Time is running short to brace for impact
Like a windstorm toppling a hollowed-out tree, SARS-CoV-2 didn’t cause the current recession so much as it exposed how rotten things already were.
Even before SARS-CoV-2, households were struggling. Far too many were limping along without any savings at all, one crisis away from financial ruin.
Debts at every level were at record highs before SARS-CoV-2 came along, and the Federal Reserve was already busy bailing out the US financial system before the virus hit.
The shale oil industry had failed to generate any profits for over a decade before anyone ever heard of Covid19.
The worldwide wealth gap was already record levels before we were forced into lockdown.
What the coronavirus pandemic has done, though, is give the ruling authorities aircover to accelerate all of these trends to warp speed.
Billionaires have been, by far, the largest winners in this story so far. Ditto for mega corporations. Main Street and small and medium-sized businesses have been utterly crushed.
Where the Great Financial Crisis in 2008 could have been — and should have been — a wake-up call to operate the system more equitably and sustainably, it was used instead as an excuse to make things even worse.
No bank executives were charged or even went to jail for any crimes they played in bringing the financial system to the brink of disaster. Accounting deceit, wire fraud, and forgery — anybody remember ‘robosigning’? That was forgery, a felony, and not one charge was ever leveled. Instead, the Too Big To Fail banks were bailed out and got bigger at the expense of smaller, more responsible firms.
My point here is that SARS-CoV-2 has laid bare our true value systems. Some countries have done an admirable job of showing they care about their citizens, making public safety and health their top priority. Other countries, such as mine (the US), have demonstrated the opposite.
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