Saturday, February 29, 2020

M-M-M-My Corona

When you've been anti-science for most of your administration, then science is going to eventually catch up to you. And when you've based your entire agenda on tweets that say little more than things are great, then when things get not so great, it will catch up to you.

And it has.

The president and his allies have politicized the Coronavirus to the point that he now owns everything about it, including our health, its effect on the stock market, consumer confidence, and his administration's emergency response abilities. So far, the virus has not spread beyond a few cases, but viruses don't belong to political parties, nor are they Democratic Socialists. What is true today could be entirely different tomorrow. I hope that means that things will get better, but like most of the president's efforts, I can't say that I am confident in  his abilities to manage a volatile situation. He creates one heck of a volatile situation, but managing? Prove me wrong.

I can't say that I'm any more secure in the knowledge that Mike Pence is in charge of the anti-virus efforts. Here's a man who, as Governor of Indiana, had to pray for two days before approving a needle exchange program to curb the spread of HIV. Say what you want about my lack of religious faith, but when it comes to saving lives, especially of those who can spread deadly diseases, I don't need more than a few minutes to make my decision. It's part of my heathen charm.

And this is why I'm suspicious of the anti-science, religious crowd. I understand that Pence didn't approve of drug users, but essentially thinking about letting some die because they were leading immoral lives is unacceptable. Remember that even the patron saint of the GOP, Ronald Reagan, waited five years before acknowledging AIDS. Millions of people died while he dithered and refused to listen to his science guy, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, and ignored warnings that this could spread to other populations aside form gay men. And it did.

So you'll excuse me if I do not ultimately trust the instincts of the even-more religious people in the presidents orbit. This is not divine retribution. It's a virus. By all means, pray for its demise and for the health of humans everywhere, but I don't want to hear that Mike Pence or Mick Mulvaney or Mike Pompeo are using anything but science to defeat it.

As for the economy, the stock market is reflecting the seriousness of the outbreak on the global supply chain and corporate profits, but the real story is Mick Mulvaney's plea for more immigrants. It's one thing to control the border; it's quite another to ignore decades of data that shows how much the United States depends upon immigrant labor for the growth of our economy. In many parts of the country, including New York, immigrants have provided the only growth in the population. The president's immigration policies, but more significantly, his rhetoric about the evils of immigration will be his, and our, undoing. The economy is creating jobs, but if there aren't enough employees, then all kinds of nasty things will happen including an inflationary spiral as dollars chase a limited supply of workers.

Economics is a science, no? And we know how this administration loves science.

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