News — At The Edge — 4/18
Even in the country’s darkest days slimy politicians — grifters, cronies and corruption — favor the wealthy over the rest of us.
“[After] 2001 terrorist attacks…came the tea party, the anti-government conservatism that infected the Republican Party…[fostered] a government that couldn’t produce a rudimentary test for coronavirus…contain the pandemic…produce enough ventilators…face masks and gowns for health-care workers….
It is not an exaggeration to say that this ideology caused the current debacle with a deliberate strategy to sabotage government….
Between 2011 and 2018, nondefense discretionary spending fell by 12 percent — and, with it…Public Health Emergency Preparedness grants to state and local public health departments were cut by a third and the Hospital Preparedness Program cut in half, 60,000 jobs were lost at state and local public health departments, and [laboratories]….
Now Americans are paying for this with their lives — and their livelihoods….
To have mitigated the virus the way…would have required spending…$4.5 billion a year on public health….Instead, we’re spending trillions to rescue the economy….
2014, NIH chief…said there likely would have been a vaccine for the Ebola outbreak if not for a 10 percent cut in NIH funding…[as] Republicans jeered.
Since then, Trump has proposed cuts to the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control…so severe…Republicans rejected them.
And last month they fed the ‘beast’ a $2.2 trillion feast to fight the pandemic. Now they know: When you drown the government…people die. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/10/when-you-drown-government-bathtub-people-die/
“[How] Washington has handled the bailout ‘could jeopardize the very existence’ of…largest public health systems…[with] a one-size-fits-all approach to distributing the first $30 billion in emergency grants…[using] historical share of revenue from…Medicare program for seniors — not according to their coronavirus burden.
That method is ‘woefully insufficient to address the financial challenges facing hospitals…[especially] in ‘hot spot’ areas such as the New York City region…
[As result] Minnesota, Nebraska and Montana…touched relatively lightly…[get] $300,000 per reported COVID-19 case…[versus] New York, the worst-hit…only $12,000 per case. Florida is getting $132,000 per case….
’[It’s] weird that they wouldn’t just target areas…where the surge has been…[so] method ‘could tilt the playing field’ against hospitals whose patients are largely uninsured or covered by the Medicaid program for low-income patients…[and] hospitals with a big…Medicare Advantage, won’t be credited for that.” https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/nebraska-getting-dollar300g-in-federal-money-for-each-coronavirus-case-while-ny-gets-dollar12g/ar-BB12sodV?ocid=spartandhp
“80 percent of the [tax] benefits…[inserted] by Senate Republicans, temporarily suspends a limitation…’pass-through’ entities can deduct to reduce their tax liability….
About 82 percent of the benefits of the policy go to about 43,000 taxpayers who earn more than $1 million annually.
Less than 3 percent of the benefits go to Americans earning less than $100,000 a year….
Hedge-fund investors and owners of real estate businesses are ‘far and away’ the two prime beneficiaries of the change…[says] a tax expert at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.” https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/taxes/tax-change-in-coronavirus-package-overwhelmingly-benefits-millionaires-congressional-body-finds/ar-BB12BVAL?ocid=spartandhp
“After analyzing data from several decades, researchers warn of American corporate giants paying less tax than smaller companies, yet being less effective businesses….
[From] 2015–18, their effective tax rate was…13% lower compared to smaller corporations…[and] same goes for foreign taxes, with…largest corporations paying less than the small ones….
Huge corporations give a lot of their profits to shareholders, but the top 10% of US households own 84% of all corporate shares….
Despite their advantage…Big Pharma companies failed to address the COVID crisis…[begging] question: should we keep easing their taxes?” https://theconversation.com/biggest-companies-pay-the-least-tax-leaving-society-more-vulnerable-to-pandemic-new-research-132143
“[The] unease about losing jobs to machines could dissipate as people focus on…social-distancing…[and] benefits of restructuring workplaces…[to] ‘be automated’….
Retailers insist the robots are augmenting the work of employees…[but] as the panic…sales decline in the recession…expected to follow, companies…may no longer have a need for [workers]…[and] use mobile payment services….
[Also] fully automated stores, such as Amazon Go…are likely to become a more viable option for retailers…with companies hurting for cash….
‘People become more expensive as companies’ revenues decline…substantially depress rehiring.’” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/business/coronavirus-workplace-automation.html
“The end of the cold war established America as the most powerful country… and its governing philosophy seemingly had no rival…[yet] struggled either to prevail against illiterate tribesmen and tinpot dictators or…newly assertive Russia and a rising China….
[The] international order…[U.S.] constructed depends on legitimacy…[of its] values…[yet] Trump and his officials have sought to dismantle [it]….
At its best, the West has stood for capitalism, science, the Enlightenment, the rule of law and human rights…[but] long ago came to be seen as a source of hypocrisy and racism…[and] conflicts that herd people under falsely unifying rubrics like ‘American’, ‘the West’ or ‘Islam’….
As China and Russia challenge democracy…the idea of the West…may be doomed….
[Still] military, political and commercial elites came to believe American motives were beyond reproach, and that their world-view was sure to prevail….
Globalization was meant to create wealth, but…[result was] inequality; military dominance sucking the country into never-ending wars that sacrificed the children of lower-income families;…a selfish, atomized society; and the supremacy of the presidency became a recipe for voters’ disappointment.” https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2020/04/02/america-won-the-cold-war-what-went-wrong
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