The Federal Government Needs to Get Off Its Ass

Kevin Drum

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I suspect that many people still don’t get quite how bad the coronavirus pandemic is likely to get. President Trump has a big soapbox, and he continues with the happy talk on a daily basis. Experts try to walk back his nonsense, but even they’re reluctant to tell the bald truth. Is this the right thing to do? Maybe. Avoiding panic is good, after all, and the bald truth would most likely do little except increase sales at gun shops even more.

Right now, New York City is the canary in the coal mine. Whatever happens there over the next month is most likely what will happen to the rest of the country in the month or two after that. Even if we’re successful in flattening the curve a little bit, that won’t change the eventual rate of infection or the number of deaths. It just spreads it out a bit.

Meanwhile, the federal government continues to dither and refuse to take charge, and Republicans in Congress refuse to pass a bill that will keep worker income flowing and get makeshift hospital beds built. What the hell are these people thinking? The business bailout will be needed, but it can wait. Right now we need to mobilize, and we need to do it right now.

Best guesses right now:

  • 40-50 percent of country infected by June.
  • Half a million deaths.
  • 10-20 million people basically broke. Maybe a lot more.

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