Elections Have Consequences

Monday, the Dow fell 1000 points due to fears of Coronavirus contagion. Yesterday,  it continued to decline–to the tune of more than 800 points.. News outlets are suggesting that fears of a worldwide pandemic have dramatically increased the likelihood of a global recession.

According to one business publication (lost the link), what begins in China doesn’t stay in China.

As the COVID-19 outbreak disrupts economic activity – owing partly to the unprecedented quarantining of huge subsets of the population – there is reason to expect a sharp slowdown this year, with growth falling significantly below last year’s official rate of 6.1%. During the recent meeting of G20 finance ministers, the IMF downgraded its growth forecast for China to 5.6% for 2020 – its lowest level since 1990.

This could hamper global growth considerably, because the world economy is more dependent on China than ever. In 2003, China constituted only 4% of global GDP; today, that figure stands at 17% (at current exchange rates).

If the grim forecasts prove accurate, it will cost the economy a great deal more than Donald J. Trump “saved” by summarily terminating a promising research project aimed at predicting and minimizing pandemics (he undoubtedly terminated it simply because the Obama administration supported it.)

 The Hill recently reminded readers of Trump’s ongoing attacks on healthcare and medical research.

Last year Trump shut down a federal program called Predict that was established ten years ago as a response to the H5N1 bird flu outbreaks. Predict investigated and provided surveillance of infectious diseases and viruses, studied and discovered new diseases that are able to jump from animals to humans, developed testing to detect these viruses, and trained “medical detectives” on the ground across the globe. This federal ability to avert pandemics is now mostly gone, making our ability to contain diseases worldwide significantly more difficult.

Figuring out how to contain potential pandemics is obviously a high priority for rational public servants. In addition to concerns about public health, the specter of contagious disease tends to have a significant impact on economic activity, because fear causes healthy people to avoid traveling, shopping, and even going to work.

In 2018, federal public health workers had their paychecks slashed because of alleged “government delays” in setting up a payment system Congress had ordered and allocated money for years ago. Following the pay cuts — which were eventually restored, but still caused significantly and understandably decreased morale in the service corps — Trump announced that he would be cutting nearly 40 percent of the uniformed federal public health professionals who are deployed to disease outbreaks, natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

A beleaguered, demoralized and reduced U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will cripple our ability to respond to Coronavirus and other diseases like it. Overall, Trump is proposing to cut the doctors, nurses, engineers and public health professionals working for the federal government from 6,500 officers to “no more than 4,000 officers.”

There’s more–much more–as The Hill concluded.

Trump is also proposing drastic cuts this year to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health — key federal agencies that research and respond to public health emergencies — including a $838 million cut to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A proposed $2.6 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency would eliminate crucial programs that address climate change, which would be detrimental to public health as rapidly warming environments create petri dishes for the spread of viruses, and would also cut programs that monitor and restore water quality.

These cuts are unacceptable in the face of a growing global public health emergency.

It’s no wonder the Health and Services Resources Administration is in a panic and scrambling to develop an adequate response to the growing Coronavirus health emergency. A constant barrage of cuts, deterioration, weakening and outright elimination of America’s historically robust public health infrastructure has made us vulnerable.

While Coronavirus is our current concern, we should always be prepared to deal with public health concerns…. The Trump administration’s insistence on cutting programs that keep us healthy not only put people living in the United States at risk — it makes the world more dangerous for everyone.

The Trump administration should immediately reverse cuts to critical federal agencies in order to protect public health worldwide, and Congress should allocate more funds to combatting the current virus of concern.

Meanwhile, as we have starved the agencies that work to keep us safe and/or healthy, Trump’s payments to farmers–necessitated by the damage caused by his idiotic tariffs–now total twice as much as the automobile bailout. (And don’t get me started on what his incessant golf outings and children’s extravagant travel have cost us.)

Yesterday, from Fantasyland, Trump pooh-poohed concerns, and assured the world that America has it all under control.

Voting for an ignoramus because he resents the same people you do can really get expensive….

42 thoughts on “Elections Have Consequences

  1. Is the $1 billion a start? Can he appoint a czar for the virus? It’s sad these decisions have been made. I’m still hooping Amy Klobuchar gets the nomination.

  2. Calm down…. your hyperbolic comments are so predictable. Take advantage of the stock market’s “temporary” decline – it’s a buying opportunity.
    Trump’s not trying to kill all the old, vulnerable liberals . You know they eat bats in China right?
    The flu has more risk than the coronavirus. Liberal hysteria isn’t going to take Trump down. The Dems are in self-destruction mode and Joe Biden thinks he’s running for the Senate. Poor man – someone really needs to “help” him.

  3. But, but,but…Trump said he has “tightly contained” the coronavirus in this country. Did he deny it entry or plan to build another wall; whatever his “tightly contained” safety measure meant the virus is here and spreading in Texas. And Texas is a Republican Trump supporting state; how could that happen under his watch?

    And what use is planned for the money he has asked Congress to provide? Success or failure is found in the details and we have no idea if there are any details to “tightly contain” or how to use the billions requested “for” the coronavirus. At this point we don’t even know if there are staff members remaining anywhere in this government to provide details and guidance. Maybe Trump will send Border Patrol Agents to aid ICE in this containment issue.

  4. “Figuring out how to contain potential pandemics is obviously a high priority for rational public servants” the key word here is “rational.” That explains everything.

    Isn’t it interesting that a few thousand people have died, but the headlines pertain to drop in the stock markets?

  5. He will lie about the market & claim its decline is fake news. He will lie about how he’s crippled public health measures the same way he touts his protection of preexisting conditions while suing to gut them. Faux News will repeat his lies to his credulous base and they will believe their king, facts be damned.

  6. The pandemic prevention and action agencies were created by Obama’s administration to control the Ebola scare too. So, naturally, if Obama did it, it has to be bad and therefore eliminated. Trump will blame everyone for him doing these things but himself.

    Remember, 85% of the stocks are owned by less than 25% of the people in this country.

  7. survival of the fittest….children and elderly die off first, the survivors are so thankful for their life, they don’t care who their king is

  8. Dismantling Federal Agencies has long been the wet dream of the conservative movement in this country. It’s no surprise that so many people on the right applaud these actions. It’s just too bad that, when their chickens come home to roost, they will roost with everyone, not just conservatives.

  9. Pascal – Your interesting observation on what is interesting and my response > It is not surprising that dead people take a back seat to opportunities for (weakly taxed) profits in the stock market, one of the underlying products of capitalism, where acquisition of assets reigns supreme, even over life itself. Thus the pharmaceutical industry is working 25 hours a day to come up with a cure/vaccine for COVID-19. Let’s hope the winner is not Eli Lilly with its corporate mindset that set the price of insulin (and literally killed people).

    Such inhumane corporate conduct tempts one to consider Bernie a right winger with a proposal for nationalization of the industry. GRRRRR!

  10. trumps kids want to go hunting and own guns,maybe they could lead a army to kill the coronavirus,
    trumps research cuts,he should now lead the way on how to fight the virus, by getting it himself..
    mcconnel remains silent,and should be quarantined. his silence is killing people,everywhere.
    we have a republican clan,called,coronavirus..
    joking aside,we are in a state of emergency again,and hes playing golf…this is what wall street is all about,and if we, should make a shot to stop this,it will be unaffordable because theres profit to be gain.
    when the hell is this shit gonna stop…

  11. Jack,

    There is NO chance of this shit stopping until the Republican party is destroyed completely and replaced with un-corrupted conservatives. I know that’ a stretch these days, but the first step is to destroy them utterly in November’s elections.

  12. And, in case you missed it, the Administration/Regency just rolled back protections for workers at franchises and actually put in further restrictions, especially against unionizing.

    It is the stuff that is not on the front pages (or in Tweets) that is a real virus to our democracy.

  13. Vernon,
    “Remember, 85% of the stocks are owned by less than 25% of the people in this country.”

    Sorry Charlie, but over 55% of Americans are invested in some way in the stock market.

    What say you?

  14. Gail,

    I’d say you do slanted research. The 85% by 25% has to do with dollars invested in the market.

    What say you?

  15. Gail,

    In case your glasses broke, the name is Vernon, not Charlie. Save that for your Tuna-like pals.

  16. Gail,

    “What say you?”

    Vernon can speak for himself. However, it sounds like to me you’re starting to panic. And you have good reason to do so. That “jerk” in the White House will lose his hold on the public at the same rate as the stock market declines.

    “Fools are created every minute.” How do you see yourself? Take a good look in the mirror.

  17. Ironically, it is the Tobin Tax and wealth tax proposed by Warren that may save capitalism as we know it, a view that would be categorically denied by the Murdoch-owned WSJ. Terminal capitalists may be writing their own obituary with their steadfast opposition to a more equitable sharing of the income and wealth produced by our economy (as though financiers are the sole stakeholders of our economy), thus we see the rise in support of such as Bernie, AOC, and other Social Democrats (misnamed as socialists).

    If capitalism as presently practiced is destroyed in this country it will not be due to the Bernies and AOCs of this world, who are merely calling attention to this misshapen distribution of the wealth and income of our economy. Such former capitalists can look in the mirror for the culprits, who ignored the old adage that “A tree that will not bend in the wind, breaks.”

  18. Lester,

    “It is the stuff that is not on the front pages (or in Tweets) that is a real virus to our democracy.”

    The November election is of utmost importance but we’re dealing with a Virus of the Mind, which Trump has been exploiting from the start. See The Political Epidemiology Institute at http://www.StrategicPower.org.

    Containment of the Virus of the Mind, which is a new strain of what has been called in the past THE HITLER VIRUS, will have to be dealt with in addition to the caronovirus, if we will
    be able to salvage any remnants of our democracy, within the free-fall we’re now going to experience. Right now they’re moving in tandem. The important thing is not to PANIC.

  19. Gerald – the Tobin Tax proposed in Europe was never really implemented. Why? As usual, the folks intended to pay it would just create workaround after workaround requiring ongoing “whack a mole” not worth the effort:

    https://oecdobserver.org/news/archivestory.php/aid/664/Tobin_tax:_could_it_work__.html

    As for taxing “wealth”, there are many studies that show the American people DO favor taxing money that you earn, but NOT money that you already have.

  20. Just think the Broadway play: “Les Miserables,” as a reality starter. Then we can proceed to something more tangible like: P.E.I.S.[PEACE] SYSTEMS in order to defend on both fronts.

  21. As I recall, and has been commented on before on this blog, Barack Obama said quite emphatically, elections have consequences. Now he was privy to a lot of information that’s leaking out now, and how much of a disruptor the current POTUS is. That being said, when one is delusional, as in a very stable genius, one starts to believe that they are a genius, when in actuality, HE is genius gene less!

    You can almost put this current POTUS his head on Nero’s body, fiddle in his hand as Rome, err the world burns.

    The wealthy can catch a virus just as easily as the poor, as a matter of fact, the poor might be better able to fight illness because those that are hyper clean, do a disservice to their immune system! They are more susceptible to illnesses that others have an immunity towards. Kind of nature’s way of culling the stable geniuses.

    My wife had regular contact with the CDC, the FDA, NASA, the DOD, and DHS. She retired about 5 years ago, the reason that there was so much contact, was to make sure vaccines were in the pipeline for current and future outbreaks. Also, that vaccines that were not available for specific viruses, were in rushed development. She worked for the molecular division of an extremely large pharmaceutical company, she managed the training center where all of the government employees would come to be trained and informed on the newest developments and newest equipment. Her former boss spoke to her not long ago, the government had canceled all training and information sharing. Why? There was no cost to the government, but this expanded greatly under the previous president Barack Obama. The pettiness of the current POTUS is more than just astounding, it’s going to cause great pain before he’s finished.

  22. Vernon, Marv, Charlie:
    Panic ? Are you kidding me?
    I’ve had cash on the sidelines just waiting for a dip to be invested in my mutual fund. You know, I’m planning for my own retirement. Meanwhile, you all are “praying” for disaster hoping it will sink Trump. Dream on boys!

  23. Mark my words, heads at the Center for Disease Control are going to roll. The director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, was appointed by Trump in 2018. The CDC is trying to warn Americans about the coronavirus. The rest of the Trump administration is trying to say there is nothing to be worried about…no big deal. The stock market though, as Sheila points out, has taken a major hit.

    If Trump remains true to form, his response will be to target the messenger that is spreading the bad news. Remember what happened to those people who dared to respond to subpoenas to testify truthfully to Congress about what Trump did with respect to Ukraine? Fired or reassigned. Same thing will happen with the CDC.

  24. Dear Gail: Coronavirus is several times more deadly than the flu. That is a statistical fact. You need to stop watching Fox News and listening to Trump, who lies all of the time. He claims, for instance, that the virus will be gone by April. There’s no evidence that this is the case. I suspect you also listen to Rush Limbaugh, who claimed, a couple of days ago, that the COVID-19 was a plot by Democrats to bring down Trump and make him look bad.

  25. Anarchists (Trumpublicans) offer the country a single choice: future generations pay for lives today through debt and passing on unsolved problems.

    Liberals offer wide choices among several candidates to replace Trump. The choices boil down to the rate of investment in bringing about a future adapted to the reality that is and is coming. They are based on the belief that solving problems by employing the best of human knowledge (estimated now to be doubling every year) to eliminate/reduce problems is cheaper than paying the cost of them.

    There are many WAGs being thrown out by both side about the actual numbers because nobody really knows without the details of plans processed through a great deal of expertise. We’ll have to decide mostly by judgement rather than specifics.

  26. Lester – I think there are many ways of assuring collection of the Tobin Tax and that attempts to the contrary can be handled by legislation and regulations promulgated under such legislation I am also told that a majority of voters approve of Warren’s wealth tax, and that a wealth tax is approved by the eminent economists Stiglitz and Piketty, though Piketty expressed some reservations in re collection if such a tax were not universal, a situation Warren seems to have remedied in her proposal.

    I favor both taxes since they would only apply to those best able to pay them, would have negligible effect on the poor and middle class, and would provide badly needed income to government for the funding of important initiatives in education, healthcare, child care etc.

  27. Gerald – WADR, there are a number of ways to hit ONLY the rich via taxing:

    Lower estate tax exemption limit and fix “stepped up” loophole
    End “carried interest” and real estate 101 exchange loopholes
    Only allow large deductions for charitable donations when the money is spent
    Tax more capital gains as ordinary income
    Increase maximum earnings for paying FICA
    No mortgage interest deduction for more than 2 homes
    Do not allow U.S. corporations to “defer” their U.S. taxes on offshore profits

  28. Gail,

    Good to hear that you’re planning your own retirement. No doubt there is nobody in your life who would plan it for you. Perhaps you should invest in MAGA hats for 2021. Buy low, sell high.

  29. Paul @ 12:12 pm , you maybe underestimating The Trumpet. There is always the Sharpie that can be deployed to show the Virus is confined to Liberal California.

    The gang of Trumpets will applaud The Trumpet at his next big rally, for his courageous fight against Deep State Virus that threatens the Stock Market.

  30. Right you are, Lester, and I would if I were Chair of Ways and Means look at all of them, especially the carried interest provision that is a pure giveaway to hedge and equity fund interests. All of these and more, including the 1031 section of the code, should be looked at, but what I am writing about today is a new tax. The fact that alternatives to revenue gathering are available is not within today’s topic, which is rather establishment of a new tax that will provide substantial revenue to government to fund important initiatives.

  31. OK – let me start with COVID19 – I am not an epidemiologist, but I am a biological scientist – When they were still arguing if AIDS was caused by HIV, I made five predictions about AIDS – they were all correct. I am not claiming to be a genius, I was just taught to reason from first principles.

    I will not make predictions about COVID19 because we don’t know enough about it, but from what we do know, it does seem likely that (1) it is going to spread a lot more than we thought, (2) it will probably turn out to be less deadly than we think as more mild cases are detected, and (3) it is possible that a working vaccine will eventually be found (it seems not to mutate much). With that said, remember that “lower fatality rate” doesn’t mean not deadly. Also, working vaccine doesn’t mean it will be found soon and after we do devise a vaccine, it may start to mutate making the vaccine less effective.

    Mike Pence is in charge of our response – why does that not surprise me, but does worry me?

    Peggy – you are so right about the conservative’s desire to dismantle the government. The order from the Trump administration is clear as well
    any agency that can hurt Trump
    any agency that can contradict Trump
    anything that Obama liked

    After that, the rest of the government – if the private sector could do it for profit, dismantle it and give it to them – if it isn’t profitable, just plain dismantle it.

    What to leave behind?
    a Justice Department to prosecute enemies of Glorious Leader
    military for big parades, big profits and big bombs (we like things that go boom)
    Um, that should do it.

    Of course, Trump hates science – not only is it true whether or not you believe it (thank you, Neil deGrasse Tyson), but its truth has a “liberal” tilt – anthropogenic climate change is real, the earth is an oblate spheroid and not flat, etc.

  32. The idiots that voted for Trump and the idiots who didn’t vote at all, owe the rest of us a huge apology!!!!
    I am so angry I can hardly see straight!

  33. Gail —
    Are you a real person or a Russian bot?
    Stick to a venue that suits your stupid and hateful thinking like FAUX news!! Quit trolling a blog where thinking people engage in meaningful dialogue.
    To think Dems “want” a virus to kill millions around the world just to take down an evil ne’er do well is so sick and hateful, it’s unbelievable.
    Enjoy your stay at the CPAP!

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