Last updated on May 26, 2020
The real problem is (human) capital flow. But it’s about referring to human capital as “stock” in a yard. Remember that Hassett’s model was the one followed by Trump/Kushner that predicted an early near-zero COVID death toll.
In a Sunday interview on CNN, Hassett predicted that business would pick up again soon.
“Our human capital stock is ready to get back to work,” he said, while admitting at the same time that the nation will continue to struggle with unemployment as high as 23% this month.
The smiling Hassett seemed blithely calm about an unemployment rate “north of 20%” in May, which may be higher in June and will likely be in the double digits by November, he said.
Critics on Twitter didn’t take to Hassett’s terminology — or the fact that workers will be bringing up the caboose again while potentially risking their lives if there’s a second COVID-19 spike, which Hassett didn’t even acknowledge.
According to a recent report in USA Today meatpacking plants are major vectors for the transmission of the virus in the United States. The paper concluded that based on its data analysis, “More than 150 of America’s largest meat processing plants operate in counties where the rate of coronavirus infection is already among the nation’s highest.” These factories account for one-third of US beef, pork and poultry production and the counties where these plants are located have infection rates higher than those of 75 percent of counties nationwide.
With the collaboration of the unions, meatpacking plants have been maintained for decades as a low wage sector beset by deplorable working conditions and the highest rates of illness of any manufacturing sector, four time the national average according to the Government Accounting Office. Federal watchdog groups indicate that workers employed in meatpacking, including a high proportion of immigrants, some undocumented, are less likely to report illness or injury than other workers. Plants have been cited for refusing to give workers bathroom breaks even for hand washing.
COVID-19 infections had been detected at 62 meatpacking plants in the US by Thursday, according to USA Today, with some 3,400 workers infected. There were 17 confirmed deaths and at least 17 facilities closed. A US Department of Agriculture inspector for meatpacking plants died Thursday after being diagnosed with the virus.
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