What Evictions, Unemployment, Liberal America and a Guaranteed Annual Wage All Have in Common

Yep, we most sure have a major problem on our hands with rents not paid. Blame it on who you will, those who are behind are certainly not taking Covid-19 as an excuse to lay back and figure the rent will take care of itself.

But deciding landlords are a class we seem increasingly willing to throw under the bus doesn’t make sense either. They’re businessmen the same as others under stress, some of them assholes and some keeping up their properties and sending a plumber when there’s a leak in the kitchen. Prevented from eviction they probably lose the building, the mortgage-holder takes over and they evict. Everybody loses.

The actual unemployment rate is behind this, instead of the 6.7% government claim

(CNBC June 29, 2020) The number of employed people as a percentage of the U.S. adult population — plunged to 52.8% in May, meaning 47.2% of Americans are jobless. As the coronavirus-induced shutdown tore through the labor market, the share of population employed dropped sharply from a recent high of 61.2% in January.

“To get the employment-to-population ratio back to where it was at its peak in 2000 we need to create 30 million jobs,” said Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist.

I don’t know Torsten, but even 30 million sounds low to me

Liberal America, at least those who still dare to peek out from behind their curtains, want to invest in a Green New Deal that will create those jobs and more.  Jobs that can’t be offshored to China and, if we have our heads screwed on properly, will be union jobs paying union wages, something we haven’t seen in a while.

Which is great, assuming we have enough sense to do it.

The Republican hue and cry is that it’s all a socialist plot to turn us into communist zombies. Thirty million union jobs in a country that needs work, doesn’t sound very communist to me, but then I never felt hiding under my school desk was much of a response to the cold war either. Did Democrat FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) turn us into godless communists? I guess not, but it certainly shortened the soup lines and left us some lovely buildings and infrastructure.

Ditto for Republican Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate highway program.

But that’s a middle-term solution. What about right now?

Good point.

Right now we need money to keep renters in their apartments and homeowners in their homes, along with making their car payments because we’ve made America a country where you can’t work or buy groceries without a car. Twelve hundred bucks isn’t going to do that. We desperately need to keep the wheels greased until such work as the Green New Deal can kick in.

We need a guaranteed annual wage and we need it now

Most Republicans just threw-up their breakfast. That’s okay, they wanted a government small enough to drown in the bathtub and instead gave us the largest increase in national debt ever. Converging circumstances give us little choice on the guaranteed annual wage. We spent the last 40 years guaranteeing outrageous annual profits to the top 10% and it hasn’t (yet) entirely ruined the country.

27% of American families survive on less than $50,000 annually and that doesn’t count the homeless and huge number of citizens who don’t have families. $1,500 per month per adult and $600 per child would be a starter.

But that would be a reason for the unemployed not to work at all

So? So what?

We know we are heading toward increasing numbers of Americans for whom there will never be full-time jobs. Algorithms, robots and other forms of automation (some not yet dreamed of) are surely and relentlessly removing more and more jobs from the market. Humans want to work. Being useful is an elemental spiritual and physical need. Breaking free from abject poverty allows those needs to be met in all kinds of voluntary or creative activities.

How does all this unearned income justify itself?

It recycles itself into the national economy. Put it this way, Wal-Mart and Amazon make no money off the chronically poor, nor do landlords, auto mechanics or used car lots. From the perspective of those on the receiving end, that money is going to pay the rent, possibly buy a used car to get to a job and finally buying a new sofa for the living room. The landlord benefits and sends his profits along, as does everyone else in the chain of purchases.

Amazon gets its hunk, as does Wal-Mart and the restaurant down the street, if it survives. These are enormous amounts flowing in to the system that are simply not there otherwise. It rolls back in sales taxes, value-added taxes where relevant and income taxes from those on down the food-chain.

If we can somehow ‘afford’ to chuck $60 billion to failing airlines, how can we possibly deny salvation to  the 47.2% of adult Americans who are jobless?

Far more to the point, my fear is that without it America is in for a decades-long decline in which the rich get richer and the entire central core of our country simply falls apart.

Anarchy is the likely result.

2 thoughts on “What Evictions, Unemployment, Liberal America and a Guaranteed Annual Wage All Have in Common

  1. The problem with this is the ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaires’ mentality. Trained since birth to admire personal financial success as the highest American value, why should anyone get offended when Bezos and Gates and co. make trillions? It’s a sign that the dream is alive, the system is working. Anyone who falls through the gaps and ends up poor, unemployed, etc. is just a loser and beneath contempt. If as you say, and as I agree seems likely, this loser category spreads to the entire ‘central core’ of the former middle class (already mostly absorbed into the wage slave proletariat as far as I can see) then the result, as I have been arguing for some years, is ‘Latin Americanization’, with a fairly large class of the rich living physically separated from a kind of lawless, crime-ridden, drugged-up poor world in which education has collapsed and law and order is ensured by brutal armed death squads.

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