One video perfectly sums up the moral bankruptcy of hard-line capitalism

Dan Patrick
Ed Sykes

One right-wing US politician has given what must be one of the worst takes on the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic so far. And it sums up the moral bankruptcy of hard-line capitalists perfectly.

‘Sacrifice elderly people, not capitalism’

A senior US Federal Reserve official said on 22 March that the country’s unemployment rate could reach 30% due to coronavirus shutdowns, with gross domestic product potentially halving. With this situation in mind, Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick spoke to Fox News about his fear of “total economic collapse”. And he seemed to think risking more lives was a price worth paying to protect the economy.

Patrick said he doesn’t want “the whole country to be sacrificed” (i.e. the economy) in order to save lives. So he called for the US to “get back to work”, stressing:

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those of us who are 70+, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country.

Seeking clarity, Fox presenter Tucker Carlson asked:

So you’re basically saying that this disease could take your life, but that’s not the scariest thing to you? There’s something that would be worse than dying?

Patrick answered “yeah”. And he also clarified that “it’s worth whatever it takes to save the country” (i.e. the country’s capitalist economic system).

Moral bankruptcy

There’s been a lot of talk among the US right about prioritising the economy over the fight against coronavirus. But as Hill reporter Krystal Ball has clarified, this is a false choice. Because it’s perfectly possible to protect people’s finances and fight coronavirus at the same time. And Ball exposed the propaganda of political and economic elites, stressing:

They would have you believe that the only options are to starve or to take your chances with coronavirus… Even as trillions were instantly freed up to feed the stock and the bond markets.

She continued:

What the Wall Street ghouls and Trump and his right-wing sycophants want you to believe is that listening to the sound advice of public health officials necessarily means economic calamity for workers. It doesn’t. If they put half as much time and attention and care into bailing out workers as they do into the stock market, we’d all be able to get through this just fine.

On 12 March, US stocks crashed, and the New York Federal Reserve quickly announced it would be injecting around $1.5tn into the financial system.

People first!

As presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders pointed out recently, political elites can always find billions upon billions to protect banks and wage wars, just not for protecting ordinary people. They could easily prioritise citizens over economic elites, but they choose not to. For example, they could introduce a regular universal basic income (UBI) to cover people’s essential living costs for a fraction of what it’s costing to bail out companies.

Capitalist fundamentalists may be fine with massive bailouts for companies and the stock market (i.e. ‘socialism for the rich‘). But they fear what bailing out ordinary people would represent (i.e. socialism for everyone else). And for them, as Patrick made clear, dying is a price worth paying to prevent this. That sums up perfectly the moral bankruptcy right at the heart of modern-day capitalism.

Featured image via Twitter – Chris Brooks

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  • Show Comments
    1. Fine, lets start by giving the virus to them and their families first then follow that up with giving their supporters next, and we will see what happens to these nut jobs.

    2. It’s either called a death cult or disjointed thinking.

      They have no idea what the economy is or what it’s for.

      What’s the economy? What’s money?
      The economy is what we make, what we need and how it goes from one person to another. We are both producers and consumers. Money is just a note saying “I owe you” for the work one does. Keeping that in mind, the current economic crash is nothing really. Because the majority of humankind is now staying home (wow), we are not producing, we are now consuming. Nothing more, nothing less. The machines are still there, the factories still standing, the power grid still in, the road still open, the ports still there, the ships still floating. All we need if for the food to still grow, the power to remain on and the internet to run, the hospital to remain open. All activities occupying only a small fraction of the workforce! As long as everyone is fed, we can leave the economy on pause for a long long time…

      Of course, when it all starts again, thing won’t be exactly the same, but the factories will switch back on and the bosses still get their cut of the workforce’s work, and compete to sell crap we don’t really need. Of course, some sectors will not recover to their pre pandemic levels (we might realised we managed to live two months without buying some useless stuff, so we don’t really need it), and some sectors will bounce above the pre pandemic levels (the buildings started will need to be finished while other projects were meant to start but were delayed: need to clear the backlog). But, all in all, it is called FREE FUCKING MARKET. Right wingers are supposed to live free markets, don’t they.

      So yeah, if the economy collapse right now, it doesn’t need to be a catastrophe. If nations can produce the essential and everyone is fed, it’s no biggie. The rest doesn’t matter.

      And that’s my dearest hope for the post Covid world: that we collectively realise that the system was just a shadow, a human construct and that alternatives exists. We have the industrial capacity to produce what we really need with a fraction of the workforce. The rest is meant to be just luxury, pleasures, leisure…

      This is what the left understood a long time ago.

    3. We’re not that much better in the UK. The Government is still allowing building work to carry on putting workers who have to travel to their work by public transport at risk of infection, who will then infect others. Allto keep the economy going to protect Brexit..

    4. THis proves that what we suspected about America was right; America was founded by assholes who thought that King James 1 was “too liberal”; he took away their “right” to burn at the stake people of a different religion from themselves! It was only due to an incompetent ordinance worker (who failed to fill all the mortar bombs he was making with gunpowder) that the US exists at all, if he had done his job properly, the Brits would have won the Battle of Baltimore (in the War of 1812) and the US would have ceased to exist; here’s hoping that the Native Americans aquire time travel and go back and rectify the situation.

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