Thom Hartmann; How billionaires’ short-term greed could upend America and destroy their own wealth

This is an amazing article written during this crisis about the disgusting greed and economic inequality in our country;

The right-wing billionaire definition of “freedom” includes the right to poverty, the right to die without health care, the right to be uneducated and illiterate, and the right to be hungry and homeless. Red states seem to like this, since they repeatedly vote for it; we should let them have it.

In the article Hartman talks about economic recovery from this pandemic will come much faster in blue states than in red (federal welfare) states. This is why our governor, mayor and city council are hesitant to keep people from working, because we are a state where approximately 70% of the work force lives paycheck to paycheck.

Just read this FB rant from Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neitzert;

The place where I go to get my hair cut has laid off all of its employees, and they had multiple locations in Sioux Falls.  They may not reopen.  We are talking about dozens of employees, no longer with a job.  They made something like $12-$15 an hour.  They are working class citizens.  Right now moonlighting or starting their own gig is near impossible because the message is to keep social distance, so the client base has dried up.  Behind these statistics are individuals, and families, and children.  All who now have an uncertain future, many of which probably never dreamed to be in this position.  Maybe they qualify for unemployment, maybe they don’t.  Regardless, they are now living with the uncertainty and stress, not knowing when this will end and what their future will be.  I know some of them are single, or divorced, with a child or children.  There is a massive human toll to this, and consequences to their health, both mental and physical, that cannot be understated.  Multiply that thousands of times just in the city of Sioux Falls.  Their careers may have been put on pause (by force), but their needs, for housing, for food, to pay their utilities, to pay car loans, student loans, the needs just to survive, have not.  Imagine the toll on someone who has lost their job, and has no idea when they will get one again, with commitments and needs.  It has to be frightening to say the least.  Maybe some are lucky enough that they have another income in the family and they are still secure.  Maybe some are lucky enough that their jobs can be done at home and they are still secure.  But for thousands in Sioux Falls, that just isn’t the case.  And they are by and large some of our most vulnerable, some who are on edge, without a large emergency fund, who may be living paycheck to paycheck.  They are who are getting demolished.  It is these citizens I also think about, who call me stressed out, sometimes in tears, pleading for help and some assurance of when this will end.  It is on their behalf that I will not simply dismiss the consequences of our virtual shutdown as “just the economy”.  Lives are being destroyed and lost, no matter what we do.  There will be loss of life indirectly from draconian measures, if they continue for an extended period.  Many may be necessary to combat the virus, but we cannot dismiss the collateral damage.  Our policy decisions must balance the health, safety, and well being of all citizens, from the threat of this virus, the loss of livelihood, and the loss of liberty if a government goes too far.  All are important.  Remember again, we cannot stop this virus.  We cannot stop people from getting infected.  Tragically we cannot prevent people from dying.  From the beginning, at all levels of government that sad reality has been something we have had to accept.  The goal and the one thing we can control to some extent is preventing our hospitals from being overloaded when we hit the peak surge of infections.  The goal from the beginning from the federal level all the way down to the city level is to keep that surge from overloading our bed, staff, and ventilator capacity.  We cannot prevent all fatalities, but we can prevent unnecessary ones from lack of resources if we mitigate the spread enough to keep the surge manageable.  That’s been the goal.  We are accomplishing that because citizens have stepped up and made sacrifices to help each other.  In most cases we’ve simply had to ask, without a law or penalty attached.  Without a vaccine, simply locking everyone in their homes for weeks or months on end will not stop the spread, or prevent fatalities, it will only delay the inevitable spread, at the immeasurable cost of destroying our economy and the lives of the people who make it up.  That’s why our response has to be dynamic, proportional, and measured.  Finally, remember there are countless variables in modeling and projecting this.  Our epidemiologists at Sanford and Avera concede this, there are a number of variables you have to plug in, and its based on educated guesses and averages.  None of us knows what the right decision is with certainty.  We are all doing our absolute best, with the weight of the fact that lives could be in our hands with every decision we make.  Perhaps some years down the road looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, we might know if at each point we got it right or wrong.  Unfortunately that knowledge and certainty in real time is beyond our pay grade as humans with imperfect knowledge and an inability to see into the future.  We’re doing our best, and we feel the weight of our decisions daily.  I certainly do.

If we actually paid people living wages in our city, a few weeks off, even a month, would be just a hiccup in the road. So I ask Greg, and all of our local leadership(?) what have you done during your elected term to bring better wages and affordable housing to our city. I’ll give you the short answer; NOT A DAMN THING! He should of titled his post ‘Crocodile Tears’.


#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.18.20 at 11:50 pm

There’s been a subtle civil war going on in this country since Reagan. But instead of it being gray versus blue, it’s been red versus blue, and like the first Civil War, the gray, I mean the red, will lose, and its plantations will be gone, but where will the jobs be?

#2 D@ily Spin on 04.19.20 at 10:41 am

Neitzert’s rant is just touching the surface. For as much as the city has grown in the last 5 years there will be a migration out to find work. It seems nothing’s moving except for local government yet without budget. A councilor for the northwest side represents tens of thousands but will soon speak for a few. This hub city must learn to return to behavior like Mitchell. One city manager instead of a mayor and councilors. It’s time to shed some layers starting with councilors and directors.

#3 D@ily Spin on 04.19.20 at 10:45 am

Instead of Strong Mayor Charter, how about ‘Just Mayor’ who must act on big expenditures with election process.

#4 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 04.19.20 at 12:05 pm

We need to establish a “watch” for Greg. Who wants to take the first shift? This virus has exposed many and especially our political leadership and its direction, which apparently is a mile long and an inch deep.

#5 RJ on 04.19.20 at 10:00 pm

Neitzert’s comments were horribly ignorant.

#6 Agitator on 04.20.20 at 8:28 am

Immature and ignorant,

#7 LJL on 04.20.20 at 1:53 pm

Hmmm, when did Jeff Bezo’s become a “right winger”?

Utter nonsense. All of it.