Covid-19 means the United States can never return to “normal.” Nor should it; “normal” was full of flaws! We, the people, must propose bold systemic changes, starting now!
Proposal #1: Cut the bloated Pentagon budget by half. The U.S. spends $738 billion annually on “defense,” but is in fact ill-defended. Even though U.S. military budget exceeds the next 10 nations’ defense budgets combined, our country’s armed forces (1) failed to protect us against the 9/11 terror attacks, (2) achieved little-to-nothing in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and (3) proved irrelevant to the 2008 financial meltdown, Russia’s manipulations in the 2016 election, global warming, and now the coronavirus. Too little bang for too many bucks.
Billions cut from the military budget can be redirected to:
Proposal #2: Health insurance for all. One compelling lesson of the pandemic is that everyone needs basic health insurance. Approximately 27 million Americans have none. And with health insurance for additional millions tied to their job, layoffs mean they’ve just lost theirs. National health insurance is also an essential public health measure to forestall another pandemic. Medicare and Medicaid are the models. Race and class disparities can be addressed, as well as historically insufficient health care for vulnerable populations, such as prisoners and foster care kids, the homeless, and those for whom English is a second language.
Proposal #3: Guaranteed annual income. A national minimum wage or guaranteed annual income is the obvious means to reverse the widening gap between have-nots, haves, and have-mores, and to prevent civil unrest. An annual family subsidy would ensure adequate housing, food, clothing, and health care for all, with criteria for eligibility including citizenship, income or a means test, and ability to work.
Proposal #4: Eliminating student debt would be the best way to give an economic jump start for two generations of young Americans.
If not now, when? If not us, who?