“The only thing to fear – is fear itself!” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933
I watched President Trump’s message to the American people with some concern and something akin to a bit of nagging doubt that he really meant much of what he stated. He was so robotic in his words that you could easily tell they were the words of someone else. He has once again shifted away from his own initial gut instinct, which was right from the start, to now mouth something compiled by some Flunky advisors, for purposes I cannot fully see, other than they hope throwing money at the problem will make Wall Street and the Sheep believe something of real substance is being done; for the moment, nothing could be further from the truth, as near as I can see, unless one wants to point to the travel bans.
But as for the rest, for the life of me, I do get so sick of government and presidents consistently going directly to Big Government solutions every single time, and in order to implement them, they too often pass more “Bad Law” that stays with us for eternity. And worse, too many Americans let their tongues wag down to their chests drooling with anticipation over the next benefit and the next handout that might accompany those acts.
This is my take on the “Crisis” Non-Crisis centered on COVID-19 that is so blown out of proportion it makes me want to hurl.
Deep in the throes of the Great American Panic of 2020, someone please dip me deep in Shinola and call me a greased pig, if I should ever fall into the miserable weepy, hysteria that is not only coming from the media, but now from the President’s office, and too many corners of the general public. It’s almost as if President Trump feels compelled to address the COVID-19 like a Democrat, as he capitulated, after stating the virus wasn’t that bad, and this only adds to the panic, a panic that has been facilitated and manufactured by the media and President Trump’s political enemies, who would love nothing better than to see the U.S. economy crash and end Trump’s presidency, while also opening one more door for limiting individual liberty in America.
In a normal flu season, an average of 36,000 Americans die of the flu, but according to the CDC, ninety percent of those are over the age of sixty-five, and out of 35.5 million cases for the flu season of 2018 to 2019, there were 34,000 deaths. One should recall that between 2009 and 2010, some 17,000 Americans died from Swine Flu, and America wasn’t throwing a trillion dollars at it, in the manner President Trump now proposes doing with COVID-19, very similar to any other Democrat, as he wants to temporarily suspend the payroll tax without cutting any spending.
If President Trump wants to throw government money after a problem, he should focus on getting pharmaceutical manufacturing centers up and running here in America, so we are not dependent on China for life-saving medicines. For that matter, there are numerous critical components currently manufactured in China that we need, but they are no longer manufacture here [an article for another day].
Trump’s proposed tax break would essentially disburse a trillion dollars in stimulus, in order to stop an economic crisis in the making, if it lasts through the end of the year. It would push the already high federal budget deficit to unprecedented levels, close to $2 trillion, and it would not really help anyone, nor would it address the actual underlying problems with the economy or any health issues. Essentially, it will fail to be of any positive benefit to the American people, and only succeed in placing more burden on the U.S. taxpayers on down the road.
More than anything else, Trump’s proposal appears to be a not so veiled attempt to buy Wall Street’s good graces and the election along with it, by providing more stimulus money to the stimulus that has been ongoing since October, as his administration would basically pick more winners and losers in the face of an economy that was falling short prior to this COVID-19 outbreak. He knows if his “great economy” falls, so too might his presidency, which suggests he sells his other so-called “accomplishments” short, too.
I’m no big supporter of President Trump, simply over issues tied to our national sovereignty and the Bill of Rights, but still, I don’t want to see him fail and place the country outright in the hands of socialists, communists and Islamofascists. I simply wish he would trust that true conservative ideas would do even better than some of his current flawed policy positions and his lurch more leftwards.
COVID-19 now has a death rate that is trending around approximately one percent of all infected, with the latest CDC confirmed death count in America at 36, as of this writing [8:15 P.M. 3-12-2020], and approximately 1215 known cases, according to Lara Logan at Fox News. But good news from South Korea exhibits only ten percent of cases ever require any hospitalization, with less than one percent of their 7300 cases dying from the virus.
By no means do I suggest that there aren’t also plenty of good, rational reasons to be concerned. As of this writing, 134,488 people have contracted COVID-19 worldwide and 4,970 of them have died. And of course, we haven’t yet reached the peak of this virus in America yet, which means we have a bit of a ways to go, before we see the light at the end of the tunnel; but,rest assured, the light is there and not too far into the near future, if only people will remain calm and keep with as normal a daily routine as possible.
Even here in Murfreesboro, TN, unbelievably, I see people seemingly alarmed, although there are not any cases here, at the moment. Just the other day, I saw a pretty large gal wearing her COVID mask, while she rolled down the candy aisle stocking up on Hershey Bars, Milky Ways and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But the signs are everywhere, big and small, as one sees many Uber drivers now wearing the same surgical masks.
More people die of cancer in America each year than will die from COVID-19, and according to the journal Science News [March 6th], only one in 500 under the age of 40 might die from this new coronavirus. So why all the panic over this virus?
Nobody wants to die before their time, but statistically speaking, a person is more likely to be killed in a car crash or murdered in America, than die from contracting COVID-19. People need to stop acting as though the world is coming to an end and that just because the World Health Organization is calling it a “pandemic” it must be death sentence to anyone coming in contact with it.
This panic is now moving President Trump to seek a Big Government solution for a problem that will only grow government, because he and his advisors fear the reaction that would result, if he simply urged calm, good hygiene practices and carrying on one’s everyday normal life. Fear has kept Trump from simply urging business as usual in the nation, while urging people to take a minimum of caution, seek testing if one thinks one has been exposed and seek treatment if one contracts it. And instead, he has flung the door wide open to more draconian measures and an eventual complete shutdown of the nation, without any real good reason.
Now, we are also seeing the Republican Party taking advantage of this crisis to make themselves appear as the people’s saviors, as numerous Republicans — Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) – and the Trump administration too have seemingly found a new found love for government run healthcare with the onset of this “crisis”. On March 2nd, 2020, Robert Kadlec, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, suggested that part of the efforts aimed at COVID-19 should treat virus patients like disaster victims who will be eligible for federal funds.
No amount of government money thrown at this “crisis” non-crisis can make people engage in more commerce and spend more money, if the same government benefactor is stoking fears over this COVID-19 virus. Only an assured message expressing the need for calm and carrying on with our daily routines as usual may stop the continued slide of our economy and regain some semblance of normalcy, in our society, as we all remain watchful and yet not so fearful that we can’t work or feel as if we must hide behind closed doors, in self-imposed quarantines.
In response to Kadlec’s proposal on March 10th, Representative Ted Yoho (R-Florida) stated: “You can look at it as socialized medicine. But in the face of an outbreak, a pandemic, what’s your options?”
Such an ignorant statement coming from an elected official is part of the problem. Men such as Yoho stoke the sort of fear that adds to the panic and makes matters worse, as people have begun hoarding face masks, food and even toilet paper. Similarly, in many America towns, St Patrick Day parades are being cancelled, along with school closures and basketball game cancellations, all of which add to the fear and in reality give only a little more protection against the virus than simply following good hygiene will provide. And all of this is a disproportionate and self-destructive response to what can only be described as a fairly low level threat.
However, Democrats and Republicans alike, the petty tyrants lurking among both parties, learned a great lesson in 2008, from Rahm Emanuel, who stated: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
Despite the high confidence that the majority of people will never get the virus and the known truth that the largest percentage, the vast majority, of people contracting COVID-19 will survive, too many people and governments across the globe are reacting in extreme fashion.
And now, America is seeing the National Guard being activated on March 7th in New York to respond to the outbreak, even though Governor Cuomo presents it as an innocuous and benevolent act for delivering aid, medicine and food as well as cleansing and disinfecting areas effected. He has essentially set up a quarantined area with a radius of one mile from the synogogue at its epicenter, as three schools were also closed down in New Rochelle, and the National Guard was tasked with constructing “Containment centers”. But, people’s movements haven’t been restricted, yet.
It’s one thing for our government to take extraordinary measures, in the face of violent situations, as our nation has witnessed in Boston after the Islamist terror bombing, when law enforcement carried out a military style search for the terrorists; in Baltimore when riots resulted in a military lock down of the city, as 1500 National Guardsmen patrolled the streets and residents were placed under a ten o’clock curfew. And it’s quite another thing for the government to take a heavy hand in a matter quite easily handled between any individual and their doctor and a hospital staff, since very nearly any person in America, of average intelligence has sense enough to seek help and treatment from a doctor, if they fall ill; and with this current crisis, one can be most certain that everyone is on alert and staying vigilant from concern for themselves and their families.
The government’s overreaction to this crisis should worry everyone, since many intrusive laws are already on the books, just waiting to be invoked by overzealous public health officials; these laws grant nearly unlimited power to quarantine people thought to carry an infectious disease and then bill those people for their own confinement, as was done to those returning from Wuhan, China, even though the quarantines were often excessive and inconsistent with known facts and the epidemiological evidence. This crisis seems to be breeding more government authority, rather than sensible restraint and effective measures.
Americans surely should work to flatten the infection rate curve in the country through good hygiene practices and a little well placed caution when in public gatherings, since we don’t want to add to any work overload at local hospitals, but in the meantime, we don’t want to allow the people, who have the effrontery to rule us, any room to cultivate any fears and exploit them to align with their adventures and ends. We must not allow government promises to save us from COVID-19, no matter the level or severity of the threat, to end in unseemly and unnecessary interventions and a government that has grown even larger and more powerful, fat and happy, at the expense of our individual liberty and our freedom suppressed, haggard and threadbare.
Friday the 13th, March 2020
~ The Author ~
Justin O. Smith has lived in Tennessee off and on most of his adult life, and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1980, with a B.S. and a double major in International Relations and Cultural Geography – minors in Military Science and English, for what its worth. His real education started from that point on. Smith is a frequent contributor to the family of Kettle Moraine Publications.