Dane Smith, a Growth & Justice senior fellow and co-editor of the Minnesota Equity Blueprint, wrote an op-ed for the Star Tribune titled “Toward a better patriotism.” He discusses the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the statue removal of figures like Christopher Columbus, and the country-wide efforts to confront systemic racism-- all within the context of recent anniversaries of freedom like Independence Day and Juneteenth.
“COVID-19 and Derek Chauvin have conspired to tear the scabs off both overall economic inequality and insecurity, and to vividly remind the world that white America has had its knees on the necks of Black Americans for four centuries,” he writes. “Minnesota is taking a deserved beating, as insiders and outsiders are reassessing our claim to progressive prosperity and quality-of-life.”
As we re-examine elements of our country like statues and memorials that represent a history of pain, racism and death to so many, it is critical to also direct attention to equitable public policy. The Minnesota Equity Blueprint represents our network’s collection of practical solutions and initiatives to make this state a better and more inclusive place for all who live in it. To read more about equitable policy and these solutions, you can access the Blueprint here.
A piece written by Gordon Mosser for MinnPost titled “The case for Medicare for All has grown stronger than ever” captures both the urgency of the need for accessible, quality health care and the persuasive benefits of Medicare for All, such as U.S. residents paying significantly less for health care and redirection of funds to create a “unified national health budget.”
Mosser discusses specifically how the pandemic has exacerbated and blatantly exhibited this need, and how the surging Black Lives Matter movement has exposed and demanded acknowledgment of care inequities.
“COVID-19 and the national protests over George Floyd’s brutal killing have put the costliness and inequality of U.S. health care on full view,” Mosser writes. “We must seize this opportunity to build heightened public awareness of our defective system to become better informed, and to take action. We must build on the growing political will to enact universal health care and to manage the transition to it.”
Growth & Justice, along with many other allies, has long been an advocate of guaranteed high-quality health care coverage for all Minnesotans. In 2012, we published this extensive report titled “Moving Beyond the Affordable Care Act,” which found Minnesotans would pay about ten percent less if the state were to embrace a single-payer health care system such as Medicare for All.
A blog post from the Economic Policy Institute written by Kirstyn Flood confronts statistics concerning racial disparities and economic collapse in the wake of COVID-19. According to the post, “nearly 11% of the workforce is out of work with no reasonable chance of getting called back to a prior job.” The official unemployment rate for May was 13.3%, but including those who are out of work because of the pandemic, the unemployment rate was 19.7%. Specifically, Black and brown workers were found to be impacted by unemployment the most. The post points out that if Congress does not extend the $600 weekly unemployment payments, 5.1 million jobs will be lost over the next year. The EPI blog post frequently sourced data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS Economic News Release on the Employment Situation for June 2020 can be found here.
A webinar called the “Case for Living in Rural Minnesota” is taking place on Wednesday, July 15 from 1:30-2:45 p.m. It will discuss the latest findings from the Center for Rural Policy & Development and the University of Minnesota Extension, which include data showing that most rural Minnesota regions have wages meeting and possibly exceeding that of the metro area, and the results from a survey of newly arrived rural Minnesotans on their reasoning behind moving to their area. The webinar will also feature the Minnesota Rural Atlas, from which you can access the data from your own county & region. For more information and to register, click here. Growth & Justice also plans to create a calendar listing of interesting and informative events, which will be accessible through our website.
“What we need are critical lovers of America – patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it.” - Hubert H. Humphrey