The coronavirus is a collective risk. On the eve of the presidential elections, it could increase
demand for social security in the USA
and weigh on the political balance
The emergence of the coronavirus is changing the economic and political equilibrium in every country of the world. The slowdown in growth and the risk of a global recession are lasting shocks creating strong uncertainty about employment and purchasing power.
On the political level, the impact will take longer to emerge because for the moment the phenomenon is too limited and appears exogenous to a country except perhaps for China. However, it should be noted that Horst Seehofer, the German interior minister, took steps to test the asylum seekers.
It’s in the United States that the situation will be the most interesting in the coming weeks if the epidemic is not stopped. The government wants, over time, to reduce collective support for health care like Medicare and Medicaid in order to limit the federal budgetary drift. In other words, the current administration no longer wishes to assume collective and total responsibility for health care. Everyone will have, even more than now, to take charge of their own health.
The coronavirus epidemic that is beginning to affect the United States is a global phenomenon that is by no means individualizable. Everyone can do anything to reduce their exposure but the whole is wider than that. This risk cannot be insured at the level of each American. Some will not want it and others will not have the means. However, it is a collective risk that transcends the cleavages. It will take collective mobilization to deal with it, as could be the case in particular in Europe.
The increase in this collective risk could put Americans on the side of those who want a collective social security system.
China, hated by the current administration, could unwittingly play an unexpected role.