We can get out of this depression and save the planet all at once.
Our political leaders, Republican and Democrat, are leaving tens of millions of people in free fall. Instead of a guaranteed income and universal, single-payer healthcare, we are offered paltry, one-time checks and unemployment payments (for those who qualify—and many don’t, including all undocumented people). Epidemiologists tell us that people must stay home to curb the spread of the virus—yet, to do so, people need a consistent income, which most cannot achieve from home. We have been offered no road map for keeping bread lines—like the 10,000 families who showed up at a food bank in San Antonio—from growing ever longer.
Even as there are no jobs, work is piling up. For example, any plan to safely emerge from shutdown also requires contact tracing, which involves mass testing to find people who have been infected with the virus, then tracking down and monitoring anyone they have come in contact with. (Such an effort should remain firmly under the purview of public health, with checks to ensure the data is in no way subject to policing, government surveillance or private interests.) By some estimates, adequate contact tracing in the U.S. would require at least a hundred thousand tracers. As no healthcare expertise is required, it would be a perfect job for the presently unemployed.