Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Healthcare workers at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx on April 17, 2020 rallied against a policy change that made it more difficult for them to take paid sick leave. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Healthcare workers at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx on April 17, 2020 rallied against a policy change that made it more difficult for them to take paid sick leave. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Study Confirms Paid Sick Leave is Crucial in Fight Against Covid-19

"It's not a magic bullet, but it's one tool that's been shown to work. Over and over again."

Kenny Stancil

A team of health policy researchers found that the emergency paid sick leave benefit passed by Congress in March to curb the coronavirus pandemic did "flatten the curve" and prevent a substantial number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S., but despite the fact that this policy improved the nation's public health, it is set to expire at the end of 2020, well before the crisis is expected to subside. 

The peer-reviewed study, published late last week in Health Affairs, shows that the paid sick leave provision of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) reduced the spread of the coronavirus. 

Nicolas Ziebarth, an associate professor at Cornell University who contributed to the study, told HuffPost on Friday that paid sick leave, like mask-wearing, is a crucial measure that can curb the transmission of Covid-19. 

"It's not a magic bullet, but it's one tool that's been shown to work," Ziebarth said. "Over and over again. It's one tool in the toolbox that helps to bring down case numbers."

According to the researchers, the emergency benefit resulted in 400 fewer confirmed Covid-19 cases per day in states where workers gained access to paid sick leave for the first time as a result of the FFCRA. 

The findings are all the more significant when one considers the limitations of this legislation. As Common Dreams reported in March, the FFCRA provided paid sick leave to only 20% of the private sector workforce and excluded workers at companies with more than 500 employees. 

After 51 Republican senators voted against expanding the provision to all workers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) pointed out on social media that the overwhelming majority of U.S. workers in the food service industry—where the disease transmission link is obvious—often continue to be deprived of paid sick leave. 

Despite the deficiencies of the FFCRA's paid sick leave provision, the researchers still found that the emergency benefit's expansion of coverage to an estimated one-fifth of the workforce was "a highly effective policy tool to flatten the curve."

The researchers cautioned that the pending expiration of the benefit at the end of the year increases the risk of rising infection rates heading into 2021. 

Ziebarth hypothesized that the lack of universal paid sick leave policy in the U.S. is one reason why the coronavirus crisis has been so much more devastating in this country than in Europe.

Vickie Shabo, a senior fellow for Paid Leave Policy and Strategy at the Better Life Lab, part of the progressive advocacy group New America, told HuffPost: "This [study] shows why Congress has to act with haste to extend and expand the [emergency benefit] and why we need a national permanent paid sick days law."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·


'Texans Deserved Better Than This': Supreme Court Leaves Abortion Ban in Place

The nation's high court set a date to hear a pair of legal challenges to the "horrific" restrictions.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like It Never Happened': Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished "the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo