The Republican response to the pandemic hitting our country right now has been pathetic. They lie about it, profit off of it, protect the rich, and screw the working class. When the pitch forks come out, at least they’ll know where to go this time.
Every day, the President of the United States gives a briefing that’s contradicted by his own experts. He began this crisis by denying it existed. Then, he called it a Democratic hoax designed to damage his presidency. When he finally admitted that it’s a dangerous virus, he told us not to worry because they would have a vaccine in a matter of weeks. When his own people debunked that lie, he told us about cures that have not yet been proven. It’s been crisis by fiasco.
Over in the Senate, Republicans saw the opportunity to take advantage of their briefings on the looming pandemic. North Carolina’s Richard Burr and Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler dumped millions of dollars in stocks just before the crash while telling the American people that everything was going to be just fine. While Americans watched their savings get wiped out for the second time in about a dozen years, they walked off basically unscathed. In the case of Loeffler, it appears she reinvested in stocks that will benefit from telecommuting.
And while his members are busy insider trading, McConnell is crafting a $1 trillion bill to bail out corporations, not American workers. The bill would give Treasury Secretary a $500 billion slush fund for handouts to companies of his choosing with no strings attached. They could use the money to buy back shares to benefit shareholders while laying off workers. Families would get a one-time $1,200 check in coronavirus recession that might last months.
From the conservative think tanks, Stephen Moore and Art Laffer, architects of supply-side economics, are lobbying the White House not to adopt any policies that might discourage work, like increased sick leave or expanded unemployment benefits. They are a ghoulish pair who clearly can’t keep their ideology from blocking out reality. There’s no work to be had for people in numerous industries so discouraging work is not a threat. The real threat is that people who have been hoarding money since the end of the last recession might need to give some of it up to help the people who are about to be crushed by this one.
And of course the right-wing media circus is spreading disinformation as fast as the president can produce it. It’s hard to tell whether Sean Hannity and company are leading Trump or whether they’re trying desperately to cover for him. Regardless, the consumers of the pro-Trump media are putting their dangerous ignorance on display. One county commissioner in Florida told people they could kill the virus by blowing hot air from a hair dryer up their noses. Another couple consumed fish tanker cleaner that contained the drug chloroquine because Trump and outlets like Fox News said it would stop the virus.
Having Republicans in charge during a crisis has always been a problem. This time, it’s truly deadly. The president doesn’t have plan or a clue. Every day, he’s got a different approach to the problem. The Greed is Good ethos that has driven the party since the days of Reagan led to shameless profiteering by elected officials. The free market ideologues are willing to let people die and fall through the cracks of the impending recession to protect the wealth of people who have benefitted from the inflated stock market since the Great Recession. Finally, they’ve created a propaganda machine that’s brainwashed its adherents to ignore science and experts and believe cable news hosts instead. It’s an unmitigated disaster and we won’t know the toll for months.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >