Letter to the editor: A modest proposal
To the editor:
The problem is the availability of money. People out of work don’t get paychecks and won’t have money. Our economic model presumes we’re always going full speed. It’s like driving the same speed, full speed, no matter the conditions. If the economic spin rate stops, or even slows, there simply aren’t dollars for people at the end of the line. Rent can’t be paid nor car payments; neither credit cards nor student debt. The sun doesn’t stop shining. Crops don’t stop growing. Cattle don’t stop fattening. There is bounty enough for all, but the problem isn’t bounty; it’s dollars.
The coronavirus proves the case. Things are shutting down; cities and states are going into hibernation. Markets are crashing while moratoriums are being announced on evictions and foreclosures. There are hoarding problems, but I’m not hearing there won’t be enough food. We’re being told we’ll wake the thing back up in about a month. Production of the shiny things we make might be delayed, but that can be caught up. Still, because cash flow is interrupted, jobs and businesses will be lost, people will be forced from homes, cars repossessed, lives changed for the worse.
So how about building catastrophe into the model? How about planning for productivity 11 months a year while paying for all 12? Shut the whole thing down for a month every year, and then when something bad happens we just take our planned month off. There will be bailouts for banks and the big companies, but we need a safety net that catches everyone.