MSNBC's Velshi: Use Pandemic to Enact More Welfare in U.S.

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Anchoring his eponymous Saturday morning show on MSNBC, NBC business correspondent Ali Velshi gave a commentary in which he called for the U.S. to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to enact permanent welfare policies to fix the country's capitalism which he alleged is "broken."

After beginning his commentary by recalling that disastrous times in history can sometimes have something good come out of them, he then complained about the existence of poverty in the "richest in the world," the United States:

ALI VELSHI: We can take this moment to change the policies that have failed us. America is the richest nation on Earth, and yet, this morning, 37 and a half million Americans -- many of them children -- struggle to feed themselves; 30 million Americans lack health insurance; this morning, an estimated half a million Americans woke up in a homeless shelter or, worse, in the streets. This happens every single day in the richest country in the world.

The MSNBC host then complained that there are always excuses not to take such actions, and claimed that capitalism is "broken," even made a reference to climate change. Here's Velshi:

When it comes to changing big policies, the response is either that it costs too much, or it's too hard to do. "But how will you pay for it?" we ask. We all know - even the privileged among us, like me -- that capitalism is broken. It doesn't mean we have to throw it out, but it does mean we have to fix it. And, right now, we are going to have to spend a lot of money and do some things that are really hard to do. So why not do it right? Why not be the first generation that fixes wealth disparity and income inequality and universal health care and poverty and homelessness and racial economic inequality and crushing college debt and underfunded public schools and unpaid teachers and the nurses who may save your life in the coming weeks. And, by the way, how about the climate? 

He hoped to see a replacement of "rugged American individualism" as he concluded his commentary:

Rugged American individualism may be replaced by the realization that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers. Let's be sure that when history looks back on this moment, and writes that we changed, it remembers that we took this once in a lifetime chance to make our world a more just society.

Below is a complete transcript of Velshi's commentary from the Saturday, March 21, Velshi show on MSNBC:

8:17 p.m. Eastern

ALI VELSHI: This week marked the start of a new reality from big things like multiple deaths across the country to smaller things like the first time in my career that I'm doing a show from my home. Everything's going to be different now, and when we come through this, things will have changed drastically. But different doesn't have to be bad. Every major crisis and economic downturn has left its imprint on society, defining an era that followed it and the generation that lived through it. How this one defines us is, in fact, in our control.

We can take this moment to change the policies that have failed us. America is the richest nation on Earth, and yet, this morning, 37 and a half million Americans -- many of them children -- struggle to feed themselves; 30 million Americans lack health insurance; this morning, an estimated half a million Americans woke up in a homeless shelter or, worse, in the streets. This happens every single day in the richest country in the world.

When it comes to changing big policies, the response is either that it costs too much, or it's too hard to do. "But how will you pay for it?" we ask. We all know - even the privileged among us, like me -- that capitalism is broken. It doesn't mean we have to throw it out, but it does mean we have to fix it. And, right now, we are going to have to spend a lot of money and do some things that are really hard to do. So why not do it right? Why not be the first generation that fixes wealth disparity and income inequality and universal health care and poverty and homelessness and racial economic inequality and crushing college debt and underfunded public schools and unpaid teachers and the nurses who may save your life in the coming weeks. And, by the way, how about the climate? 

During this crisis so far, we have put about a half a trillion dollars a day into propping up financial markets, but not one new cent on economic inequality and justice. These are not expenses. They are investments into our future. There's no question, we're in a moment with darkness, but, in that darkness, let us discover our capacity for positive change. We'll get through this stronger in our faith and reliance on one another. Rugged American individualism may be replaced by the realization that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers. Let's be sure that when history looks back on this moment, and writes that we changed, it remembers that we took this once in a lifetime chance to make our world a more just society.

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