Surprise! Trump Proposes A Tax Cut As An Appropriate Response To The Coronavirus
Somehow, I doubt there is much science to back Trump’s move.
As I survey the world markets, I see this on Google Finance:
Seems odd that when I think of the color “red”, that I should also think of the Republican Party. I mean, in the old days, “red” was for “communist”. Anyway, according to Wikipedia, the Dow Jones Industrial Average just suffered the largest single-day point decline in history, yesterday, under Trump’s watch. Trump’s response?
A tax cut. He floats a tax cut as if that’s the magic pill, the red pill, that’s going to put things right. There’s no science here. Just more magical thinking from the leader of the Republican Party. You know how it is with those Republicans. A tax cut is a magic salve for any problem. Just ask Trump. I guess we’d be wrong to think that the tax cut in 2017 could have prepared us for this. It didn’t. So I doubt a tax cut is going to do us any good now.
It’s also worth noting that Trump fired much of the staff that could have prepared us for the coronavirus. According to Foreign Policy, “In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure.” Why did he cut that staff loose? Starving the beast was more important than public safety.
Trump must have thought that private enterprise would take up the slack. They didn’t. They were busy working on their latest and greatest patented medication. You know, that one with the awkward syllables, fabulous advertising, and obvious rent-seeking? Yeah, that drug. The one we don’t have yet. And in Trump’s world, it’s cool that the government pays for the research, awards a patent for the drug, and then begs a big pharmaceutical company not to charge too much for their new drug.
Several Republicans, out of a sense of duty to the country, decided to quarantine themselves. And yet somehow, Trump managed to escape being tested for coronavirus despite a well-documented interaction among people close to him, with someone who tested positive. At least they understand that this virus respects no ideology, party lines or public policy outcomes. COVID-19 is opportunistic and doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat. A virus is only concerned with reproduction.
I find it ironic then, that Trump appointed Mike Pence as point man for our response to what is turning out to be a pandemic. Pence is anti-science. Pence thinks science is nothing more than another religion competing against his own morally superior religion. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Pence is targeting his response. Some people will be neglected as “punishment for their sins”, while the “good people” will get first dibs on the vaccine when it comes out in 18 months.
Personally, I think that a full-blown panic is irresponsible. The stats on the virus are that for most people, it’s a mild to bad flu. The fatality rate is still around 2%. Most of us will survive. The already sick and the elderly are most at risk. I’ve seen pictures of people in Congress in response to this outbreak, and I think it’s interesting that most of them are elderly. They’re clearly worried that this virus isn’t something you can stop with a new law or a new tax cut. It won’t even notice them.
Trump says he has a natural gift of understanding the virus. He’s super smart, smart enough not to be tested or quarantined. Trump absolutely knows what he’s doing or he’d be hiding out in the war room in the basement of the White House. Trump is even smart enough to slip into a round of golf while the markets tank.
Trump is spot on with a proposal for a payroll tax cut. That’s a winner. Just knowing that I have more money coming to me in my paycheck is incentive enough to keep me showing up to work even when I’m sick.