The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board and COVID-19 target the most vulnerable.

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COVID-19 mortality rates among people 70 to 80 years old range from 7% to 9%.

As someone who is about to turn 72, this is a concern.

There are demographic groups that are suffering from the virus more than others.

Black and Brown communities are seeing numbers of sick and dying way out of proportion to the population.

Meanwhile, the most wealthy are secluded behind high security walls while the sick and elderly are dying by the thousands in nursing homes.

I keep hearing that the virus doesn’t distinguish between rich and poor. But that is horse shit.

If that were true, why is it that the poor are the ones that are overwhelmingly the sick and the dead?

Cities and states are spending huge amounts of their treasury to fight the disease. But in Illinois, the state’s treasury was filled with the tax dollars of working people. In Illinois, the tax rate for billionaires and fry cooks is exactly the same.

That’s what a progressive fair tax is going to change. But right now, that’s the way it works.

The response from the editorial board of the liberal Chicago Sun-Times is to put everything on the table for cutbacks.

And by everything they don’t mean anything from the deep pockets of the rich.

They mean pensions and public services.

A reduction in the annual cost of living increase for public employee pensions — now an automatic 3% hike, compounded annually — should, finally, be seriously entertained. Though this editorial page has long favored this change, we have not championed it of late because of constitutional obstacles and an utter lack of interest by Democrats.

Could pain be avoided by adjusting the way our state is financing its debts, including pension debt? We don’t know for certain, but it’s time for government’s brightest financial minds to look under every rock, consider every option.

Everything must be on the table.

The Sun-Times has it backwards.

For all the suffering it has caused, the pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to reverse decades of austerity.

On the table should be an expansion of services, a guaranteed income, universal health care, safe and small classrooms and pensions that afford every retiree a safe and secure life.

Everything should be on that table.

 

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