• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.

Don’t Let the Politicians Divide Us During This Crisis

From the beginning of this pandemic, the response of our elected officials has prioritized private profits over saving lives.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, recently came out against federal support for state budgets, saying state pensions were unworthy of being bailed out. In short, he’s using this crisis as an opportunity to deny millions of workers benefits they’ve worked for their whole lives.

Covering his tracks with divisive rhetoric, McConnell said what he opposed was a “blue state bailout.”

The response of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose own state needs help battling the fallout of the pandemic, unfortunately wasn’t much better. He tried to pit New York against McConnell’s Kentucky, calling Kentucky a “taker” from the federal budget.

That’s the same lie of scarcity McConnell was peddling. Cuomo himself is proposing to cut billions of dollars from education, health care, and other social programs in New York while refusing to consider increasing taxes on the wealthy in the state.

We cannot fall for these cynical attempts at misdirection and division. “At the center of all these issues is not the red or blue divide, but actual people and their lives,” the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign in Kentucky and New York said in a joint statement.

“This is not a state against state issue,” they insisted. We’re all “being forced to exist within an economic framework that time and time again [protects] wealth over life.”

They’re right. We should have ample resources to survive this crisis.

Billionaires in the United States have seen their wealth dramatically increase since the pandemic set in. Trillions of dollars have been funneled to corporations. Recently closed hospitals are sitting empty, along with millions of homes and hotel rooms, and millions of pounds of food are being destroyed.

The lie of scarcity is a screen for policies that undermine not only our human rights to health, housing, and food, but also our democracy.

In the coming months, as state governments put together their budgets, the extent of this immoral opportunism will become even clearer. Sharp declines in sales and income taxes, along with increased strains on Medicaid and unemployment insurance, will leave states in severe budget crises.

What happens next can be deadly, as we saw in the criminal poisoning of Flint, Michigan.

In Flint, it was an unaccountable fiscal “emergency manager” who overruled local officials and switched the city’s water source as a cost-saving measure — and then refused to take necessary safety precautions, causing the entire city to be exposed to lead poisoning.

As Claire McClinton, a long-time Flint community organizer and leader, said: “They could not have taken our water away without taking our democracy first.” Turning our present public health emergency into a financial emergency is the next step in this process.

We cannot be silent in the face of cruelty masquerading as necessity. Just as we refuse to cooperate with irresponsible calls to re-open businesses before it’s safe, we should refuse to allow corporate-backed politicians to balance budgets by denying rights — especially when we have the resources to honor those rights.

We can provide health care, incomes, housing, education, food, and a healthy environment for all — if we choose to. If we value human life over private profits, there is no need for scarcity, not even in a pandemic.

What we can’t do is allow petty divisions to distract us from that.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis is the Director of the Kairos Center at Union Theological Seminary and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

More articles by:
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US