In New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo passed an austerity budget that will cut $400 million from the state’s hospitals. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney revised the city’s five-year budget to include government layoffs, salary cuts, and cuts to public services. Neither Cuomo’s nor Kenney’s budget made the proactive decision to tax the wealthy.
The same is true in Washington state, where Governor Jay Inslee has been cutting hundreds of millions from state programs, anticipating major declines in tax revenue. This in a state that’s home to two of the wealthiest people in the world, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
Of course, the rich are not the driving economic force in the country. It has become crystal clear during this pandemic that poor people, including frontline workers, actually fuel this economy. “We may not run this country,” said Rev. Claudia de la Cruz back in 2018, “but we make it run.”
But now we see the early rumblings of people coming together to assert this reality and challenge our faith in the rich.
Health care workers, students, child care givers, food service workers, big box store employees, delivery drivers, mail carriers, and others are taking action to call out gross inequities and organize our society differently. Demands to cancel rent and to secure housing for all, universal health care, living wages, guaranteed incomes, and the right to unions are being heard all across the country.
Meeting these demands would not only secure the lives and livelihoods of millions of people — it would begin to release our economy from the suffocating grasp of the wealthy and powerful. Instead of waiting for wealth to trickle down, we would revive our economy by raising up the poor.
When you lift from the bottom, everybody rises.
Distributed by OtherWords.org.