The growth of American institutions like public education and organized labor has been stunted by racial hostility. Eduardo Porter, author of American Poison, explains how racial animus has blocked social cohesion throughout history. With the coronavirus pandemic, this stunted growth is partly to blame for why the United States has dealt with the crisis so poorly. While millions become infected and tens of millions lose their jobs, the components of country’s social safety net — health insurance, unemployment insurance, a lack of mandatory sick leave and childcare — are inadequate, says Porter. The virus has also impacted poor, low-income, and people of color disproportionately. Porter speaks with Maureen Conway, executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute.
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