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Charita Goshay

Being able to write for a living reminds me daily that we are not all in this together.

We are not all in this together, not in terms of fairness, or sacrifice, suffering and duress.

We’re all old enough to remember when nurses, doctors and other medical professionals were lionized as heroes. Now comes word that some hospitals are quietly ending “hero” pay for these workers, even as cases re-surge and PPE is again becoming scarce.

Though the majority of COVID-related deaths are nursing-home residents, the second-largest demographics are Black and Latino “essential workers” who can’t stay at home behind a laptop.

They are bus drivers, nurses’ aides, cashiers, waitresses and assembly-line workers stationed shoulder-to-shoulder in violation of CDC guidelines for social distancing.

Meat and poultry plants are wallowing in profits while their workers — mostly immigrants — barely are making a living wage, and are steadily losing basic safety protections.

We are not all in this together.

Last week, the president’s favorite daughter introduced “Find Something New,” a campaign encouraging unemployed Americans to consider rebooting their lives through re-training and education.

On paper, and in a perfect world, it’s not a bad idea, but Ivanka Trump Kushner is the absolute last person who should be promoting it.

She’s never missed a meal or a bill in her life. She’s never had to scramble for a babysitter, or pray that the car would start — please God, one more time — when she finished her shift.

She’s never had to stretch a can of beans or feed her kids from a “dollar” menu because it’s filling and cheap.

If she wants to help, she should be using her star power to buttonhole America’s CEOs into seeing the value of investing in pay equity and day care.

An estimated 40% of day care centers may not reopen, putting thousands of parents who must work in dire straits.

It’s long past time for employers to offer in-house services or day care as a shared-cost benefit like insurance or vision care.

Always keep in mind that the talking heads on cable TV who are braying that it’s time for America to get back to work and school are broadcasting from their homes, where their groceries are delivered and live-in nannies are fixing their children’s lunch.

We are not all in this together.

The members of America’s new Gilded Age are making a killing from investments in pharmaceuticals and companies manufacturing personal protection equipment here and in China.

In comparison, the people to whom these new-money billionaires entrust their children and parents are making an average of $12 to $14 an hour, according to the U.S. Census.

Pew Research notes that wages for working people have been stagnant for decades: “After adjusting for inflation; however, today’s average hourly wage has just about the same purchasing power it did in 1978.”

We are not all in this together.

A number of companies that are doing well recently raked in millions through government programs designed to keep small businesses alive. A few were too embarrassed to keep it — but not all, while thousands of small businesses already approved have yet to receive help.

Meanwhile, some in Congress, which meets about 140 days a year, are balking at a second round of stimulus checks and at extending unemployment benefits, for fear it will encourage and foster laziness.

Meanwhile, 5 million Americans have lost their health insurance ... in the middle of a pandemic.

We are not all in this together.

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Charita M. Goshay is a nationally syndicated columnist for Gatehouse News Service. She is a native of Canton, Ohio, and a graduate of Kent State University where she majored in communications. Goshay has been employed at the Canton Repository since 1990. She can be reached at charita.goshay@cantonrep.com.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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