I’m writing a second post this week because, as we go through this COVID-19 crisis, I need to get this message out there: America has enough for you.
Yes, you sitting at home reading this article. And your friends and family that don’t keep up with the news. We have enough money to make sure you don’t go bankrupt and are put out on the street. And we have enough in our hearts to help you feel less alone.
America has enough for you and let me tell you why that is so important.
Sacrificing the country
Last night, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick went on Tucker Carlson and said that he is ” willing to take a chance for [his] survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for [his] children and grandchildren”. You can watch the full interview below.
The Lt. Gov. was humble in saying it doesn’t make him noble or brave. But if you take him at his word, what he’s saying is that Americans do not have the strength to pull together and make it through this difficult time.
Lt. Gov. Patrick believes that the economic and social pressures of this current crisis are too much for us to bear. So instead of hanging together, it’s time we accept that some of us will hang alone, in order to go back to normal. If we don’t, it would mean “[sacrificing] the country”.
But the truth is that if Americans leave each other out to dry, that’s the real way we’d sacrifice this country.
The rent challenge isn’t real
Just like back in 2008, everyone is talking about the economy. And just like back then, today we watch with horror the stock market dropping and unemployment rising. To be clear, the reason this is bad is because when real, living breathing people don’t have jobs, they don’t have income. So, they miss rent and mortgage payments, buy less food and can’t get the healthcare they and their families need.
Lt. Gov. Patrick, and the President, want you to believe that unless businesses are open, you can’t get the money you need to keep your life going. That is not true.
America has more than enough money to help each of us get through the next three to four months and make sure no one declares bankruptcy or is put out onto the street.
How is this possible? Well, first, check out the interest rates on American bonds. I highlighted the most recent rate at the bottom.
What exactly does that mean? It means that if we borrow $1000 and agree to pay it back in ten years, the total amount we would pay back, with interest, is $994.40.
So we can think big. Imagine we gave every man, woman and child in America $1,000 every month for three months. That’s $1000 x 3 x 330 million = $990 billion. If we borrowed it over 10 years, not only would we pay 0% interest, we would actually pay $5.5 billion less than we borrowed. And for those that don’t like the debt, we could certainly temporarily raise taxes in the future to pay it back.
How is this possible? It’s because right now investors are so scared of the current situation that they think the best return they can get on their money is to let America spend it. And that makes sense – we should be spending it on people and hospitals so that when the virus passes, we can get back to work.
The uncertainty challenge is a emotional one
Unfortunately, the other challenge isn’t as easy. The reason businesses and markets have a hard time handling uncertainty is because they’re made up of people. And people have a hard time handling uncertainty. “How long is it going to be like this”, “what will happen with my job”, “what do I tell my kids”, these are all questions we are struggling to answer because honestly we don’t know exactly. It makes the loneliness so many of us felt before this started even worse.
There’s no wonky solution to fix this. We can try video chats with family or date nights with significant others. We can talk to therapists and religious leaders by phone. But that will only be so fulfilling. For many people, their jobs are the places where they are the most social, so it’s tempting to go back to work. But while that would help ease the loneliness and anxiety, it would also lead to more deaths.
The good news is that we did this before, during the Great Depression and World War II. So we do have some role models. And none of them purposed doing what Lt. Gov. Patrick suggests – deciding that some Americans get to enjoy normalcy while others are left to fate.
To Lt. Gov. Patrick’s point, in my mind, that would “weigh on my heart” more than anything else.
America has enough for you
Growing up, I remember hearing “Song of the South” by Alabama. They talked about the Great Depression and it’s challenges. It’s a great song and a reminder of what we’ve come through before.
During challenging times, there will be those clamoring for financial support and an end to the emotional difficulty of uncertainty and loneliness. These are basic human needs and we should work quickly to meet them as best we can.
But it should not mean committing ourselves to sacrificing some number of us to this virus. If there’s That would be more damaging to our country than anything else.