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  • John Spritzler

THE GOVERNMENT PLAN TO SEND EVERYBODY A CHECK

EGALITARIAN THOUGHTS ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT PLAN TO SEND MONEY TO PEOPLE AS PART OF THE CORONAVIRUS MITIGATION It will be good if, as the news says, the government will send money to people to compensate for the coronavirus mitigation orders that result in many people losing their income. The reason it will be good is quite obvious. But the significance of it may not be so obvious. The Egalitarian Significance Sending money to people ("except millionaires" Trump apparently said) this way makes our society be--however temporarily--a little bit (just a very little bit!) more like an egalitarian society would be, based on the egalitarian economic principle of "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need." Sending money to people who can no longer work is a way of implementing the "according to reasonable ability" part of the egalitarian principle: if one cannot work then one's "reasonable ability" is zero, and one still deserves to have "according to need or reasonable desire." But sending money to people who can contribute but who refuse to do so (i.e., freeloaders), which will occur in some small number of cases with the government's plan, conflicts with the principle of "from each according to reasonable ability." The reason that good people who DO contribute reasonably according to ability object to allowing freeloaders to enjoy the fruits of their labor (as taxing them to make Universal Basic Income payments to EVERYBODY including freeloaders would do) is precisely because it violates the egalitarian principle. It is only because of the extreme emergency of the epidemic and the fact that so many people are involuntarily out of work due to it and the fact that the only plan the government has to help those people is to "send a check to everybody except millionaires" that many people who rightly object to freeloading are willing to go along with the plan now nonetheless. What About the Long Term? The government may very well send a check (of perhaps $1000 or so) to everybody, but that check will only last people a month (or less). What if--as is likely--the stay-at-home mitigation goes much longer than a month? Will the government keep sending checks? To the extent that the government decides to act in a way that is both morally just and that also enables our society to take care of people by providing essentials of life, then it would do what I describe as an egalitarian approach to epidemic mitigation in my previous blog post here. The government (i.e., ruling class=plutocracy=billionaires) knows that if it is perceived as not responding to the epidemic in a morally just and wise practical manner, then it will lose whatever is left of its legitimacy, and hasten the day of revolution. So, the government is under heightened pressure due to the viral epidemic to make our society be more the way most people want it to be--egalitarian. And yet, the ruling class obviously fears letting our society be any more egalitarian than necessary because its vast wealth and power and privilege are all based on our society NOT being egalitarian but rather based on class inequality (some rich and some poor.) It's time to step up our efforts at building the egalitarian revolutionary [1] movement! It's what most people (conservatives as well as liberals and all others) WANT. None of the politicians come even close to being egalitarians. --------------------- 1. https://www.pdrboston.org/what-is-an-egalitarian-revolution

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