Wealth Over Health: It’s Not Just a Trump Thing

A couple weeks ago, some people criticized United States President Donald Trump for trying to get the United States back to work, which would have defied what public health experts were (and still are) recommending about practices such as social isolation. Some friends and media have expressed shock at the president’s attitude toward the coronavirus, even dubbing it as a “wealth over health” type of attitude.

While I was angered and dismayed that Trump took such a dangerous attitude toward the coronavirus, I also recognize that attitudes similar to Trump’s, attitudes about prioritizing wealth and/or other results over health, is painfully common in society.

I’ve heard horror stories of people in numerous industries feeling that they have to sacrifice their health in favor of the bottom line. Some of my friends and acquaintances in the financial sector have told me stories of how they are expected to stay up late doing work, and then get up at ungodly hours of the morning to see how stock markets open in the Far East or in Europe. I have friends in government tell me about working 16-hour days, often at the sacrifice of self-care (both physically and mentally). I have friends in the nonprofit sector tell me about the work (as rewarding as it may be in certain cases) being so draining that it’s harmful to their physical and mental health. I’ve had friends in the business world who’ve encountered bosses who would work their employees until they are beyond ragged, all in the name of making every last dollar possible.

In summary, prioritizing wealth over health (whatever “wealth” may be, whether that’s money or certain other results) is not just a Trump thing. It’s an issue in many parts of American society, and Trump is only the most famous representative of the wealth-over-health attitude that exists in so many places.

So, if you think Trump’s attitude about the coronavirus was dangerous (I, for one, thought it was), don’t just get angry at Trump. Look at so many of the people around us, and as you look around, see whether some of those people have a Trump-like attitude about work.[1] You might be surprised—a Trump-like attitude about wealth over personal health is a lot more common than many of us realize.

[1] I’ve generally been lucky to have bosses who didn’t ask me to prioritize wealth over health. I am grateful for that. I know some who are not so lucky.

10 Replies to “Wealth Over Health: It’s Not Just a Trump Thing”

      1. True, but it’s not that he’s famous or not famous that’s the issue, it’s that he’s employing that ethic, or lack thereof, in determining the future of all Americans, not just those more concerned with their own wealth than the health of their fellow citizens.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I have worked for companies large and small that have placed so-called profit first and as an employee you do not feel valued and after awhile some people’s work ethic changes. They don’t care about me so why should I work myself to the bone for them. I will say that since I am a retailer it is an industry that has always treated it’s employees as disposable which leads society to think of retail employees as disposable even now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have gotten the sense that retail is one of those industries where the approach is profit-first.

      The irony of retail employees being treated as disposable (at least for me) is that now, retail employees are essential for us getting through this current crisis.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True but as I have personally experienced most of the public think that retail employees are not that bright and are only working because it is the last . Someone once told me it wasn’t brain surgery after all, I told them it was if you know how to do it right. I went to college for retail and was in the industry in one form or another for my entire working life and I never felt respected by my employers and very few customers. Now that retail people are considered essential you would think that peoples attitudes would change, but not that I have seen.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also true.

        Also, I’ve never worked in retail, but it sounds like there’s a lot about retail that you don’t understand unless you work in it (and that retail work has its own challenges that many of us do not understand or appreciate)? Maybe that lack of understanding is a part of why retail people are not getting the respect they deserve, even during these times?

        Liked by 1 person

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