By Li Qingqing (Global Times, 17 August 2020) – More Americans are saying that they cannot afford enough food for themselves or their children, and the situation may even get worse as some US government benefits have expired, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday. Economists believe the problem seems to be “worse than it was at the height of the Great Recession.”
The US’ current domestic situation hardly matches the country’s status as a superpower and the largest economy in the world. It is also a slap in the face of the US’ self-proclaimed humanitarianism and human rights. The US’ incompetent response to the COVID-19 epidemic has not only affected American people’s livelihood, but also failed the world. Some US political elites should be held accountable for this.
In the face of the epidemic, together with the widening gap between the rich and poor and the growing number of unemployed people, some US politicians are shockingly indifferent and irresponsible. “I wouldn’t say so, but perhaps that’s been the story of life.” This was US President Donald Trump’s response to whether US asymptomatic celebrities should get COVID-19 tests before anyone else, openly promoting social Darwinism.
According to The Record of Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2019, issued by China’s State Council Information Office in March, the US is the only developed country where millions of people are hungry, and people at the bottom are living in distress. It is a fact that the COVID-19 has again exacerbated the severe marginalization of poor Americans. Many Chinese netizens now view the US as a “deluxe version” of India – there are two parallel worlds, one for the rich and the other for the poor, and living conditions of the elites and of those at the bottom are poles apart.
Hunger has been a problem of less-developed countries. But surprisingly, US the superpower is also facing the same problem. Worse, Republican and Democratic elites seem to be uninterested in solving the problems of the bottom class. Tens of millions of uninsured Americans are facing the unbearable cost of COVID-19 treatment, but some US politicians are turning a blind eye.
Health and food, which should have been the people’s basic rights, have become a luxury for the poor after the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic. The economic downturn after the pandemic is a long-term challenge for all governments, and the US’ governance has obviously failed to address it.
Instead of resolving these basic livelihood issues, some US political elites are targeting China. They even attacked China’s so-called violation of personal freedom during the country’s COVID-19 fight. This is ridiculous. Over the past more than four decades, China has lifted some 850 million people out of poverty, and China’s per capita income increased 25fold, contributing to over 70 percent of global poverty reduction. This is a huge boost to people’s living standards and should be the largest human rights triumph worldwide.
The difference is obvious. China launched a large-scale poverty alleviation campaign and quickly controlled the epidemic, while the US left millions hungry and let the epidemic spread. The US’ so-called human rights have collapsed, and have lost their moral high ground.
The Trump administration has been promoting “Make America Great Again.” But for now, make Americans healthy again, make Americans employed again, and lift Americans out of hunger seem to be more pragmatic goals.