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Inequality Gone Viral: The Obscene Numbers

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/30/inequality-gone-viral-obscene-numbers

Well it’s our Cultural Story taken to its logical conclusion, “ to the rich go the spoils in a survival of the fittest world.”

Time for a New Cultural Story to guide humanity. A new guiding principle based on our Oneness and the connectivity of Life .
What purpose does such massive inequality serve only


Based on Biden’s initial signalling to the left - a flaming middle finger - progressives in office need to obstruct even harder than the republicans.

Things are moving in the worst possible direction. The grip of corruption on our society is complete - das Pravda!


AOC, the rest of the Squad, Bernie, Liz, and several others remind us of the all so important word–morals.


What complicated reversible-raincoat irony in that headline: “viral inequality,” in the wake of the inequality virus! There are many ways to measure the perfect extremity of inequality, requiring a portion of obscene wealth alongside unconscionable misery – inevitably it’s a mathematical challenge to appropriately measure the scale of the gap in that contrast. While academics debate their metrics at conferences, Ma Earth contributed a deoxyribonucleic acid-test to settle the argument: Hands down, the most absurdly, unsustainably unequal society on Earth is USA – the unequivocal determination of the Covid test we take, and spectacularly fail, here in USA.

Current loss leaders, from our digest of “obscene” Johns Hopkins positivity numbers:

>                        JH       per-capita     immed
>                    positivity    newcases    mortality
>                        %            %            %
>  1. South Dakota      45.5        128.9         1.55
>  2. Iowa              43.0        102.8         0.74
>  3. Kansas            38.0         80.7         0.71
>  4. Idaho             42.7         68.8         0.80
>  5. Wyoming           24.9        111.1         0.72
>  6. North Dakota      12.5        149.5         1.17
>  7. Montana           17.7         91.1         1.05
>  8. Utah              18.3         82.2         0.35
>  9. Wisconsin         14.6         97.4         0.73
> 10. Nebraska          13.3         96.7         0.61
> 11. Minnesota         11.4        100.8         0.71
> 12. Oklahoma          18.0         65.1         0.54
> 13. New Mexico        13.8         81.2         1.09
> 14. Missouri          18.0         63.7         0.82
> 15. Pennsylvania      24.8         41.8         1.01

The right’s definition of and framing of taking is “freedom”. This country was founded on taking, calling it freedom. Taking land, food sources, and culture from Indigenous peoples. Taking humans from Africa to become chattel(cattle)fit only for work and breeding for the very few to live sumptuously. Humans leaving Europe and Asia fleeing poverty and famine, gulled by that era’s version of Mad Men to believe the US was a place with free land and wealth if you worked hard enough. They became a new type of slave-a wage slave, forced to work in factories and live in tenements riddled with disease. They realized they were taken for fools, and began the various revolts of workers, put down by police and military.
No, Iya the Giant and his entire family came from the east and have eaten their way around the world, leaving misery, unhappiness, and anomie it their wake.
Now we have the Freedom Force, a bunch of GOP youngsters brainwashed to the point of satire, all ready to push the conservative framing of “freedom”-war, no limits for business, low taxes(if any!), and bringing god back.
Methinks it’s way past time to ditch obscene salaries to celebrities, sports players, rich do-nothings, CEO’s, and those who work on Wall Street and other places where all they do all day is gamble with other people’s money. Pay first responders, health care workers, those who take care of elders, children, and the disabled, those who grow our food the same amounts we now pay a Wall Street grifter, a corporate CEO, an Ivanka Trump(before Daddy became President). While those folks get paid minimum wage as it is today-a little over $7 an hour with no health insurance or paid vacations, 12 hour days with no overtime, and without a chance to form a union…


What’s going to happen next year when it all comes due for the ones that didn’t pay rent or mortgages because of the c-virus pandemic and loss of jobs? And folks thought winter of 1932 was bad. Are the top 10% going to help the lower 80%? Thought so. And folks thought 2020 was bad. Biden will inherit the worse depression in US, and maybe the world’s, history.


I live in New Mexico and we’re a poor state. I’m poor but have SS & Medicare, I can’t comprehend the magnitude of what’s in store next year.


New Mexico was the first big mover to scoot into the company of the worst infected states, after this surge got rolling around the Dakotas – not very similar to the clump of northern states (darkest blue, along with NM, in CDC’s map of per-capita caseload):


Since New Mexico’s promotion to our statistical ICU, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have joined the party. Starting a week from contact – almost immediately – we’ll see the caseload surge from Thanksgiving transmissions, followed in three weeks by a surge in deaths. People with a good feeling for it keep saying “surge on top of a surge” – new-cases per day having momentarily leveled off aroung 165K, this pause is like a launching pad. Given the frequency of doubled frequencies, I would not be surprised by 300K new-cases per day before 2020 finally checks out. We’ve got the Christmas “surge on top of a surge” waiting for the baton-pass. Some vaccine relief might be months out. Lord have mercy on us all.

It’s generally the case that counties and states which voted for His Pestilency are winding up the worst infected, but I hate to think of this scourge in such terms. Nobody deserves the horrors ahead for us, as we run into the severe care shortages impending almost everywhere in USA, so carefully prepared and crafted for maximum destruction by His Pestilency’s “coronavirus task force.”

A brief history of USA COVID-19 cases (latest CDC numbers):

> WEEK    9 WEEKS              CASES
>         ENDING          NEW       TOTAL
>   9.  03/22/2020      33,404      33,404
>  18.  05/24/2020   1,604,052   1,637,456
>  27.  07/26/2020   2,588,231   4,225,687
>  36.  09/27/2020   2,869,735   7,095,422
>  45.  11/29/2020   6,200,183  13,295,605

Another launch-pad to watch: CDC’s 7-day average of COVID deaths, currently at 1,500 deaths per day. Again, given the frequency of doubled frequencies, this one could get to 3K per day before New Year’s.


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God and money are not supposed to mix.
The higher the good you do in society the lower the pay .


True that, A corollary I have found to be true: The harder you work at your particular job the less you make.

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There should be no billionaires! People who have that much wealth are more dangerous to society than the pandemic.


I don’t understand the headings, “per-capita newcases” and “immed mortality”. Would you elaborate, or tell me where to look to better understand what these categorizations represent?


It’s gonna be a cold winter for the many. Brought to you by the economic system known as Capitalism. A system that favors and fosters unconscionable greed. Revolting! Eugene V Debs to the rescue…

Trump’s Corona Virus advisor (Scott Atlas) resigns as his Federal pass expires, just not soon enough. IMO

With no experience in infectious disease and pretty much useless advice I think we could consider this a a government spending waste.

I’m going to break-down the numbers. An article at Axios news quotes the study : “The CARES Act’s stimulus checks and unemployment benefits lifted more than 18 million [out of 34 million) individuals out of monthly poverty in April, but this number fell to around 4 million individuals in August and September after the expiration of the $600 per week unemployment supplement.” So of 18 million were lifted above FPL, only 4 million are still above poverty, some 14 million fell back below FPL. The $600/week check ended at August 1, leaving only state unemployment insurance to serve as a life-line for the jobless. The Supplemental Poverty Measure, U.S. Census, reports the “Official” 2019 poverty measure at 34,061 or 10.5%. It sounds like poverty was reduced from 34 million to (18 mn less) around 16 million, very low, about 5%. And now 30 million are in poverty, 9.2%, still very low. The CARES Act was generous. Not many journalists report how roughly $930 per week federal-state jobless insurance raised the incomes of the lowest paid workers, many who were earning around $19,000 a year, or $365 per week. A Brookings Inst. report - “Meet the Low-Wage Workforce” - says that about a third of workers earn about $19,000/year, and another 1/6th make even less. This is why the Republicans are trying to reduce the $600/week to $300 or was it less. The scholar Thomas Ferguson, speaking at “the Analysis” with Paul Jay, says that with unemployment running below 4% through 2019, the poverty rate lowering, and slight improvement in wages for non-supervisory workers, Trump managed to claim the votes of 75 million, and almost win. The CARES Act also improved the outlook for many because it was so generous, and Trump wanted to pass a second federal bill, but the McConnell/Reps would not allow it, and they perhaps lost the election because they were not generous enough. Serves them right, how strange things can be. Poverty really begins at around 150% of FPL, and some 25.7% or 84 million (not 34) live below 150% of FPL. And the average household income is above $120,000 per year, but still we have 40% living in hardship or poverty. That’s another discussion. Thanks, Paul B, you inspired me to do some homework.

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I have explanatory text which goes with the full 51-state listing:

Ranking is based on Johns Hopkins’ test-positivity factored with “per-capita newcases” & “immediate mortality” – the ratio of totals on hand for deaths and cases.

From Johns Hopkins I get monthly and weekly averages for positivity and totals for new cases & deaths. The latter two I convert to ratios for numbers which are comparable between states of different populations: new-cases by state population, and deaths by new-cases. CDC publishes a (geographically stunning!) map, revised daily, of a quantity comparably identical to our “percapita newcases” – theirs is new cases, per week, per 100,000:


“Immediate mortality” doesn’t indicate actual mortality, because we just crudely divide deaths right now by cases right now, rather than attempting to trace out how many cases lead to deaths. But we do the same thing with every state, so it’s equitable. JH’s positivity is a leading indicator, and deaths is a trailing indicator, with respect to new-cases. So factoring the three together is one attempt at settling these numbers down.

Another thing I do, also for stability in the product, is averaging JH’s weekly and monthly figures, such that we get a four-week average with the last week weighted. Johns Hopkins is probably the leading compiler of epidemiological statistics in the world, but they’re still flailing at times to keep up with this tumultuous bug. Washington went to 117% (per week) positivity a day ago – which is absurd, of course, but shows what a bucking bronco they’ve got to deal with over there.

I see very few (if any) other multi-factor rankings of the states. It’s simple to rank by a single criterion, but that might not tell you as much about which states are in the most trouble. Some previous attempts of mine have suffered from too much volatility – when the data pops back and forth wildly, it cannot and does not look like reality. Every factor will someday retract back zero, should USA ever climb out of the hole we’re in – It’s totally dynamic except for the human bodies behind the numbers, and the delineation of four groups of state-outbreaks according to fixed points. In the month I’ve been keeping this compilation, the upper groups only swell, while the lower groups shrink, in number of states.

MMT (and the UBI) has become the cure-all for the problems of capitalist inequality, it seems.

Did Marx write Capital in vain? Has it been so easily forgotten that he placed the Labor Theory of Value at the center of his economic thinking. Marx was analyzing capitalism, not advising what policies should be pursued under capitalism. His conception of socialism involves the disappearance of commodity production and so of value, money and banks

No government can make capitalism work for the benefit of all. MMT is basically the view that the government should print as much money as it needs to finance its activities without needing to worry about any adverse consequences such as inflation. This is why it’s been said that what MMT stands for is Magic Money Tree.




As for the UBI be careful for what you wish for. There is no such thing as free money. “Basic” will prove to be poverty level because if the income was too high, it would undermine the economic coercion that is behind wage slavery.

Thank you for the explanation, and for all the effort you put into keeping the community here informed.

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Thanks backatcha. For my part, I don’t mind getting the impression someone looks at this stuff every now and then – but it’s mainly just keeping my feet wet in the wonderful scripting language Python, as a cognitive exercise to keep track of myself, to some degree. (All my life I’ve had a love-hate relationship with programming.)

I checked on 11/8 when I formalized this digest. At that time there were only eight heartland states in the top group: South Dakota, Iowa, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Except for Wyoming (at #10), those states have tenaciously gripped the top eight spots, in nearly the same order, to this day – with parallel outbreaks escalating in unison.

More turbulence today, with Thanksgiving leftovers still to digest. Alabama and Indiana just leapt up into the loss leaders. Here’s this morning’s full listing:


Ranking is based on Johns Hopkins’ test-positivity factored with “per-capita newcases” & “immediate mortality” – the ratio of totals on hand for deaths and cases.

>                        JH       per-capita     immed
>                    positivity    newcases    mortality
>                        %            %            %
>  1. South Dakota      46.1        125.5         1.58
>  2. Iowa              43.5        101.0         0.77
>  3. Kansas            39.0         81.7         0.72
>  4. Idaho             43.6         69.1         0.79
>  5. North Dakota      12.2        146.1         1.19
>  6. Montana           17.0         89.0         1.06
>  7. Utah              18.5         82.1         0.35
>  8. Wisconsin         14.6         95.6         0.72
>  9. Nebraska          13.6         98.0         0.64
> 10. Wyoming           11.9        111.5         0.61
> 11. Minnesota         11.6        101.9         0.69
> 12. Missouri          18.3         64.2         0.76
> 13. New Mexico        13.5         81.9         1.13
> 14. Oklahoma          17.8         64.8         0.53
> 15. Pennsylvania      25.4         42.4         1.01
> 16. Alabama           26.8         39.3         1.02
> 17. Indiana           11.9         79.4         0.90
> --- ---------------------- ------------ ------------
> 18. Illinois          10.7         79.2         1.03
> 19. Nevada            14.5         59.1         0.72
> 20. Tennessee         13.6         56.9         1.08
> 21. Ohio              12.7         60.8         0.58
> 22. Michigan          11.2         64.8         1.04
> 23. Colorado          10.0         73.3         0.63
> 24. Mississippi       18.4         38.6         1.42
> 25. Arkansas          13.8         50.5         1.23
> 26. Arizona           17.9         39.1         0.79
> 27. Oregon            24.7         25.4         0.78
> 28. Kentucky          10.9         54.8         0.59
> 29. Rhode Island       6.6         76.5         0.79
> 30. Texas             10.4         34.9         1.14
> 31. West Virginia      6.6         45.4         1.14
> 32. Alaska             4.4         75.8         0.28
> 33. Georgia            8.6         33.4         1.30
> --- ---------------------- ------------ ------------
> 34. New Jersey         6.8         38.7         0.68
> 35. Louisiana          7.6         33.1         1.12
> 36. Florida            7.7         31.6         0.93
> 37. Delaware           6.1         39.3         0.59
> 38. North Carolina     7.4         29.7         0.96
> 39. Connecticut        4.7         42.9         0.98
> 40. Virginia           9.1         23.3         0.73
> 41. South Carolina     7.2         26.7         1.06
> 42. Maryland           5.5         30.2         1.02
> 43. Washington         6.0         26.6         0.71
> 44. California         6.0         27.4         0.48
> 45. New Hampshire      5.5         25.6         0.44
> 46. Massachusetts      3.3         33.1         1.15
> 47. New York           3.3         25.9         0.61
> --- ---------------------- ------------ ------------
> 48. D.C.               2.3         21.2         0.76
> 49. Maine              2.2         12.7         1.01
> 50. Vermont            1.5         10.6         0.69
> 51. Hawaii             2.0          6.8         1.01