COVID-19 crisis – time for the Green Party to step into the political vacuum
The Covid-19 health catastrophe and economic depression has made it clear to all who are willing believe their own experiences that the two governing parties are presiding over a failed state
With 4% of the world’s population, the US has 30% of the world’s Covid-19 infections and deaths.
With US unemployment now over 25%, higher than the depth of the Great Depression, the two governing parties are dogmatically relying on private enterprise alone to lead an economic recovery.
Trump is incompetent. Biden is invisible.
Speaker Pelosi's HEROES Act that passed last Friday had some good measures in it, but it left out the kinds of economic protections that have limited unemployment in the European Union to a fraction of the US rate.
Progressives in Congress had good bills to sustain people and the economy for the duration of the crisis that Pelosi left out, including the Paycheck Security Act introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Pramilla Jayapal (D-WA), which would have paid businesses to keep workers on their payrolls; the Emergency Money for the People Act introduced by Sanders and Ro Khanna (D-CA), which would have provided $2000 per month per adult and $500 per child; and the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act introduced by Inhan Omar (D-MN) to have the federal government cover rent and mortgage payments.
But the HEROES Act just demonstrates once again that the Democratic Party establishment lets the progressives introduce bills and make speeches, but the corporatists make the decisions.
So both parties have no answers for this deepening economic depression. Over half of small businesses, which account for nearly half of US jobs, had less than a month's worth of cash reserves to cover overhead expenses going into the lockdown. They are dead without cash and are now going out of business and taking millions of jobs with them. Consumers won't spend on anything but the essentials to the extent they still have money. Investors won't make new job-creating investments in this risky environment. This is the recipe for a longterm economic depression.
The Green Party's full-strength Green New Deal is needed now as much for economic recovery as for stopping the climate meltdown.
Our campaign has detailed a budget for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal for a 10-year, $27.5 trillion investment in public enterprises and planning to create 30.5 million new jobs in a Green Economy Reconstruction Program to rebuild all of our productive systems for 100% clean energy and zero-to-negative carbon emissions by 2030. It would end poverty and economic despair and create an additional 7.6 million jobs by spending $1.4 trillion per year on an Economic Bill of Rights that includes a job guarantee, a guaranteed income above poverty, affordable housing, Medicare for All, lifelong public education, and a secure retirement by doubling Social Security benefits.
We pay for the Ecosocialist Green New Deal in the next 10 years through a combination of more progressive taxation of income, corporate profits, wealth, and estates; redirecting 75% of the military budget into the Green New Deal; and either by borrowing through Green Quantitative Easing to bail out the people and the planet this time instead of the big banks, or by creating the funds through the Green Party's monetary reform proposal for government-issued, debt-free Greenbacks. In the long run, the program will pay for itself through the sale of public goods and services, including public power and internet fees, public transportation fares, public housing rents, and leases of clean-production Green New Deal factories to worker cooperatives.
Our campaign is helping the Green Party to get on the ballot in all 50 states and DC. We paid petitioners before the coronavirus lockdown. Now we have assembled a team of lawyers to help state Green Parties appeal to their state governments for ballot access in the Covid-19 environment when petitioning undermines social distancing to protect public health. If state governments won't put us on the ballot after we appeal, we take them to court. Vermont put us on the ballot after we appealed. Illinois refused, we sued them in court, and won a decision putting the Green Party on the ballot.
Our campaign is also the only campaign in any party that will qualify for federal presidential primary matching funds in 2020, which we expect to do in the next few weeks. When we qualify, contributions of up to a cumulative $250 per individual will be matched by the Federal Election Commission and nearly double our funding, which we will pour back into ballot access.
Now is the time for the Green Party to step into the political vacuum left by the two governing parties who are blundering so blindly at this time of crisis.
We cannot afford Trump's ineptitude and corruption.
We cannot afford Biden's fossil-fueled neoliberal economics and neoconservative imperialism.
Now is the time for the Green Party to mount a strong nationwide campaign to point the way toward the real solutions we need, from the Green New Deal to Medicare for All.
We are running out of time on the life-or-death issues of climate, inequality, nuclear arms, and now the Covid-19 pandemic.
Real solutions can't wait. Let's fight for our future.
Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker
May 21, 2020