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Clutch your pearls and contain your shock: gender and racial inequality are still problems in America.

Coronavirus Reveals America’s Pre-existing Conditions, Part 2: Racial and Gender Inequality

This is Part 2. Click here to read Part 1.

Hello friends, and welcome back to Everything Hurts and I’m Dying with your hosts, the Bitches!

Last week I hit you with a massively depressing article on how the coronavirus has simply exacerbated problems the United States already had before the pandemic ever reached our shores. If you had the mental fortitude to wade through all that, then you have my admiration and respect. Can I also get you a cup of tea and a massage? You earned it.

If not, here’s what you missed:

  • Coronavirus took an already unfair and unaffordable health insurance industry and exacerbated the problem, throwing still more Americans into medical debt and outright killing others who couldn’t afford treatment.
  • All the problems labor rights activists have been fighting to fix for decades were illuminated in stark relief by the mass unemployment that followed coronavirus lock-down relief efforts.
  • The eviction epidemic in the United States, which was already at crisis levels, became an utter catastrophe when low-income workers who were recently laid off couldn’t pay their rent anymore. Eviction and rent moratoriums were but a band-aid on the wound.

All of these issues disproportionately affect low-income and impoverished Americans. So this week, in Part 2, I’m going to address the demographics who are disproportionately represented among the poor and low-income. Hope you didn’t expect sudden egalitarianism in the midst of a pandemic and recession!

Let’s get to it.

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The American healthcare system was already like a Dickensian Sorting Hat separating the rich from the dead. A universal killer like COVID-19 perfectly illuminates exactly how fucked up that is.

Coronavirus Reveals America’s Pre-existing Conditions, Part 1: Healthcare, Housing, and Labor Rights

This article is continued in Part 2.

My fellow Americans… we’re currently in month 784 of 2020, aka The Plague Times, so let’s take stock:

It’s… a lot, I know. The facts are grim, and they’re only getting grimmer.

But if you’re feeling like all of this death, economic destruction, and tragedy came out of nowhere, I have even worse news for you: it didn’t. For the sad effects of the pandemic are neither sudden, isolated, nor unpredictable.

Rather, they are the results of a system that has been balancing on a precipice for decades. A global pandemic was simply the last push needed to send this car over the cliff and hurtling spectacularly to the rocks below.

The coronavirus has singlehandedly revealed the pre-existing conditions our country has been ignoring, denying, and dismissing since dinosaurs Ronald Reagan roamed the Earth White House.

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Productivity porn is here to tell you how to fill your lonely, indoor, socially distanced hours.

I Am So Over Productivity Porn

As I write this, it’s six o’clock on a Saturday morning. I’ve been up since five. This isn’t normal for me. Normally, I sleep in till the decadent hours of seven or eight on weekends. (Ya jelly?)

Not today. Today I found my eyes springing open from dreams about wasting time and all the things I should be doing to… waking thoughts about wasting time and all the things I should be doing. So I got up. Because working on my goals is far more productive and important than sleeping, right?

Recently—actually, let’s be real—years ago I internalized the message, seared into me from intellectually stimulating op-eds, social media, self-improvement gurus, and our culture at large, that I could be “more productive.” As a result, I hate wasting time. I despise goal-lessness. Every year I brazenly make a New Year’s Resolution to better myself and the world around me and by god I get that shit done. I rarely spend a weekend sans plans and a rigid to-do list.

Dale Carnegie wishes he were me!

I’m bitch enough to admit this isn’t healthy. I can’t take a break from working without seeing the window trim I need to refinish or the herbs I need to dry or the hangboard where I should be doing pull-ups. And I can’t pursue those personal goals without thinking of the work I need to do, the money I need to make. I can’t even be lazy without being bombarded by evidence of how productive and accomplished my friends and idols are through their carefully curated social media.

I could be so much more productive! I should be so much more productive. Sleep? Relaxation? These look more and more like indulgent wastes of time.

Recently it’s only gotten worse. And I know, with damning clarity, that I am not alone.

Guys… I am so over productivity porn.

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As Johnnie Cochran would say: if the interest rate's nil, don't pay that bill!

Ask the Bitches: “The Government Put My Student Loans in Forbearance. Can I Really Stop Paying—or Is This a Trap?”

So… I made a mistake.

Our Patreon donors have been so wise with choosing quality topics in the past. So this month, I invited our supporters to pitch article topics directly to us.

Sounds great, right? WRONG. This was a huge mistake because all of our supporters’ ideas are fucking great! Now I have no choice: I simply must write them all. When am I supposed to do my life’s most important work: incorrectly cutting the wood for my woodworking project, then driving to Lowe’s to buy more wood???

This is technically incorrect. Piggy is the Chip.

One question stood out as being particularly time-sensitive, so today I’m answering this question from Patreon Rachel, who we all know to be so glitteringly beautiful that she’s regularly mistaken for an ice sculpture of herself:

I’d love to know your thoughts on U.S. federal student loans currently being deferred with no interest. Is it smart to continue to make my regular payments? Or should I stop making payments and use that money to invest in other things?

– Patreon Donor Rachel

An excellent question! Today we’ll address the basics of student loan forbearance, including how it pertains to the CARES Act. (That’s the $2 trillion stimulus package we explained here.)

Luckily there’s a fairly definitive answer, which I am just barely capable of explaining in human speech. Let’s get into it!

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Ask the Bitches: "Will the Government Really Give Me $1,200?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “Will the Government Really Give Me $1,200?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Pardon our idealism, but we Bitches tend to think that one of the things a government should be responsible for is the economic welfare of its citizens in times of financial crisis.

You know: like right now.

Because make no mistake, along with being a public health crisis, the global outbreak of coronavirus is also an economic crisis. Many Americans have already lost their jobs due to the pandemic, resulting in a record 3.3 million unemployment claims; others are seeing their hours or pay severely cut; and the stock market is free-falling like Tom Petty at the Super Bowl, dropping the most in a single day since 2008.

But there are little glimmering lights of hope in this, our hour of darkness. The Federal Reserve just made $1.5 trillion available to keep banks solvent and steady. And now Congress has followed suit by passing a stimulus passage that will put money directly into the hands of people financially affected by the pandemic. Which happens to be all of us!

Unsurprisingly, you’ve got questions about this stimulus. We read all about it and distilled it down into easily digested morsels so that you don’t have to.

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

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Ask the Bitches: "Did Congress really give $1.5 trillion to Wall Street?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “Did Congress Really Give $1.5 Trillion to Wall Street?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Have you heard about this thing? This something, something, $1.5 trillion dollars thing? Today, we have a request to explain what’s going on there.

So… is it worth it?

Let us work it.

We’ll put our thing down, flip it, and (time allowing) reverse it.

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

The question

Here’s a question we got from an anonymous asker on our Tumblr:

Any chance you can explain why the 1.5 trillion congress put into stocks/small businesses/whatever meant and how it worked? I do not understand economics well enough to figure it out on my own, so I can’t figure out if it was actually a waste of money. I’m leaning towards “yes it was” but for my edification I want to make sure I’m not way off base thinking that.

We absolutely can explain this!

I’m gonna explain it like y’all are five. Because that’s the explanation I would want. Because right now, I have the emotional fortitude of a toddler desperately in need of nap time.

If you’re already pretty savvy with federal economic policy, you can read a higher level explanation like this one. Today’s breakdown will be for other babies like myself!

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Ask the Bitches: "Is it safe to keep my money in the bank?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “Is It Safe to Keep My Money in the Bank?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Today, we meditate upon the subject of social trust. How safe is it to keep relying on our usual systems and financial institutions?

Of course by “meditate” I mean watch YouTube clips of It’s a Wonderful Life.

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

The question

“I’m worried the coronavirus will cause enough economic fuckery that it will trigger a massive recession and banks will close due to not having workers. Is it worth it to remove the money in my account? It’s only $400, but it’s all the money I have.”

If all you have is $400, that’s not much to lose. It likely means this question asker is riding very close to insolvency and truly can’t afford to lose that $400 buffer. So I don’t blame them for freaking out!

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Ask the Bitches: "How do I push back when my workplace isn't taking COVID-19 seriously?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “How Do I Push Back When My Workplace Isn’t Taking COVID-19 Seriously?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Phew. Are y’all getting tired by all these articles yet? We’re not! We’re as tireless as a team of Amish-raised mules, and JUST AS ADORABLE!*

Today, we’re considering the health ramifications of a boss who just don’t give a damn about this global pandemic. Fun stuff!

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

*The first part is a lie; the second one is not.

The question

I’ve been working as an hourly temp at a business since August. My supervisor wanted to hire me. She was beginning this process when COVID-19 hit. Now all hands are on deck.

All company employees who can work from home are. But my supervisor can’t get me a company laptop to work from home, and encouraged me to come to work. I have asthma, so I’m very aware of how careful I must be. I’m wary of how well they clean the office and how seriously some employees are taking this crisis.

Should I continue going to work? I want to keep saving, but I also want to keep myself safe. I’ll take any tips you have.

There are still some workplaces that aren’t taking this pandemic seriously. Hopefully their numbers are shrinking as quickly as COVID-19 cases are rising.

If you’re unlucky enough to be stuck working at one, let’s talk about how to handle it. It shouldn’t be your job to handle it! But in Corporate America, managing other people’s idiocies is always half the job!

From a pure physical health perspective, you shouldn’t take the risk of going in to work. But financial instability wouldn’t benefit your stress, immune system, or mental health. So we have to try to balance those interests. That’s the repulsive calculus of our reprehensible system, where losing your job also means losing your health insurance at the worst possible time.

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Ask the Bitches: "Is this the right time to start investing?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “Is This the Right Time to Start Investing?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Today, we’re considering if now is a good time to start investing. Because your dad probably told you it’s a great time to invest. But is your dad right?!

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation to our Patreon. Thank you!

The question

“Dearest bitches, I finally paid off my student loans in January and the money that had been going to them has just been hanging tight in a savings account until I move it to my Roth IRA (right now it’s up to about $2k). The question, then: with the market, to quote a friend, ‘going down worse than your eighth jagerbomb,’ when is the best time to make that shift? It’s going into a robo-managed fund, so it’s not like I’m actively playing the market, but I’m still nervous. Help!”

Ah. Lovely. A slightly more optimistic question than our last few!

We’re going to answer this question straight, with the assumption that you’ve already taken the stability of your job, healthcare insurance, and emergency fund into ample consideration.

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Ask the Bitches: "What do I do if I can't pay my bills?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “What Do I Do If I Can’t Pay My Bills?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Today, we’re talking about what to do in the event that you can’t pay bills due to disruptions in your workplace.

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

The question

“My business already suspended travel and they’re talking about closing and having people work from home now that our schools are closing and there’s a confirmed case in our city. Problem is, I’m one of the lab techs. I can’t work from home and I can’t pay my bills at the moment if I don’t get my paychecks. What advice do you have for those of us who will lose money? I read some articles and they basically said call your landlord to ask ‘Pretty please,’ which won’t work for my ruthless landlord.”

This is definitely the most sobering question of the pandemic. It’s also the one most easily answered, which warms my withered heart like a raisin in the sun.

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