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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

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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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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Ask the Bitches: "Can I get fired for skipping work?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “Can I Get Fired for Skipping Work?”

Yeah, that’s kinda how life feels right now.

We know y’all are already drowning in a deluge of news stories and rumors about COVID-19, the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus. But there’s also a lot of misinformation circulating. Folks are getting really panicky in a time when we most need to be calm, rational, and trusting.

This is why Kitty and I have thrown all our other work aside to speed up our writing schedule. We want to soothe your consciences and help you keep your shit together. On Monday we focused on the practical steps you can take to help yourself and your community stay safe and healthy. If you haven’t read that article yet, go do so.

We wish that Bitch Nation was a real country. There, we could not only quarantine all our beloved readers, but offer them a living minimum wage, paid sick leave for all workers, and mandate at least one dog per household. Alas! Our empire is merely virtual.

So today we’re kicking off a special Lightning Round of Ask the Bitches. We’re publishing as many Q&A articles as we can in the coming days. We want to put your minds at ease, dispel some misconceptions, and give you some helpful resources for getting through COVID-19 fever (pun intended???) with your sanity and emergency funds intact.

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Thought we should be physically avoiding each other, we need community more than ever.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: How to Protect Your Community and Your Soul from COVID-19

Hello precious readers.

Piggy and I decided to halt our regularly scheduled programming to talk to you a little about what’s going on in the world right now.

We will be writing more about this topic very soon—particularly the financial and economic aspects, as they are ~*kinda our thing*~. So if you’re worried about how to handle absences at work, or being fired, or what to do with the money you have in the bank right now, stay tuned for more. We’re speeding up our normal writing schedule to answer questions as fast as we can. (Anyone can submit questions through our Tumblr. Patreon donors can message us directly.)

Today we’re going to reinforce the most important advice: how to be good at coronavirusing!

Which is to say: how to be a safe, respectful, engaged, and helpful member of the global community during this crisis where we need each other desperately, yet ironically should be physically avoiding each other!

And for that, we’re gonna need any viral researchers, vaccine synthesizers, medical professionals, state governors, and similar to go ahead and stop reading BGR articles. Piggy and I really agonized over this decision, but it’s final. I know we have a very witty and relatable writing style, but it’s time for you to Go Do The Thing. So go on now, y’all—git!

… Are they gone?

Okay. For the rest of you: we have great news! Your job is significantly simpler and easier. In fact, there are really only a few things you can do. Here’s what you can (and must) do to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

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