Made to Fail

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Chapter Three: Corrupted in Georgia

Season 1, Ep. 3

On January 24th, 2020 the Senate Health Committee got a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials on coronavirus. Among the attendees was Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler from Georgia. The very same day as the briefing, an asset manager for Senator Loeffler began making stock trades. Selling thousands of shares in stocks across multiple sectors. 


Elected officials are cloaked in a tremendous amount of privilege. Privileges that afford them information and opportunities not available to you or me. But what happens when our leaders warp who that judgment is for? What happens when those we elect, don’t think we’re paying attention? 


For years our norms around elections, ethics, and self dealing have faded into the background. Now in the chaos of 2020, we are seeing story after story of how our leaders protected their political and personal interests first and constituencies second. These stories all have one thing in common—a U.S. Supreme Court unwilling to prosecute unethical behavior and weak federal laws that allow for ethics to fall by the wayside and corruption to fill in the gap.

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10/5/2020

Chapter Seven: Sold Out in Maine

Season 1, Ep. 7
The Paycheck Protection Program was co-written by Maine’s very own Republican Senator Susan Collins, and it was signed into law as a means for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees to pay their workers and keep operations running during the pandemic. But, a loophole written into the program allowed for several major chains to receive millions of dollars in PPP loans from the same finite bucket of money, leaving crumbs for small businesses who followed the strictest of rules. Those loans, which made up a $349 billion stimulus effort were exhausted after just two weeks.The loophole is one reason that small businesses got so little when it came to the PPP loans, But then, there’s also the fact that banks were administering these loans. As banks were deciding the fate of businesses everywhere and making big profits, businesses all across the country were closing their doors and laying off workers. By April 23, more than 30 million people across America had filed for unemployment. This number has continued to rise. But that same month, in April, the S&P 500 and the Dow had their best months since 1987. The stock market was rallying...Why on the one hand did we see so many businesses close and massive job losses one day and see the stock market soaring the next? What does it mean that we have consistently seen both of these trends throughout a global pandemic? The links in our economic system that ensure when businesses profit, the people who work for those businesses profit as well, are fundamentally broken.