On Sunday, April 12th, Joe Biden finally came up with his ‘Plan’ against coronavirus “My Plan to Safely Reopen America”. It’s just a string of goals, with no measures described for meeting them; and it ignores the real barriers that must be overcome in order to achieve its goals. The hundreds of reader-comments to it at a popular Democratic Party website, were worshipful: “Ah, President Biden! You cannot take over fast enough” was the most-popular. Biden’s platitudes pleased his Party’s faithful, despite ignoring the real issues.
He said there:
“First, we have to get the number of new cases of the disease down significantly. That means social distancing has to continue and the people on the front lines have to get the supplies and equipment they need.” How? He doesn’t say.
“Second, there needs to be widespread, easily available and prompt testing — and a contact tracing strategy that protects privacy.” How? He doesn’t say.
“Third, we have to make sure that our hospitals and health care system are ready for flare-ups of the disease that may occur when economic activity expands again. Reopening the right way will still not be completely safe. Public health officials will need to conduct effective disease surveillance. Hospitals need to have the staff and equipment necessary to handle any local outbreaks.” How? He doesn’t say — not for any of that.
What are the real problems? The real problems aren’t just the goals, such as he pretends, but are what he ignores. Such as:
Right now, the money is going overwhelmingly to corporations, not to workers, and not to consumers — most of the money is aiming to boost profits, not to prevent people from being laid-off or losing their homes.
America’s bipartisan bailout package to overcome the coronavirus ‘recession’ is twofold:
One part is printing money for employees and consumers, so that they won’t be thrown out onto the streets for non-payment of debts such as mortgages, car-loans, credit cards, and student loans.
Another part is printing money for bondholders and stockholders, so that their investments will still have value and there won’t be panicked selling of them as corporations accumulate soaring losses because consumers are staying home and are cutting way back on expenses.
The top-down part of the bailout (the part that’s for investors) will merely add to the wealth of the already-wealthy, while everybody else sinks financially into oblivion. (On April 9th, the Zero Hedge financial site explained in detail why even bailing out the airlines would hurt the economy more than help the economy.) The top-down part supplies the money to the corporations instead of to their employees and consumers, and is therefore supply-boosting instead of demand-boosting. Supplying money to the corporations that the Government selects to protect will enable those corporations to buy up assets and corporations which during the crisis are being auctioned off by the ones that go out of business, and this will leave the nation’s wealth in even fewer hands than before the epidemic struck.
The bottom-up part (the part for workers and consumers) will be exactly the opposite of that: it will help prevent another Great Depression. By boosting purchases, instead of bailing-out billionaires and such, it will enable the economy to keep functioning, and it will not increase the concentration of wealth.
However, employees and consumers don’t have many lobbyists, but billionaires do, and billionaires also own (through political donations and lobbyists) almost all members of Congress (and also the mainstream press), and they not only own, but are represented by, one inside the White House, who is surrounded there by others, and by representatives of others, so that the concerns of the wealthiest will be very well represented by America’s Government, and will end up dominating the bailouts, so that only the insiders, who are well-connected in Washington, will be protected. (And Joe Biden would be no improvement over Donald Trump, though his rhetoric is different.)
Already, we see, in the ‘news’-reports, that there is ‘chaos’ etc. in the U.S. Government’s response to the crisis, but what’s not being reported in the mainstream ‘news’-media is that there very much is method to this seeming madness, and it is the method of the well-practiced and well-funded takers, definitely not of their victims, from whom they (and their Government) have been, and now increasingly are, taking. The takers own the Deep State, and are protected by it. The vast bulk of the bailouts will go to them. The vast bulk of the bailouts will go to suppliers (investors), not to their workers and consumers.
Printing money for bondholders and stockholders will predominate. It won’t be like Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) did during the first Great Depression, when the federal money went to the public, instead of to the megacorporations; it will be the opposite. This will be a supercharged concentration of wealth. Money is power, and the power of billionaires will thus be enormously increased; the power of the public will go to absolute zero.
The inevitable result of this will be enormous spreading poverty, and, ultimately, so many dollars being owned by the billionaires, so that hyperinflation will result if this continues for more than a few months, and it will not be able to be overcome by any form of monetary response, because it will instead be a problem about the distribution of actual wealth (not mere money); and, as Raoul Pal phrased this problem, “Money printing does not make the dollars available. They get stuck in the financial system and hoarded” (by the wealthy), at a time like this. So: there still will be wealth, but increasing percentages of it will be owned by the super-rich; and, so, their corporations will experience plunging sales. Everything (except, perhaps, gold, etc.) will actually be worth less than it was before, even though inflation will be soaring. More dollars will be chasing fewer goods and services that are actually being purchased. The stock and bond markets will then crash. The result will be like Germany during the Weimar Republic. But the cause of it will be different; it won’t be war-reparations payments; it will instead be the almost unimaginable corruption at the very top of the U.S. Government and economy.
Joe Biden has said:
People who accept money [from lobbyists] aren’t bad people. But it’s human nature. You go out and bundle $250,000 for me, all legal, and then you call me after I am elected, and say “I would like to come and talk about something.” You didn’t buy me, but it’s human nature, you helped me. I’m going to say, “Sure, come on in.”
It’s called “crony capitalism.” Or “Pay to play.” He has admitted there that megadonors will get served first. They’ve bought access, and they will get access. (In that video clip he went on to say that though this is the way things are, he will change it once he becomes President. He thinks that voters believe in the tooth-fairy. He has no new proposal to fix the system. Unlike Bernie Sanders, his career has thrived because of corruption. The leopard will not change its spots, and Joe Biden will not change his friends. This is who he is — basically like Trump.) The problem with Trump’s handling of the situation is, in this sense, exactly the same as the problem with Biden’s. No corporations should get bailed-out, but they are getting bailed-out, and Biden doesn’t so much as mention this and the other real problems. He offers nothing but promises and platitudes — just like Trump, who had promised to “Clean the swamp.” And just like Barack Obama, who had promised a public option but dropped it within mererly days after he won election in 2008. There was no public option, and there was no cleaning of the swamp, and Biden is just like Obama and Trump were.
The coronavirus plague will end, but the world after it will be worse, not better, because of the coronavirus bailouts to the rich. Biden, like Trump, ignores the real problems.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.