Coronavirus and Inequality
We touched on this briefly in our Coronavirus Endgames post.
Our solution to Coronavirus thus far includes the unemployment of at least 15 Million Americans. A government check for $1,200 won't do much to satiate the needs of the unemployed. How long until the perception becomes that the well-to-do have only saved themselves. And the well-to-do in this case includes anyone who can easily work from home, which may not be as many people as you think.
The coronavirus has thus put a magnifying glass on inequality both between and within countries. In the U.S., there’s been a move by some of the very wealthy to “self-isolate” on their Hamptons estates or swanky yachts — one Hollywood mogul swiftly deleted an Instagram picture of his $590 million boat after a public outcry. Even the merely well-heeled can feel pretty safe working from home via Zoom and Slack.
But countless other Americans don’t have that option. Indeed, the less money you make, the less likely you are to be able to work remotely (see the chart below). Lacking savings and health insurance, these workers in precarious employment have to keep their gigs or blue-collar jobs, if they’re lucky enough still to have any, just to make ends meet. As they do, they risk getting infected and bringing the virus home to their families, which, like poor people everywhere, are already more likely to be sick and less able to navigate complex health-care mazes. And so the coronavirus is coursing fastest through neighborhoods that are cramped, stressful and bleak. Above all, it disproportionately kills black people.