Thoughts on Events the Week of March 23

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 29, 2020

Coulda, shoulda woulda: We are in one hell of a crisis right now, the kind that only a national response from the federal government can address. Sadly, this particular administration is egregiously unsuited to the task. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this administration couldn’t help an old lady across the street with a green light. Hell, they wouldn’t even want to.

However, intellectual honesty requires we acknowledge that however incapable President Trump is, there are also other reasons we are in such physical and financial peril today that go back further than Trump, things we should have been addressing for years and chose not to do. These failures are now biting us on the butt.

First, we have been shaving back the staffing and competence of our federal government for decades. Trump is not the first to do this, only the worst. As the country has grown our government has been shrinking inversely. One of our political parties wants it that way.

And, despite all the conservative happy talk, the government has been growing and not in a good way. Layer upon layer of incompetence. Look no further than the FDA, which should be front line with the best and is not.

However, the prize goes to the Department of Homeland Security, an idea which only Dubbya could have been talked into, that added a spectacularly huge and bloated layer on our intelligence services without, I submit, much to show for it. We went for a show of quantity instead of quality.

Second, we have been pissing away money on scandalously wasteful priorities: Senseless wars, bloated military, giveaways to already rich plutocrats and debt service to pay for our irresponsible borrowing.

The Trump administration has been particularly egregious in this regard. It borrowed more than a trillion dollars, probably closer to two, and gave it to the richest of us. Now, we could really use that money and it’s not there.

John Maynard Keynes said we should deficit spend in times of want and pay the deficit down in times of plenty. Politicians remember the first part but ignore the second part. Since World War II, the only president to follow both parts of the dictum was Bill Clinton, who was smart enough to use the windfall he enjoyed from the bubble to balance the budget. Contrary to dire warnings, it helped the economy enormously. 

The fact is, Americans want a whole lot of things but don’t want to pay for them, and politicians don’t have the courage to tell us the truth. It’s easier to borrow. We borrow about half of what we spend every year. That’s a disastrous way to manage a budget.

Finally, the government squandered our trust in it. It’s worse than that really. I trace the steep loss of trust back to President Reagan, who told us we shouldn’t trust the government. Conservatives have been echoing that canard ever since and the trust has eroded commensurately.   

Actually, I lay much of the blame for this on Nancy Reagan, considering that the president wasn’t present during his second term, due to Alzheimer’s and Nancy was in charge.

Let them get back to work: Channeling Marie Antoinette, Trump and his economic and political advisors (where does he find these crazies?), advocated – and have since walked back due to outrage, not wisdom – sending people back to work on or about Easter Sunday, in effect prioritizing the economy over human life. This thinking is not only twisted, but misguided, because it wouldn’t resurrect the economy.

Most people, who tend to prefer life, wouldn’t go back to work, and those who did would soon be sick and incapacitated. The economy would collapse anyway and without an economy or federal support, many people would become desperate and bad things would happen. They would certainly take it out on Trump. Wait a minute! Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.  

Cure v Problem? Discuss?: President Trump says he does not want the cure for Covid-19 to be worse than the disease. Well, Covid-19 sickens and kills people. What cure is worse than that?  Personally, I would rather be alive and broke than rich and dead.

Trump is obviously more concerned about the stock market than American citizens. If my 401K is seriously depleted and Covid-19 and Trump are gone, I will consider it a successful political contribution and live with it.

Trump’s guiding characteristics: We all know that our president likes authoritarian leaders, and that, like Miniver Cheevy about the Medici’s, he longs to be one. But at this moment in time, he has authority to deal with Covid-19, but he is not using it aggressively or wisely. So, in addition to his being a narcissist and a sociopath, he is also a coward.

Sudden thought: Could we quarantine Trump and put New York Governor Cuomo in charge for 14 days? We’d be in a lot better shape.

Worst state: Texas gets the cup this week, because Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says at-risk senior citizens (of which I’m) should be willing to die if it will save the country. Note to Patrick: These are not mutually exclusive choices, or even legitimate choices at all. And by the way, Patrick, kiss my rosy red rectum, you disgusting pig part.

Patrick is what passes for a leader in Texas, which is what is the matter with Texas.

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