As the COVID-19 pandemic surges across the globe, Americans have been critical of our current system of government. We are living in an era of misinformation and uncertainty that unfortunately is costing people their lives. Frankly, the United States (U.S.) government has consistently let the American people down with its failure to respond to the pandemic quickly and responsibly.
Efforts by the United States government to cover up the mishandling of COVID-19 has made the majority of Americans realize that our current free-market economy is incapable of providing for working class Americans during a pandemic. Now more than ever, people are finally willing to talk about the possibility of democratic socialism to correct for disasters like COVID-19 in the future.
The United States cannot transition to a democratic socialist government despite the recent events of COVID-19 until the right leadership invests in people and our democracy over profit.
The topic of democratic socialism has recently sparked conversation within our society. In political rhetoric, the very mention of democratic socialism has been coined as the worst possible structure of government by the far right. People are not willing to discuss the possibility of democratic socialism because the chance of it coming to the U.S. is diluted by strong partisanship.
Democratic socialism has been on the rise ever since Bernie Sanders joined the presidential scene. Since then, Americans have tried to picture how democratic socialism would work in the United States.
Democratic socialism means that the working class would control the economy instead of the large corporations that control it now due to the free-market system that currently structures our economy. A democratic socialist regime includes universal welfare programs and ultimately, expanding democracy into every aspect of the government. These regimes also come with a government-controlled economy which has total control and regulation over private corporations.
The possibility of democratic socialism is a turn off to most people because there is one initial question that comes to mind when we start to talk about things like universal healthcare, wiped student loan debt, government control of the markets, and increased spending on welfare programs: “Who’s going to pay for it?”
The Trump administration failed to act on COVID-19 when the president was briefed on Jan. 22, 2020. This caused a cascade of devastating effects to the economy and the American way of life. The closure of non-essential businesses has left thousands of Americans filing for unemployment, overwhelming the system.
On March 26, 2020, Congress passed the $2 trillion stimulus package as a COVID-19 relief package. The bill will provide funding for individuals, married couples, hospitals, airlines, and increase unemployment benefits.
While this bill seems like “a huge win” as Trump would put it, it took far too long to start preparing for the hits the pandemic was going to bring to millions of Americans. The stimulus package is almost like a bandage the government wants to put on the disaster it created. The first wave of stimulus checks weren’t issued until April 15, and even then, these checks will only go to some Americans and will be delayed due to the president’s selfishness in insisting he sign them.
That’s the problem with capitalism. Only some people will reap the rewards of their labor. Only some people can keep their jobs during a pandemic, and only some people can have access to testing.
With the negative side effects of capitalism in mind, there will be consequences when the pandemic eventually ends. What will this mean for the future of our government and our economy? Why can’t we normalize investing in welfare programs for the good of the American people?
This has brought Americans to terms with the reality of a free-market economy. In the face of a pandemic, it is creating even more disparaging income inequalities throughout millions of families who have been hit hardest.
Essential workers are getting paid less than people on unemployment, people are living on food stamps, some people get to keep their jobs whereas others are laid off, and most college students aren’t included in the stimulus package. This pandemic will change the American way of life forever. It’s time to start internalizing how the phrase “profits over people” dictates our way of life and how we are now living with the consequences of it.
COVID-19 will not force us into a democratic socialist economy no matter how bad this continues to play out and kill millions of people around the globe. Even with a deadly virus, conservatives are marching in the streets trying to take back the supposed civil liberties the virus has apparently taken away.
Our capitalist society will remain unchanged until the correct leadership takes over the government and decides to put people over profits. Party politics are what stand in the way of adopting a democratic socialist regime and should be something to consider since events like COVID-19 are bound to happen in the future.
Our current leadership is concerned with profits, which is why Trump and multiple governors insist we reopen the economy, which will only create a horrific disaster compared to the current state the country is in. Unfortunately, until this is realized, millions of people will lose their lives before any real change happens.