Sunday Commentary: How We Can Restart the Economy, Remain Safe, and Plan for the Next Crisis

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It was an emergency.  We had a virus bearing down on us that was much more deadly than the seasonal flu, at least twice as contagious and no vaccine or way to stop it other than to separate people—which unfortunately meant shutting down large swaths of the economy.

That we were caught with our pants down on this one is the subject for another time.  There are those who have started to protest the closures, which underscores the local and regionalized nature of this crisis.  One problem is that the rate has been uneven—NY for instance was hammered but they believe their infections have plateaued.  Los Angeles, on the other hand, has seen a huge rise in daily death toll.

Cities were hit first and suburbs and rural areas have lagged, which has led to not only uneven concerns but a politicized component.  The danger is if we open the economy now or relax stay-at-home orders, we will face a second wave that could be worse than the first, prolonging this situation another six months and greatly increasing the death toll.

I think there is another way.  Unlike a lot of people, I felt putting Tom Steyer on the governor’s economic recovery task force was a smart move, a successful business person who has an eye toward one of the next crises that we have to plan for—climate change, which will likely at this point create a need for a similar response.

The first point I want to make here is that I think if we do it smart, we can restart the economy, remain safe and plan for the next crisis.  But we have to understand that restarting the economy does not mean going back to February 1, 2020.  It means understanding that we have already disrupted the economy.  We have a shock to the system.  Why go back?  Fall forward, as they say in business.

That means fundamentally shifting how the economy works from top to bottom.  The good news is we now know we have the technology and wherewithal to do it, we now just need the will.

We can start with three major observations.  First, I started to see photos of streets that were largely empty in major metropolitan areas.  We started to see photos of places like Los Angeles and China, for example, where pollution has lifted because of the reduction of automobile travel and other emissions.  And from there I and many others realized that we can make a real dent in climate change if we figure out a way to pivot.

A disease is threatening to kill millions worldwide, and we don’t know how many millions climate change could kill.  What if this is the key to reversing it before it gets too late and building a new economy that can help us maintain our quality of life?

Second, we made a mistake, I think, in our handling of the economy.  Stimulus checks are nice to have but are one-time payments and will be short-lived.  The notion of essential versus is unessential workers is flawed, arbitrary, and self-defeating.  Everyone’s job is essential.  Granted, our failure to plan meant we did not have a lot of time do things, but we have time now.  We basically stopped the economy and told people to go home, and either work from home or watch Netflix.

Third, we should be investing in pivoting how we fundamentally do business.  The stimulus plan is hard to access if you are a small business.  The system was complicated, overwhelmed and inadequate from the start.  But imagine a program that in the short-term is focused on keeping people employed and getting a paycheck so they can continue to perpetuate the economy—in the long-term changing the way we do business?

In the short term then, the goal is to keep us safe, allow for fewer person-to-person contact points, but also keep business open or re-open business.

In the long term, the focus should be to figure out how to change the economy fundamentally.

Think about this.  What we do is essentially is not very different from 1990, pre-internet.  Oh sure, we have the internet.  We have new high tech businesses.  We have technology.  We have disruptive industries like Lyft and Uber.

But at the core, most of us or too many of us get up in the morning, drive our children to school, and drive to work.  We work for a set amount of time.  We leave work, we pick up our kids, maybe schlepping them to soccer and gymnastics, take them home, eat, watch TV, go to bed and do it again.

Here’s the thing though.  What we do is very costly, not very healthy, doesn’t give us great balance and to some extent is highly unnecessary.  In 2018, the average commute time one-way was 27 minutes.  That means that the average person adds one hour of work to their day for which they are largely non-productive and for which they do not get paid.

And there is a huge cost for that hour.  Gas miles.  Wear and tear on the car.  We have to build infrastructure to store all of these vehicles.  We have to build infrastructure to transport all of these people.  Not everyone drives, and there are alternative means to transportation.

We pay a tremendous amount personally and as a society for this inefficient means of getting people to work.  That’s not even talking about the GHG and other pollutants released during that hour of transportation.

Think about locally.  We are worried about roads like Mace Blvd.  That is congested in part because the I-80 corridor is packed to the brim with traveling vehicles.  We are going to redesign our roads to accommodate that.  Caltrans is going to expand I-80’s capacity.

And yet driving right now during peak hours, neither is a problem.

I have not even gotten into our education system.  We get to work like it’s 1990—or worse actually, since the commute time has exploded in time since 1980.  We educate like it’s 1890.

Our students have a set schedule—they plop themselves down in a physical school, the teacher gets up there and lectures.  They do some work at school, some work at home and that’s it.  There are computers in the classroom and the use of technology, but the reality is that you could transport these kids back to a 1950 classroom and, other than peripheral things, probably not shock them too much.

So the question that I think we all need to ask is how we change the system, to get it restarted safely right now but also to pivot into the future to meet the next crisis.  This is not theoretical.  COVID is going to be a threat for at least another year, maybe longer.  We will likely face another COVID or worse in the future.  And we have climate change that is lurking and we need to deal.

We have the technology—it is going to cost a lot more than $6 million but we can do it.

One thing is that we are already doing it.  The great thing for journalists is that, during this cycle, we can cover the news without leaving our homes or offices.  That means we can cover a press conference happening across the country because it is on Zoom rather than in person.  Why would we want to change it?

Zoom was actually set up to handle things like business meetings, and for many businesses people can now meet, they can discuss and confer without having to drive into a central office location or fly across the country.  Why would we want to change that?

A friend of mine is a realtor.  The economy is bad and getting worse, but the fundamentals here are important—they can put houses to show on video and people can, instead of having to drive and visit each home, visit many more houses virtually and, if they are coming from out of town, they don’t have to fly in to look to find a home.

Yes, at some point they may want to see a house physically before they purchase, but that is whittled down to one trip rather than several.  Realtors can show more people, more houses, in more places.

Schools—you definitely eventually want students to get into the classroom.  But you don’t necessarily have to do it every single day, all day.  You can have virtual classrooms, discussions, presentations, videos, multimedia presentations—the sky is the limit if we re-orient our thinking.

And if we do it right, we can save on travel, save on facilities, save on maintenance and upkeep.

One thing that people at the district realized they had to grapple with is the digital divide and the fact that lower SES students lack access to technology.  Suddenly it forced the district to solve that problem.

Retail can change.  We have resisted killing brick and mortar.  Certainly we don’t need to kill all brick and mortar.  But a lot is redundant.  But we can work to shift the way stores are done, and go to order and delivery via various platforms.

Movie theaters were a dying industry anyway.  Why do we need to leave our homes and drive to a movie theater to pay $20 for popcorn and soda on top of the $15 dollar ticket when we have a 70-inch TV and surround sound at home?

Stream new movies at home for a cost.  Buy subscriptions if you watch lots of movies.  Kill movie theaters – they are dinosaurs.

Yes, some industries will not survive this.  Many new ones will thrive.

But in each case, we tax our system far less—less need for parking, less need for expanded roads and transportation, less need for physical presence.

We need to figure out what industries can pivot to more distance and technology based models and make those transitions.  Outside of a pandemic, we don’t need to kill human interaction, but we can reduce the need to travel to work physically for most people every day.

There will be some industries in which we do need to travel to work.  We need to figure out what those industries are, how we can support them, and how we can make those interactions safer and more efficient.

There are people who worry that people will be less productive working from home.  This is a transition.  It is doing something new.  So that part will take adjustment.  People may need to have bigger homes with offices in which they can sequester themselves.  We may have some people go work at smaller office hubs that are close to their house.

But there is a tradeoff.  If you cut down on commute time, you can work more hours to make up for loss of efficiency.  The costs will be less to commute.  I have had one tank of gas for three weeks, whereas previously I would fill up two or three times a week.  That’s money that is being saved and it adds up.

We need to figure out how best to transition, who should transition, and what industries will need support and technology infrastructure to make this happen.

But this is the answer to restarting our economy, keeping us safe now and slowing the transmit of COVID-19, while building a better and more sustainable future.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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49 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: How We Can Restart the Economy, Remain Safe, and Plan for the Next Crisis”

  1. Keith Olsen

    So if we as a society were to transition to what this article is advocating for there would no longer be a need for business parks like ARC.  Am I correct here?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Good question. This whole thing is driven by technology. That means R&D, ag tech, green tech, med tech are going to be more not less important.

      The good thing here is that this solves concerns about traffic. You can have a percentage of people who live on site and a percentage of people who telecommute. You reduce traffic flow greatly in and out. More over, you solve Mace and I-80 by greatly reducing traffic there.

      For all the people who called this a freeway project – I always saw beyond that to the potential for moving outside of auto-transit. And now this moves that vision forward.

      1. Alan Miller

        And now this moves that vision forward.

        I agree with your view of reducing the need to move people overall.  However, “this” moving the vision forward?  It may reduce traffic a little, but have you been on I-80 during commute hours even now?  It’s still pretty darn crowded.  All this is going to do is set back transit years, because ridership is going to be decimated until there is a vaccine, and with less traffic, more people will stay in their cars.  As well, a capitol-starved and bankrupt country is less likely to continue to invest in transit if the economy is turning to teleworking for the white-collar sector, and rail transit at least, is largely filled by the white collar.

  2. Don Shor

    In the long term, the focus should be to figure out how to change the economy fundamentally.

    I see no evidence that the public is interested in fundamentally changing the economy.

    Many of the changes you describe will happen on their own, as businesses choose to adapt. If it makes sense to have employees working from home, and is efficient and saves money, they might do it. But I suggest that the government role in that transition needs to be limited. Government provides the safety net.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I disagree with your first statement. I agree most of the changes will happen on their own, however, expediting them will cushion the economy. I also agree that the Government needs to provide the safety net, rather than play a huge role in this. The people I have been talking to by and large are not in government.

      1. Don Shor

        I disagree with your first statement.

        What evidence do you have that people are seeking to fundamentally change the economy? The voting behavior certainly suggests otherwise.
        I suggest you consider the ripple effect of reducing commercial activity via stay-at-home patterns. Right now I think downtown businesses would prefer to be arguing about traffic jams and parking problems than dealing with the 80%+ loss of revenues they’re currently experiencing.

        1. Tia Will

          Don

          The downtown businesses have been stressed over their ability to maintain their businesses in a downtown being gutted by changing patterns of economic behavior for many years prior to the pandemic. This fact belies the inadequacy of the downtown businesses to adequately address this issue left to their own devices. The argument I have long heard is they want the city government to be more open for business. I don’t think one can have this both ways. Either the city ( gov. ) is a major player, or it is not.  I would argue the pandemic does offer an incentive to do things more effectively if the businesses can overcome their inherent desire to go back to the ineffective old pattern and try other strategies.

    2. Tia Will

      Don

      I would have agreed with your first sentence prior to this pandemic. I am not so sure that will remain the case as we move through and beyond it. I believe a substantial number of people will realize that part of what brought on such devastation was our own unwillingness to conceive of doing things differently from what we consider “the norm”, which often is far from the safest or best we could do.

       

       

  3. Keith Olsen

    This article misses so much I don’t even know where to start.

    People want to get out of the house.  That’s why people are now starting to protest the stay at home orders.  They enjoy going to a restaurant, a theater, a bar, etc.

    Everything mentioned in this article we already have.  Home movies, teleconferencing, virtual real estate, food delivery, merchandise delivery, etc.

    But people want a life, they don’t want to sit at home all day.  They want their children to go to school, not sit at home babysitting them while their kids watch a computer to take a lesson.

    Yes more people can work from home if possible, but also a lot of them also like going into work.

     

     

     

     

      1. Doby Fleeman

        Speaking of social equity and fairness, how do we assure unrelated apartment roommates of equitable social distancing protections at home if they are all employed in essential businesses requiring them to show up for work?

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          My sister in law lives with us, she works at the new hotel, you have to hope that they can keep their place safe. It is a challenge.

        2. Alan Miller

          how do we assure unrelated apartment roommates of equitable social distancing protections at home if they are all employed in essential businesses requiring them to show up for work?

          You can’t.  I have a college-age housemate.  I am at the mercy of what he does, where he goes, and who he hangs out with.  Thankfully, he’s pretty thoughtful and careful.  But plenty of others never considered a pandemic when picking who they live with.

        3. Doby Fleeman

          Alan

          You live with what I’m talking about.  So do many in the Davis community. 

          Not sure how many expert posters know quite what that feels like in the current environment – as they post from the comforts of their living rooms. 

          Was intended as TIC barb for those who seem to have a well-intentioned answer for everything.

    1. Tia Will

      Keith

      Your article focuses on what people “want”. I would prioritize what people “need” first. People need first to be alive. Without that, there are no other freedoms. People need to be safe. They need to be healthy. Once we have achieved that, we can worry about our luxuries and wants.

      If the coronavirus were a visible invading army, would you be fighting against the shelter in place order? Or would you see it as prudent to stay in your home until they had been driven out of the city? I am sure people would tire of staying inside then too, but would probably not be attending marches and protests against their own government in places where the enemy was known to be.

       

      1. Keith Olsen

        This article is talking about reshaping, pivoting as David puts it, the economy for not just now but on a permanent basis.  So what people “want” and will do definitely plays into it.  I swear, sometimes I think that some people think everyone will be happy sitting in their houses and watching Netflix forever as long as they feel safe.

        1. Alan Miller

          I agree with TW on this one.  The building is on fire and the enemy soldiers are invisible and deadly.  Because the building has been on fire for months, and will be on fire for the next 18 months or so, we act like the building is not on fire.  And because the enemy soldiers are invisible and there aren’t as many of them in Yolo County, and they might not shoot kill our family, we act like there are no deadly enemy soldiers trying to kill us.

          Foolishness.

          [Credit:  Modification of Robb Davis metaphor, which he says he borrowed, too.]

  4. Doby Fleeman

    BTW for those of you not from LA, I can assure you there are always a handful of days – winter and spring – when skies are perfectly clear.  Particularly at 10AM, on a breezy day, and just following a rain.   China’s a different story.

    1. Ron Glick

      When I was growing up in LA I would love to drive up to an abandoned Cold War missile site above Malibu after a rain and you could see the crystal clear LA basin with snow on the San Gabriel Mountains all the way out to Catalina. If the rain came on a three day weekend the view was particularly fabulous.

      I visualize those memories whenever I think of the late great John Prine song “Paradise:”

      Well sometimes we’d travel right down the Green River

      To the abandoned old prison on Avery Hill

      Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols

      But empty pop bottles is all we would kill.

    2. Tia Will

      Doby

      Thirty years ago, those days were rare enough the first day the sky was blue over my Clarmont home, I picked up my two-year-old, ran outside with her, pointed up and said: “Look, look, the sky is blue” and then burst into tears. That was when I knew we had to move.

      1. Doby Fleeman

        Ran track meets at Azusa Pacific in 60s when I was a kid, we used to have backyard incinerators much, much worse air pollution than today , yet with far, far fewer residents.

        Hey, I’m all for more solar – as soon as we:

        1) Disallow any tax credits or accelerated depreciation on any and all module components produced offshore.

        2) Onshore all solar production to US (in order to qualify for tax benefits) and recognize all costs and environmental externalities associated with mining, processing  manufacturing and disposal of same.

        This industry is now fully mature.  Time to stop exporting our externalities and expecting other countries to live with consequences.  Time for Federal government to stop subsidizing foreign countries with our tax policies.

        Same for oil, same for rare earth elements.

  5. Ron Glick

    Some tech innovations that have been delayed are now being implemented out of necessity. David points to the digital divide as one example.

    Another is work from home. I know some people David is describing who can work from home and are more productive doing so. They also have a smaller environmental impact because they aren’t driving to work. A friend went from one day a week of working at home to five without any loss in productivity so what was keeping them from working from home more before Covid-19? I think it was the managers paranoia or need for self justification or maybe it was simply institutional inertia dragging its feet. Our current crisis has provided an opportunity to implement some changes that should have already happened on a broader scale but have been blocked by an unwillingness to change.

    However I take issue with the elimination of the movie theatre. There are some movies that are much better when viewed on a giant screen with great theatre sound. Maybe the market is oversupplied with theaters because working off the huge capital investment still lags the changes in technology but hopefully some will survive as a niche market in the future. We have also recently seen a resurgence of the drive-in theatre where families can self isolate in an automobile for a night out. Luckily one managed to survive the video revolution in our region.

    When I was little my parents would take the family to the Olympic Drive-in to see movies and then to A&W Rootbeer drive-in where we could get Papa, Mama and Baby Burgers and creamy root beer all without letting their three little animainiacs run amuck out side of the car. Those were good times. Happy family times.

    Technology can improve things but not all things. Vinyl records are still popular and state of the art parking meters still suck because parking meters suck no matter what innovations you add. Cell phones are great but so are giant screen movie theaters. As is usually true a diversity of choices is preferred.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Highbeam made the same point on the movie theaters – it was an example of how you can repurpose old economy. Maybe they become like drive ins, there are still a few around, but most don’t use them. It’s not like it’s the worst practice except on your pocket book.

    2. Alan Miller

      There are some movies that are much better when viewed on a giant screen with great theatre sound . . . we have also recently seen a resurgence of the drive-in theatre where families can self isolate in an automobile for a night out.

      Bring back the Sunset Drive-In between Woodland and Davis!  All we have to do is an eminent domain on the guy who built a house there and put the screen back up!  And let’s bring back the Westlane Drive-In, east of Davis.  All we have to do is pave over the soccer field and put the screen back up!  Oh, wait, that was a porno.  Keep the soccer . . .

  6. John Hobbs

    I think most working people have been too busy working to think about the greater economy. This forced furlough is causing some of them to question the need/benefit to working outside the home. At the same time it is obvious that people want to be outside, enjoying the perfect weather, certainly the ski resorts would be full in any other year, but I am impressed with the restraint being shown by most of my neighbors. The best thing I have gotten out of this crisis is a slightly renewed faith in the basic goodness of most folks. I am new to my neighborhood and have met many new neighbors who’s faces I’ve yet to see as they pass my front yard and we say “hello” and “lovely day.” I hope to know them better when this is over.

    Cynically speaking history tells us that peoples’ memory is short, so I don’t know how much we’ll learn and change, but I’ll try to be a little hopeful. Maybe someone looking at a sapphire blue sky in Mumbai for the first time in decades will think of Greta and scrap their Nissan.

    1. Alan Miller

      The best thing I have gotten out of this crisis is a slightly renewed faith in the basic goodness of most folks.

      I have got from this crisis just the opposite, a deep amazement at the cluelessness and selfishness of such a high percentage of folks, not wearing masks nor often six-foot distancing in stores.

      I am new to my neighborhood and have met many new neighbors who’s faces I’ve yet to see as they pass my front yard and we say “hello” and “lovely day.” I hope to know them better when this is over.

      I have taken to visiting friends outside and putting our chairs 12′ apart and never once upwind from the other.   Perhaps a good way to get to know good neighbors in person and not have to wait for a vaccine.

  7. Tia Will

    “The notion of essential vs nonessential workers is flawed, arbitrary and self-defeating.”

    I have known the truth of this statement since my childhood. Mine was a traditional family in which my father went outside the home to work and was seen as the “bread winner”. He controlled the family finances. It didn’t matter that my mother was the “bread baker”, got up earlier than he did every morning to make his breakfast and lunch. Worked all day taking care of us, the house, the yard. Did all the laundry, and cleaning, and had dinner ready by the time Daddy got home. Then while he relaxed after “his day at work”, she took care of our evening needs, got us ready for bed, our clothes and his ready for the next day and then went to bed exhausted ready to do it all again. She could ask him for money, but never had her own to spend despite much longer working hours. Oh, and did I mention she did this 7 days weekly as opposed to his 5 day week?

    It didn’t seem right to me then, and it doesn’t seem right to me now. All who contribute should receive benefits for their labor. The current pandemic can serve as a means to revalue contribution to society no matter where it occurs. Work done in the home can be at least as valuable as work done in an office, or shop, or factory, or clinic, or warehouse. So why do we choose not to value it?

     

     

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Prudent measures, like face coverings, don’t bother me (partly because spouse is a ‘sew-er’, with lots of extra fabric…and a good design template)… but doesn’t deal with ‘touch of objects’ transmissions… hope we don’t go to the protocols in the movie “Andromeda Strain”, to buy a gallon of milk, or get a loaf of bread.

      But then perhaps we should test ‘face coverings’ used to ensure they are not bandanas used a few hours previous, for wiping the nose of someone with a cold or the flu… them are viruses, too!

      There are some who’d like to require washing of hands and double gloving before and after doing anything in public… a tiny, but slightly vocal minority…

      There is risk in any human activity… we should work to minimize it, for sure…

      Yet trend-lines in NYC/NY are encouraging… this is not the public health equivalent of Argemmedon… anywhere…

       

  8. Keith Olsen

    We have the technology—it is going to cost a lot more than $6 million but we can do it.

    Where does the $6 million figure come from?  It’s probably closer to $6 trillion.

      1. Alan Miller

        I appreciate an obtuse reference . . . missed that one . . . good one!

        For a 2020 update, someone needs to adjust the $6 million man for inflation, and make him gender neutral.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Oh, a “rim shot” comment… ‘badda bing, badda boom”… think someone else uses that ‘metaphor’… cute… must have been a good investment… Lee Majors is still around…

  9. Bill Marshall

    David and/or moderator… would be helpful if, when a post is redacted/deleted, either by self, or ‘moderation’, if the replies to it were dealt with likewise…

    I responded to a post by AM… since deleted… it now appears my response(s) to AM were directed towards TW… el wrongo… my responses, apparently to TW, are now fully “out of context”… and not intended as such… please delete my 1:32/1:36 posts… thanks… (you can also delete this one…)

    [Moderator: I haven’t deleted anything.]

  10. Alan Miller

    I responded to a post by AM… since deleted…

    Someone deleted one of my posts?  Which one?  Why?  I don’t recall doing anything untoward today.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Am thinking, now that I replied on wrong thread…

        Alan Miller April 19, 2020 at 12:51 pm 

        Council & Supervisors,
        Here is the statement from the Berkeley Health Officer:
        https://www.berkeleyside.com/2020/04/17/message-from-berkeley-health-officer-face-coverings-are-now-required
        After reading this, how can you not take immediate action for Yolo County?  Do you believe the laws of physics and the infectiousness of a virus are different for Yolo County?…

        That was what I intended to respond to… but ended up looking like a response to Tia… on this thread…

        OK, I “dumb-thumbed”… my bad… It was part of 3 posts you had on the other thread… mea culpa… apologies to all…

  11. Alan Miller

    DG, I’d like to give my opinion on your praise of the list of people on the Covid Business Task Force in your comments to KO yesterday.

    That list is downright terrifying.  It’s a who’s who of the money people who control California.  Big mega-business, organized labor union – including public unions, business promotion non-profits, etc.  All of them will survive, though profits for some will be decimated.  I don’t care if they are from both parties, both parties and these mega-organizations are the problem, the problem can’t create a better solution, except for themselves.

    What is missing?  Small businesses, those are going to be what are killed en masse.  And no, putting the CA restaurant association on the list doesn’t make up for all the rest of the names on that list.  What they need instead are 30 small restaurant/cafe/coffee-shop owners on that list.

    Let’s say this was a coffee-only task force.  This would be like having the Task Force led by Starbucks, with a goal of saving small coffee shops.  Never mind that for the past 30 years, Starbuck’s business model is to open up next to a local coffee shop and steal half their business, and oh, well, they went out of business.  Starbucks will survive this just fine.  Local coffee shops will not.

    A task force of mega-organizations, in a place to control and manipulate the flow of government mega-dollars for their benefit.  Nothing can go wrong there, I’m sure our local coffee shop will do just fine.

     

    1. Doby Fleeman

      Alan,

      Couldn’t agree more.  Newsom is surprisingly tone deaf to concerns of small business.

      Think he’d be more politically/optically astute than this list of technocrats.  I responded similarly to Tia’s query on same topic last week.

      Nobody on that list who is going to miss a paycheck or personally hand out a pink slip.  Shows the degree of disconnect in understanding the worrisome plight of our working poor, small business owners and the many immigrant families who are the backbone of this important group.

      1. Mark West

        “Nobody on that list who is going to miss a paycheck or personally hand out a pink slip.”

        This is the basic problem with most of the bailout programs at both the State and Federal levels (proposed and enacted). They are designed by and for those who have plenty of wealth and are in no danger of going hungry or ending up on the street.

      2. Alan Miller

        Nobody on that list who is going to miss a paycheck or personally hand out a pink slip.  Shows the degree of disconnect in understanding the worrisome plight of our working poor, small business owners and the many immigrant families who are the backbone of this important group.

        EGG-zactly

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      A good point on the lack of small business – what I saw – old industry, new tech, Democrat, Republican, labor, environment, non-profits, faith community, disability community, academics, government, private sector.

      1. Alan Miller

        DG, I agree with all the ‘perspectives’ you list.  It sounds great, and it to the average person that looks impressive and covers all the bases.  But I ran a small nonprofit in Sac for almost a decade and did some lobbying at the Capitol, and I got to see it all close up, and I know who these groups are, how they work, and who they represent.  I don’t mean each and everyone, but I see what’s going on here.  I wouldn’t know any better without those ten years of semi-inside experience.  This is just business as usual at the Capitol, and because of devastating economic crisis this is, I am terrified for the small business and those that work for them, and my nightmare is waking up in three years deeper in a corporatocracy.

  12. Alan Miller

    Tom Steyer . . . who has an eye toward one of the next crises that we have to plan for—climate change

    I think we should have in there someone who is worried about putting out the fire in the building that’s burning down right now, not thinking about the natural failure of the structural steel that might collapse it in 2070.

    Fall forward, as they say . . .

    I think that’s spring forward, fall back . . . but maybe I have it backwards.

    we did not have a lot of time do things, but we have time now.  We basically stopped the economy and told people to go home, and either work from home or watch Netflix.

    I’m busier now than I was before I was sent home; kudos to all you Netflix watchers on the dole.

    The stimulus plan is hard to access if you are a small business.

    True dat!

     imagine a program that in the short-term is focused on keeping people employed and getting a paycheck so they can continue to perpetuate the economy

    “Imagine all the people, sharing all the world”

    In the long term, the focus should be to figure out how to change the economy fundamentally.

    Didn’t Marx say something close to that?

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