"Millions of Americans sought unemployment benefits last week in a continuation of a historic labor-market decline triggered by the coronavirus pandemic," the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. "About 4.4 million Americans applied for jobless benefits in the week ended April 18, the Labor Department said Thursday." Meanwhile, Reuters reported Thursday, "A stunning 26.5 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits over the last five weeks, confirming that all the jobs gained during the longest employment boom in US history have been wiped out as the novel coronavirus savages the economy." Reuters also reported Thursday, "US workers who refuse to return to their jobs because they are worried about catching the coronavirus should not count on getting unemployment benefits, state officials and labor law experts say. Workers in a handful of US states will face this situation this week, as state officials hope to revive economies paralyzed by shutdowns related to the epidemic." This is quite a conundrum.
"Companies and consumers flooded US banks with a record $1 trillion of deposits in the first quarter, when markets went haywire and America went dark to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. More than half of it went to the four largest banks in America — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc.," the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Is this evidence that very simply put, cash is king?
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear in an interview Wednesday that the top priority for the Republican-controlled Senate upon its expected return early next month will not be approving desperately needed coronavirus aid for the unemployed, the uninsured and frontline workers," Common Dreams reported Thursday. "Rather, McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the Senate will resume its rapid-fire confirmations of President Donald Trump's lifetime right-wing judicial nominees 'as soon as we get back in session.'" How big of a concern should this be for Americans?
In activist Medea Benjamin's Wednesday article in Jacobin, titled "We Should Applaud the Cuban Health System — And Learn From It," she writes, "It is truly inspiring that this small, poor island has basic health indicators equal, or better, to those of the world’s richest countries. This is even more remarkable after it has faced a brutal US blockade and sanctions for sixty years. Cuba’s infant mortality rate of 4 per 1,000 live births is lower than in the United States — and that’s according to the CIA!"
Dr. Linwood Tauheed — Associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."
David Schultz — Professor of political science at Hamline University.
Medea Benjamin — Co-founder of human rights group Global Exchange and peace group Code Pink.
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