“We should feel lucky that we have jobs.” This is something that we might be hearing a lot at this point. We might even say it to ourselves. With the historically massive jumps in unemployment since the pandemic hit in March, it is understandable why this idea gets repeated often.
But this is a lie. Whether we work in health care, public transportation, delivery, production, construction or anything else, we work extremely hard for whatever we get. This is true despite many of us getting celebrated as “Essential Workers.” In fact, many of us are working harder with less staffing and fewer supports than before, often without the safety protections that we and our loved ones deserve. Our communities might regard us as “essential workers,” but our bosses seem to treat us as disposable workers. It isn’t a matter of luck that any of us still have jobs. It is our blood, sweat, and tears. But now on top of that, for some of us, having those jobs is also a matter of putting our lives and those of our loved ones at risk as we are exposed to unsafe working conditions.
At the same time, it isn’t a matter of luck how the super-rich have capitalized off of this crisis. It is a matter of their relentless greed. Since the pandemic began in mid-March, the 643 top billionaires in the US saw their incomes grow by $685 billion. That’s more than $1 billion apiece! For those of us who have lost our jobs during this recent economic downturn, it is not a matter of us being “unlucky.” It is a consequence of a system that treats our lives as disposable to sacrifice our jobs to the invisible gods known as “the economy,” while pressuring those who still have jobs to work harder.
We cannot afford to see our futures being governed by the “luck” of where we find ourselves in the economy at this point. It may seem difficult to imagine, but we have to find a way to stand together to get what we need and deserve, our lives and livelihoods, whether we have a job or are unemployed. When we stand firm alongside each other, our odds to transform our situation greatly improve!
The reality is it is the one percent that should feel lucky. They are lucky that we have put up with this insanity for as long as we have!