- Dec 25, 2018
Donald Trump’s botched handling of the Covid-19 crisis has left the US looking like a “third world” country and on course for a second Great Depression, one of the world’s leading economists has warned.
In a withering attack on the president, Joseph Stiglitz said millions of people were turning to food banks, turning up for work due to a lack of sick pay and dying because of health inequalities.
The Nobel prize-winning economist said: “The numbers turning to food banks are just enormous and beyond the capacity of them to supply. It is like a third world country. The public social safety net is not working.”
Stiglitz, a long-term critic of Trump, said 14% of the population was dependent on food stamps and predicted the social infrastructure could not cope with an unemployment rate that could hit 30% in the coming months.
“We have a safety net that is inadequate. The inequality in the US is so large. This disease has targeted those with the poorest health. In the advanced world, the US is one of the countries with the poorest health overall and the greatest health inequality.”
Stiglitz said Republicans had opposed proposals to give those affected by coronavirus 10 days’ sick leave, meaning many employees were going to work even while infected. “The Republicans said no because they said it would set a bad precedent. It is literally unbelievable.”
He added: “The safety net is not adequate and is propagating the disease. There is very weak unemployment insurance and people don’t think they can rely on it.”
During an interview with the Guardian to mark the paperback publication of his book People, Power, and Profits, Stiglitz was asked whether the US might be heading for a second Great Depression.
“Yes is the answer in short,” he said. “If you leave it to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell [the Republican Senate majority leader] we will have a Great Depression. If we had the right policy structure in place we could avoid it easily.”
Top economist: US coronavirus response is like 'third world' country
Joseph Stiglitz attacks Donald Trump, saying US on course for second Great Depression