Trump’s Math & Direction Are Wrong
One of my fellow retirees complained this week about the “uncertain times,” an expression I have learned to hate. Thank you, COVID-19. My friend’s gripe came from losing vast sums of his retirement fund in the last 30 days. I suggested he just wait for this process to play out, then he sarcastically barked, “Oh, I lose $75K and they send me a check for $1,200, how does that help?”
Donald Trump knows that if he cannot get our economy back into shape soon, the drama and crisis will stretch right into his campaign and turn him into a one-term president. Our president lives for the stage and spotlight. He can talk endlessly about any subject you throw at him, but he fails to clear away a clutter of issues that not only don’t matter but also don’t bring any clarity to the subject at hand. He is surrounded by very smart people but, as he himself has said, his metric is what’s in his head. Must we fear his gut more than the virus itself?
Yes, we must reopen the country. We must get the wheels of industry turning again and bring people back to work. The main thrust of this article is not about Donald Trump. It’s about a positive plan to help America heal, both medically and financially. American needs a big, simple solution. This could be it.
A few days ago, I tweeted to our governor here in Florida: “@GovRonDeSantis
Here is an idea. Take this company, https://tervis.com and have them test all their employees to see if they can reopen. Then disclose the data to WH and FLORIDA. They have 312 employees and that would be a great research idea. @RoganDonelly” This is the company that makes those tumbler-type plastic and aluminum mugs. Mr. Donelly is their President and they temporarily closed their factory in my neighborhood.
To reopen the country, we will need to be smarter and do more testing, much more testing. During a recent task force briefing, Donald Trump swatted away the suggestion of testing everyone in America. Why? Well, he sees everything in terms of 1. Costs 2. The need to reopen as soon as possible and 3. How #1 and #2 will affect him. He has feebly distanced himself from this terrible crisis by refusing to take any responsibility, while constantly serving up an ever-changing litany of blame.
President Trump obviously fails to understand the true purpose of certain laws. This article on the Politico web site caught my eye, Trump Is Using the Defense Production Act All Wrong. Trump doesn’t seem to understand the purchase guaranteeing built into the DPA, which can motivate companies to move faster and produce more for less. Why is the government choosing companies to produce critically needed items without any knowledge about their factory’s ability to retool? I hope the Trump family isn’t benefiting in any way by these moves. During the Korean War, the DPA made it easy for President Truman to tap companies like Jeep in Toledo. Since they were deeply involved in WWII production of vehicles, getting them involved made perfect sense.
Ford and GM are fine companies and I am sure they will do their best producing face shields, but the idea that they could retool quickly to make a complex ventilator is naïve. There are probably many smaller, more nimble US companies that could have mastered the task easily, but without a master plan and massive coordination, they wouldn’t know what to make. We just don’t make stuff in America like we used to.
There is some history of mass testing in communities having worked out well. According to Forbes magazine, “from October 2018 onward, either genome or serology tests were performed on the majority of Egyptians 12 and over: a total of 65 million people. Although the main goal was to reduce rates of hepatitis C infection — Egypt had the highest in the world at the time — testing was also conducted for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.” Egypt became the first country in the world to eliminate hepatitis C. Remarkable! See what a military dictatorship can achieve? Now there’s a rich irony, my friends.
We get that Trump was trying to help local hospitals with personal protective equipment, but as we flatten the curve the government needs to shift into the next use of the DPA. Trump should use his bully routine to make companies like Abbott Laboratories and Roche, both were involved in the Egyptian effort, to manufacture millions of test kits for the virus and tests for antibodies. He can do through use of the DPA, but should the companies balk they could be threatened with the nationalization of medical testing, FOREVER! Can you believe that after writing one million words against Trump I am suggesting he use more of his office’s power to do the right thing? IMPORTANT NOTE: Trump should not be the person to negotiate the deal; he’s lousy at deal making. Egypt negotiated the price of the tests down to 50 cents a pop. Roche wanted to charge $5 a test. Our current testing of each person for COVID-19 is $20 or more. Read my lips: PROFIT TAKING.
After millions and millions of tests are produced, the CDC must offer them to every company wanting to get back to business. The company will pay for the tests and their HR department will keep the records. As my mother always said, “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.” Under this plan, the president would sign an executive order that no place of business can reopen until everyone who will work at the location has been tested and cleared to work. Much like the healthcare workers at some doctor’s offices have stickers that show they have had a flu-shot, we could have a sticker stating, “I’ve already had it.”
There is a dark and damning issue that Trump keeps denying. He knows that if we test more people, the number of coronavirus cases will soar. He doesn’t want those figures blasted across every media outlet. The President needs to understand that his decision could unnecessarily kill many more people if he moves too quickly with reopening the country. We’ve already thrown more than $4 trillion dollars at this calamity and testing every American just might be cheaper than reopening too soon only to have to shut down again should cases multiply. That would surely lead to a collapse of the world’s economy. Testing everyone would perhaps cost about a billion dollars. We’ve spent more than that already. Paying people to stay home when we could test them and get them back to work is foolish. Will Trump get it? Will he make the right call? Now I’m afraid of two things, the virus and the prospect of a poor plan from the president.
If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.