News Release

Pandemic as Reckoning

DAVID DAYEN david.dayen at gmail.com, @ddayen
Executive editor of The American Prospect, Dayen has written a series of pieces about different aspects of the government response to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Prospect published a several pieces on especially vulnerable groups, such as people detained by ICEprisoners and farmworkers.

Dayen tweeted: “Every broken piece of our society restricted us from responding to this crisis, from welfare reform to post-2008 austerity to the war on crime. You can’t divorce any of it.”

In the piece “Unsanitized: Covidien’s Story Is Corporate America’s Story,” he examines how a maker of cheaper portable ventilators was effectively hindered because it got bought up by a bigger medical company not wanting to see a cut into its profits in its existing ventilator business.

See his other recent pieces, including today’s “Unsanitized: It’s the First of the Month,” which notes that today “most residential and commercial rents and mortgages are due. This is the biggest financial expense for most ordinary people and businesses. None of the relief in the $2.2 trillion survival aid package passed last week has gone out the door. And many have spent several weeks without salaries or revenues; those in the underground or cash economies will likely get little or no relief.”

His other recent pieces include “The Dangerous Life of an Amazon Worker,” “The Gaping Hole in the Defense Production Act” and “Unsanitized: The Federal Reserve Loads the Cannon,” which states: “Incredibly, the Fed put BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, in charge of this and two other bond-buying programs. One of the programs involves buying up exchange-traded funds, and nobody has issued more of those than BlackRock. The firm can theoretically direct itself to buy up its own troubled funds and take fees on it! Whatever the purchases, BlackRock unquestionably stands to make hundreds of billions of dollars.”

In his piece Tuesday, “Unsanitized: Stimulus, Episode IV, A New Hope,” he writes Democrats “now want to bargain over all the things Republicans rejected in the first three bills. On a conference call [Monday], House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her caucus was ‘taking inventory’ on what the public needed, throwing out ideas like a surge of funds for hospitals for personal protective equipment and coronavirus testing, full paid medical leave, more state and local government aid, assistance for overburdened pension funds, guaranteed free treatment of COVID-19 cases for everyone, an OSHA emergency temporary standard to mandate safety rules in workplaces kept open through the crisis, and longer-term goals like a buildout of broadband to secure access to telehealth. …

“It’s amazing that Democrats had to re-learn this lesson. They gave up all their leverage in stimulus III. Maybe economic conditions will wither to the point that stimulus IV will become necessary, but that’s going to be well in the future for Republicans as long as their business base is satiated. The whole point of doing the bailout and the individual relief together was to maximize both. If you left a bunch of individual relief on the table, you did it wrong.”