By Anne Price, President
As the nation prepares for the transfer of power to a new Presidential administration, we are confronted with uncomfortable truths about our democracy and the social and economic structures of our society. As writer Steve Almond noted, “This election took American democracy down to its studs. What became visible are the deep cracks in our national foundation.”
One truth is that as the pandemic worsens and the economic crisis deepens, pressure to cut public investments in the name of so-called “fiscal responsibility” will intensify. This political approach will result in human suffering, the brunt of which will be felt by those already in precarious conditions. It will fall on those struggling the most, plunging millions of Americans into greater financial precarity and poverty.
The warning signs are already here. New data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities captures the pain of the pandemic in real time. Nearly 26 million adults — 12 percent of all adults in the country — reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days. Over 1 in 4 children living in rental housing live in a household that hasn’t had enough to eat. Nearly 1 in 5 adult renters were not caught up on rent. Black and Latinx families are disproportionately experiencing hunger and eviction.
What we choose to do in response to these crises will either further entrench racial inequities or become a turning point where we begin to reimagine a new set of rules, policies, narratives, and theories of the economy. This is no time to make draconian cuts. Quite the contrary, it is critical that we make massive investments in people and communities and transform institutions that lead to a better quality of life. We must ensure that communities are in charge of their investments and can hold governments accountable.
Insight’s focus on racial and economic justice has been relevant for more than half a century; that focus is now not only relevant but absolutely imperative to address racial and gender inequities in our economy as we approach the next difficult phase of the pandemic and economic crisis. We cannot seek to redefine our collective understanding of “normal” by looking back. We must look firmly ahead — to opportunities to build an economy that works for people of different races and from different places; white, Black, or Brown; Native or newcomer.
Please donate to sustain our work. Your gift will ensure that in 2021 we can continue to push the conversation to ensure race and gender are at the center of our rebuilding efforts to redefine what a truly equitable society can look like, and to reimagine the policies and structures that have undermined our communities for far too long. People built these systems, it is time “we the people” reject, reinvest, and reinvigorate for a better future.