politics are right now”.  Americans are, so far from being lazy moochers, deeply driven by the idea of shame over the thought of getting money without working for it.  It’s a tough sell to say that we should give people a Universal Basic Income to get Americans through the Pandemic, even when it is perfectly sane public health policy.  Americans fear shame much more than they fear COVID.  So talking the most at-risk people in the country into it is often just as hard as talking the heartless, selfish bastards in the GOP into it.  Even the Dems are reluctant.  Biden certainly doesn’t like the idea.

But all that is simply a matter of will, not means.  We could do it.  Other countries have done it.  We just don’t want to, and often for deeply stupid reasons having to do with funding unnecessary killing machines instead of saving our children from being offered as human sacrifices to Trump’s ego.

Back when the GOP was sane and patriotic and not a monstrous cult of death hiding behind the unborn in order to sacrifice human beings to Mammon, Dwight Eisenhower, one of the greatest presidents who ever lived, said:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

The simple truth is that you ought not to have weigh the risk of killing or injuring yourself and your family.  You should be able to be safe from being forced to take such risks.  We do, in fact, have the means to make that happen.  But instead of using those means for the public good, we have chosen to needlessly enrich people who already have more than they need.  That is folly.

and 2nd, even if I agreed with you wholeheartedly, I agree with your argument for a period of time, maybe 8 weeks, but even if we could do this longer, which would be great, a large percentage of the economy would need to carry on, grocery store, cops, firefighters, farmers, etc, and I’m not saying your not making that distinction of “essential workers”, I’m simply pointing out that even in a best case scenario, lockdowns need to move to a more targeted quarantine eventually, use the time that we’ve bought to study the data and figure out whose most at risk, and then protect the vulnerable, like my mom, who my family guards passionately.

Of course there are going to still be people at risk.  All I’m saying is that in an economy organized as though people matter more than things, we would be acting very differently.

 I’m sad that this has become so political, which is how Trump has made things so much worse, but please assume the best about most people who are ready to restart there businesses, it looks like we will be able to on June 4th here in Pa.

History appears to not be working out as planned.  I see PA has about 800 new cases as of this writing.  Trump’s catastrophic negligence has turned our country into a vast petri dish and now he wants the schools reopened.  Essentially we are looking at nearly half the body count of the Civil War (our bloodiest war) by Inauguration Day.  Pray to God that Biden wins and that sane public health governance returns on 1/20/21 or by this time next year we will be facing a death toll greater then the Civil War and with no end in sight, among the many other calamities this criminal traitor has visited on us.

Germany is doing a great job on this front in my opinion, and that’s why they’ve been able to reopen incrementally, and even opened schools today, my five kids are the greatest gifts in my life, and as an example I would not fear sending them to school, because of risk level, I would be afraid if my 75 year old mom was teaching there though, but that falls in the protect the vulnerable category in my view, Hopefully we will return to sanity on November 3rd-  Best

Germany is doing far better than we are, that is true.  They are governed by grownups.  I sometimes joke that they are looking forward to being the Good Guys in our next World War.  Merkel is sane and competent and has a science background.  We have a moron who urges quack doctors preaching Alien DNA on us.  But Germany is still struggling to reopen and has suffered a spike.  The truth is, this will go on till we get a vaccine.  We either face that and do more to keep people home with a UBI or we will needlessly offer human sacrifices to Moloch because we are cheapskates who think the poor need to die so that the excessively rich can cling to their money.  I reject that.  Human life comes before property rights.

God bless you, friend. Stay healthy and may God protect you and yours from the pestilence.

3 Responses

  1. In the five months since the excrement hit the air conditioning, we have learned a lot about this disease. From my own experience, wearing a mask while out, maintaining social distancing, washing my hands whenever I am handling anything from outside, wiping down anything I bring from outside with disinfectant wipes, avoiding crowds, and a few other things… all Of these things have kept us safe. My husband who works in a hospital does all of the things he needs to do according to hospital protocols, and he and I have remained safe.

    That’s what many Germans have done, perhaps a majority of the country. I know this because my husband‘s family is in Germany, and not one person has gotten sick. But that is not what this country is doing. About four or five weeks ago, I went into my local Home Depot store, and despite the signs outside saying that customers must be masked, about a quarter of The customers and a quarter of the employees were either not wearing masks, or were wearing them where they wouldn’t do the slightest bit of good. When I complained to the manager of the store, He said there was nothing They could do. Nonsense. I called the national office, and got the same answer. Nonsense again. I wrote to the CEO, got a lukewarm response from a publicity flack,, and then nothing for the month Since. I will not be shopping at Home Depot again.

    Other countries, at least in the first world, Are dealing with this crisis according to sound medical andacientific advice. We are not. Rather, we hear the continuous fecal bleating of so many people who would describe themselves as “right-to-life“ Christians, perverting the notion of religious freedom into religious license, saying that the economy is far more important than the lives of 170,000 Americans. Yesterday, Mike hucksterbee Call those 170 thousand dead Americans “a distraction”. Governor Greg Abbott and lieutenant governor Dan Patrick of Texas refuse to shut their state down, as did Deathsantis ofFlorida. Lawsuits from fundamentalist Christian churches, horrified at the thought that some woman they don’t know terminated the pregnancy a few weeks after she found out, or suing the government over and over again for the right to infect as many of their congregants as they can, and then bragging about it. So much for the three places in the New Testament that say, “obey the civil authorities”.

    Yes, many people need to get back to work. But the problem isn’t that they want to get back to work, the problem is that the safety of their communities and the people in them are not as important as getting Jabba the Trump re-elected.

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