[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]
Before going further, let’s take a look at the weather by the numbers.
COVID-19 confirmed cases: 5,064,072 — new cases confirmed at a rate of 55,000/day
COVID-19 deaths: 162,623 — new deaths at a rate of 1,000/day
Unemployed: 31.3 million people were receiving some form of unemployment compensation as of Friday.
Evictions: 23 million people nationwide are at risk of being evicted or are now at some state of eviction.
This is Hurricane COVID-19, continuing to wreak havoc not on any one or two coastal states but the entire nation.
Imagine an enormous hurricane wiping out the lives of more than 162,000 Americans spread across every state.
Imagine a storm so big it destroys housing for AT LEAST 23 million Americans — at least, because this number may not include the affected family members.
Imagine a hurricane wiping out food for millions of children, many of whom rely on getting at least one meal a day from school.
This is not a single three-day blow with a limited range and a one-time demand for economic resources.
This ongoing hurricane will require everything we can throw at it for the next 12 to 18 months — until a vaccine and/or drug therapy can be developed, tested, approved, and distributed.
Concerns about fiscal restraint have NO place in the face of this rolling disaster. This is not a situation where reflexive conservative retrenchment to anti-tax small government will work.
Reflexive conservative decision-making has already failed this nation.
This includes stupidity like Sen. Ted Cruz’s nasty sarcasm on Twitter demeaning the most vulnerable in our society, the working poor and the dwindling middle class, tweeting, “Why be so cheap? Give everyone $1 million a day, every day, forever. And three soy lattes a day. And a foot massage.”
Say that to the faces of families who’ve lost love ones, families wondering how they’ll keep a roof over their heads, or parents who wonder how they’ll feed their kids today and tomorrow — honest, hard-working Americans who’ve lost their jobs only because Trump and his political party have failed to take action necessary to stem COVID-19.
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We’ve had more than a day to digest the White House’s feeble attempt to change the subject and redirect attention away from the GOP-led Senate’s refusal to meet to hammer out a rational economic aid package.
The Democratic Party-led House made a good faith effort to project what Americans would need based on conditions they saw and passed the HEROES Act in mid-May.
It has been sitting, waiting for the GOP-led Senate to catch up; it took TEN WEEKS to come up with a counter in the form of the HEALS Act, offering only a third of the aid HEROES Act offered while stuffed with gifts to donors and spending pork.
Democrats have been able to see this pandemic for what it is, with clear eyes. If they’ve failed it’s for lack of imagination when it comes to the obstinacy of the opposition party when it comes to facing reality.
If Democrats have failed it’s for assuming Republicans would hit bottom and eventually do the right thing.
But they haven’t. The Republicans have ensured that aid to date has been corrupted with lack of oversight and accountability, doled out to political supporters.
~ ~ ~
The White House knows things are going to get worse. They are not only unwilling to deal with the challenges accumulating over the last two months under Hurricane COVID-19, they are unwilling to plan ahead for a worsening crisis they have fomented.
Instead, inadequately qualified chief of staff Mark Meadows thinks more PR will fix the COVID crisis.
The administration has refused to work toward an effective national strategy though one is possible as other countries have proven. Their refusal is deepening the emergency.
Instead of working in good faith, they let their Bronx Colors boss spew more lies — Trump told reporters last evening that the Democrats had called, “…They’d like to get together” — when the truth is neither Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer called.
Today Mnuchin indicated he wants a deal:
… Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, on a conference call with governors on Monday, said action by Congress remains the administration’s “first choice.”
Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence urged the governors to reach out to congressional leaders and push for legislation, according to audio of the call obtained by AP. …
Mnuchin needs to get on the phone and call his GOP peeps in the Senate, not state governors. The governors are over a barrel and need the money the House Democrats have already allocated $915 billion in direct federal aid to state and local government in the HEROES Act they passed more than two months ago.
It’s NOT the Democrats who are the problem and the states know it.
Jesus Christ, what a bunch of hacks working for this administration. They just don’t get it; they are unable to lead in the face of this massive ongoing catastrophe.
~ ~ ~
This is the threshold of an economic depression the likes of which this country has never seen. We don’t have anywhere near as much agriculture as we had in the 1930s during the Great Depression; many families simply eked by if they could keep their farms (though they did have different forms of federal assistance from a more competent government).
We are a service economy now and people can’t afford services which aren’t absolutely essential. They can’t afford the risk of services which put them in contact with other people too closely. Re-opening businesses like gyms and hair salons and restaurants doesn’t make the risks go away, nor does it change the fact most of us have had to reduce our spending because we may or have already lost our jobs.
Invest in the care of the Americans who need it. They will plow that money back into the economy. It keeps the rest of the economy moving until a vaccine or a drug therapy is available.
Failing to do this simple thing — take care of the American people by ensuring domestic Tranquility, providing for the common defense of their homes, promoting the general Welfare until we can beat back the disease — is like failing to heed the forecast of this massive Hurricane COVID-19 once again.
This is an open thread.