Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1096/31102
The Socialist 22 July 2020 |
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Them & Us
- 77% of the richest families have actually increased their wealth during the crisis, reports UBS. 93 of 121 super-rich family offices, with an average net worth of $1.6 billion, had met or exceeded their investment return targets.
- 83 multimillionaires have issued an open letter calling for permanent tax increases... on them. 'Millionaires for Humanity' states that "the problems caused by, and revealed by, Covid-19 can't be solved with charity, no matter how generous. Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly... Tax us. Tax us. Tax us... It is the only choice."
- Coordinated government response is indeed more effective than piecemeal charity response. But taxation is not "the only choice." Their obscene wealth, and the system which produced it, could be taken out of their hands entirely.
- Hackers associated with the Russian state are trying to steal British universities' Covid-19 vaccine research secrets, says the National Cyber Security Centre. Data privacy is an important issue - but why is information on efforts to cure a killer pandemic secret in the first place?
... and us
- Household income has suffered the biggest hit since the 1970s oil crisis, finds the Resolution Foundation's Living Standards Audit. The 4.5% drop from May 2019 to May 2020 compares to 2.7% during 2009-10 following the Great Recession, and 5.1% during 1974-75 at the height of 'stagflation'. Hours worked fell 17% in the year to May 2020.
- Household income had not grown for three years when the pandemic hit Britain, the Living Standards Audit also reports. Incomes for the poorest tenth were equivalent to the early 2000s. Meanwhile, stopping meagre Universal Credit increases from April will cost more than six million households upwards of £1,000.
- Unemployment could rocket from 3.9% to 14.8% during a second wave in Britain, says the OECD. Even without one, unemployment could hit 11.7%, almost level with its 1984 peak of 11.9%. The estimates for year's end compare with Germany's 5.6% with a second wave or 5.0% without, and Spain's 20.1% with or 19.2% without.
- The privately run NHS test-and-trace call centre in Motherwell, Scotland has suffered a coronavirus outbreak. You couldn't make it up. Fight for workers' control of workplace health and safety!
- Heat and humidity so extreme that humans cannot live and work could affect 1.2 billion people by 2100, says a study in Environmental Research Letters. The projections assume current greenhouse emissions. And this year's record-breaking Siberian heatwave was made 600 times more likely by global warming, says a World Weather Attribution study.