From Common Dreams
Our rich today and the corporations they run don't seem, sadly, to be exactly rushing to give up any of their contemporary comforts.
The United States, President Donald Trump is now proclaiming, stands at "war." We are facing, in the novel coronavirus, "an invisible enemy" that could claim the lives of more Americans than every shooting war America has ever fought.
But that sort of terrible toll, public health people have been working so hard to remind us, doesn't have to be inevitable, not if we all sacrifice for the common good.
In 1942, in the months right after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt faced the same basic challenge as we do today. To overcome the fascist forces aligned globally against us, FDR understood, the American people were going to have to sacrifice as never before.
That sacrifice, FDR also understood, would have to be shared. The war's burden, he believed, had to be "equitably distributed" to ensure that "a few do not gain from the sacrifices of the many."
"The great masses of our people," FDR adviser Randolph Paul would add, will sacrifice gladly "if they know that no group is being favored, that rich and poor alike are giving up the comforts of peacetime in order that we may more effectively prosecute the war."
Our rich today and the corporations they run don't seem, sadly, to be exactly rushing to give up any of their contemporary comforts. They're rushing instead to line up for bailouts. Airline executives are asking for over $50 billion in grants, deferred taxes, and loan guarantees. The cruise, hospitality, and gaming industries are clamoring for corona cash, too.
President Trump has been more than sympathetic.
"We're going to back the airlines 100 percent," he's opined in one typical comment. "It's not their fault."
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