Corona Virus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, is spreading, and threatening the lives of the physically vulnerable, including the elderly and people with a variety of preexisting conditions. In response, businesses, cities, and states are shutting down. The entire San Francisco Bay Area, the economic engine for much of California and the rest of the country, has been ordered to “shelter in place,” and other areas are considering similar measures. That means countless restaurants, retail outlets, and small businesses are closed. This approach should stop the spread of the disease, but what other impacts will it have? Specifically, what will it do to the economically vulnerable? Today on Sea Change Radio we are talking about poverty with Rebecca Vallas, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. We discuss the potential repercussions of pandemic policy on wage workers, distinguish between a booming stock market and authentic economic health, and talk about the plight of people truly living on the margins like prisoners and the homeless. Finally, we examine the faint possibility of a silver lining, in the way some politicians are proposing economic relief in response to this global crisis.
“Just remember that what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not happening,” said the President of the United States this week to a group of veterans. It was a statement eerily reminiscent of the quote from George Orwell’s 1984, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.” It was also yet another example of gaslighting, a term derived from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play “Gas Light” that’s used to describe efforts to manipulate someone’s perception of reality. It’s, of course, a term with which more and more of us are becoming familiar as of late since we seem to be getting a consistently unhealthy dose of gaslighting under the current Administration. Recently, the White House Council of Economic Advisers published a report that essentially declared poverty in this country a thing of the past. This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss the ins and outs of this latest gaslighting special with Rebecca Vallas, the vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. Vallas explains what’s at the root of the report, who it really targets and why it should be concerning to all of us.
Futurists, environmentalists and planners alike generally believe that humans living in more densely populated areas has benefits for the earth – city-living is just a much more efficient use of the planet’s resources. But cities also expose a society’s inequality. Some of the world’s wealthiest cities are plagued by abundant homelessness and have deep pockets of persistent poverty. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Rafael Mandelman, a local San Francisco politician who has seen homelessness up close. Mandelman tells his story of growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness and homelessness and how, despite the odds, he made his way through an Ivy League education and helped lift his mother out of her dire situation. Now an advocate for homeless rights, Mandelman walks us through the simultaneous explosion of homelessness and high-paying tech jobs in his hometown, sets forth some of his ideas for solving the crisis, and gives examples of cities that have been able to tackle this problem in an ethical, compassionate, and effective manner.