On Monday, President Donald Trump proposed a series of emergency measures including expanded sick leave and a temporary payroll tax cut as a means of preventing an economic free fall and to lessen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes as the stock market continues to plummet to levels not seen in decades, as oil prices teeter toward frightening lows and as more people worldwide begin to anticipate an inevitable recession.
Trump has proclaimed that the U.S. boasts a very strong economy but that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus and the speed with which it has spread around the globe and infected or caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands “blindsided the world.”
The president certainly stated the truth by saying America was caught with its pants down. But he failed to include that he downplayed the potential catastrophe almost from the start or that he attempted to outthink his own advisors whose medical expertise should not have been ignored.
Perhaps we could have prepared earlier. Perhaps the Centers for Disease Control could have initiated a more effective strategy when reports first came from China – had they not been already dealing with a budget that has been sliced and diced by President Trump since he first took office.
Perhaps, despite what officials first stated, we may finally have an adequate number of testing kits for the ready as more and more Americans find themselves exhibiting symptoms related to those infected by coronavirus and are anxious to know if they’re sick and should be placed in quarantine.
But what we should not readily believe is Trump’s assertion that he can reverse current or potential economic upheaval by playing with taxes or other sleight-of-hand economic parlor games. As the saying goes, “you can’t fool Mother Nature.”
In truth, the longer the coronavirus continues to impact America and other countries, particularly comparable economic giants like China, Japan, leading European nations including the now-paralyzed Italian province and others like oil-rich Saudi Arabia, the sooner the world’s economy inches toward a cataclysmic meltdown.
In the past several decades, world leaders have admitted that despite their desires to promote their own self-interests, even if they’re detrimental to the health, welfare and survival of our neighbors on the planet, that we now live in a global society where we are inextricably bound.
We can only hope and pray that in the current administration’s insistence to “Keep America First” that the moves and decisions our nation makes, or does not make, in the coming days, weeks and months, won’t ignore or deny reality.