The Federal Government Needs to Get Off Its Ass

Kevin Drum

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I suspect that many people still don’t get quite how bad the coronavirus pandemic is likely to get. President Trump has a big soapbox, and he continues with the happy talk on a daily basis. Experts try to walk back his nonsense, but even they’re reluctant to tell the bald truth. Is this the right thing to do? Maybe. Avoiding panic is good, after all, and the bald truth would most likely do little except increase sales at gun shops even more.

Right now, New York City is the canary in the coal mine. Whatever happens there over the next month is most likely what will happen to the rest of the country in the month or two after that. Even if we’re successful in flattening the curve a little bit, that won’t change the eventual rate of infection or the number of deaths. It just spreads it out a bit.

Meanwhile, the federal government continues to dither and refuse to take charge, and Republicans in Congress refuse to pass a bill that will keep worker income flowing and get makeshift hospital beds built. What the hell are these people thinking? The business bailout will be needed, but it can wait. Right now we need to mobilize, and we need to do it right now.

Best guesses right now:

  • 40-50 percent of country infected by June.
  • Half a million deaths.
  • 10-20 million people basically broke. Maybe a lot more.

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IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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