Americans must understand the consequences of restoring our economy
By Mark Alexander
President Donald Trump and Republican governors are making a serious political mistake by not disclosing some critical facts about their important effort to jump-start our economy.
As I wrote six weeks ago, Americans nationwide were in dire need of an exit strategy for the economic slowdown. The administration finally announced that strategy two weeks ago, when the White House COVID-19 Task Force issued its guidance for restarting our economy. And not a minute too soon, given that the current state and local policies have created job losses at near Great Depression levels.
Fortunately, President Trump recently discontinued his disastrous daily press briefings that, while initially helpful, had devolved into sniping contests between the president and the Leftmedia. That had the predictable consequence (from our perspective outside the Beltway) of making him the poster child for COVID-19 misery. That unfortunate outcome plays right into the Pelosi/Schumer Demo tag team's congressional pandemic inquisition, the "hearings" for which will provide a constant flow of layups for the Democrat Party's effort to hang Trump with the human and economic costs between now and the November election.
Regrettably, several times in April, while the economy was sinking as fast as death tolls were rising, Trump erroneously asserted during his briefings that he holds the power to override the actions of governors in their respective states if they weren't abiding by his directives. Those absurd proclamations would've made it difficult for him to argue that any blame for the resulting economic consequences and, moreover, the violations of civil liberties should be affixed to individual governors and not to him.
Fortunately, Trump's attorney general, William Barr, put state and local officials on notice for undue usurpations of individual Liberty and helped pull the president out of the hole he'd dug for himself. According to the AG: "Many policies that would be unthinkable in regular times have become commonplace in recent weeks, and we do not want to unduly interfere with the important efforts of state and local officials to protect the public. But the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis."
Trump followed up those remarks about excessive measures on 19 April — Patriots' Day — noting: "I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away. ... Some governors have gone too far." Regarding the sporadic protests over state closures, Trump added, "Their life was taken away from them. These people love our country. They want to get back to work."
So, as governors — particularly Republican governors in the South and West — begin to cautiously restore their economies using the administration's reopening guidance, what is it they should be making clear to their respective constituents, but haven't?
Republican governors' biggest mistake when launching their respective state economic restoration protocols is failing to tell their constituents that reopening will result in additional infections and deaths.
The fact is, unless "global warming" helps reduce viral spread in those states now reopening, which are the earliest in the nation to warm up for summer, there will be an increase in fatalities. It is important that Americans understand that nothing about the SARS-CoV-2 virus has changed — it is still out there claiming casualties, and it will continue to do so until an effective vaccine, combined with herd immunity, can slow it. And ... it will reemerge again next fall.
While the economic slowdown did buy our nation time — at a colossal cost — to produce tests, develop treatment protocols and capacity, build more ventilators, and acquire personal protective equipment (PPE), the viral infections will increase as the lockdowns are lifted. To that end, there are important lessons to be learned from the five Republican governors who did not constrict their state economies.
And a note about healthcare: By instituting a ban on "elective" surgeries in order to "flatten the curve" and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, a ban necessitated largely because hospitals did not have reserves of PPE needed for critical care, that ban nearly destroyed the very healthcare providers it had meant to protect. However, in the coming months those hospitals may fill to capacity with COVID-19 cases in certain densely populated areas as governors reopen their states.
President Trump and Republican governors, who get high marks for how they have handled the pandemic thus far, need to make clear that the consequences of having a functional society and economy will include more disease and death. If we are fortunate and the surge is not significant, all the better.
Notably and wisely, at a town hall on May 3, President Trump began to manage the nation's expectations by saying that he believes the deaths will exceed the current estimates and could be as high as 135,000 or more.
Last week he acknowledged: "It's possible there will be some [deaths] because you won't be locked into an apartment or house ... but at the same time, we're going to practice social distancing, we're going to be washing hands, we're going to be doing a lot of the things that we've learned to do over the last period of time."
But he needs to acknowledge that those who don't follow those guidelines will be responsible for the inevitable increase in illness and death.
I should note here that the unspoken reason for the disastrous partial economic shutdown over the last two months was to protect the nation's most vulnerable citizens from the "idiot factor" — those of all ages who would not otherwise abide by the basic CDC guidelines for not spreading the contagion to others. Had governors been confident that nearly all Americans would follow those guidelines — especially people in densely populated urban areas — the guidelines alone would likely have allowed for a much less restrictive economic slowdown.
Trump added: "Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country opened and we have to get it open soon. ... This terrible plague has inflicted great hardships on our people. We mourn for every life lost. We pray for every victim. And we shoulder this burden together, as one people, one family, and one great American nation."
As of this writing, the CDC reports over 70,000 deaths associated with COVID-19 disease. We have serious concerns about how these deaths have been reported, which is to say the actual number may be less.
Governors must follow Trump's lead and prepare the nation for the worst. Anything short of that won't be good for all of us.
Democrats and the Leftmedia talkingheads, in their craven cowardice and unmitigated arrogance, have taken the easy way out, arguing that the nation should remain closed until our economy flatlines and not a single additional COVID-19 death occurs, while endlessly obsessing about the "mortality models."
Thus, Demos and their media bootlickers are positioning themselves to blame Trump and Republicans for every single death after the reopening, claiming that they put the economy and Trump's reelection ahead of the lives of the people. We can hear their campaign cry now: "Trump and the Republicans have blood on their hands!"
Hopefully, most of our fellow Americans will realize that a vibrant economy is in fact the lifeblood of a free people.
However, it ain't over — lockdown or not, the China Virus is not done with its destruction.
The latest obsession of the anti-Liberty lockdown extremists is a leaked government model projecting that deaths have not peaked and that by June there will be 3,000 Americans dying every day. But what most media outlets failed to mention is the fact that the creator of this dire model, Justin Lessler, an associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins, has already downplayed its usefulness: "I had no role in the process by which that was presented and shown. It was not in any way intended to be a forecast." President Trump's administration issued notice immediately that the speculative model was "not a White House document, nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting," and noted further, "This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the Task Force, or data that the Task Force has analyzed."
Moving forward, affirming the administration's position that the increase in case load will be manageable, Task Force chairman Mike Pence announced there are discussions "about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work," suggesting it may close down by Memorial Day. He added, "I think we're starting to look at the Memorial Day window, early June window, as a time when we could begin to transition back to having our agencies begin to manage our national response in a more traditional manner."
Trump added, "Because of this success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate."
Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx would stay on for the rest of the year, in her words, to "keep a close eye on the data." She added, "Because we have very good data now, it took us a while to build that capacity and we'll make sure that we're watching that at a federal level."
Somebody forgot to tell Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been a wild card, often arrogantly contradicting the Task Force in his newfound CNN infamy. When he was asked about the phase down, he responded, "That's not true, I've been in every Task Force meeting, and that's not what they are doing."
(I still believe President Trump should start up a "Back to Work Task Force" instead of the "commission" he set up a couple weeks ago.)
For the record, let me state again that balancing the COVID-19 mitigation efforts with the economic and social consequences has been extremely challenging, and formulating and implementing a mitigation plan and an exit strategy is the most difficult and complex policy decision faced by any president in decades. Let me also restate that, to the Trump administration's great credit, our nation was in a better position to take this enormous economic hit than it would've been under the statist suppression of Hillary Clinton. Until two months ago, we had the strongest economy in U.S. history. And we will Make American Great Again.
I believe that President Trump is also well equipped as a result of his considerable business experience to evaluate an effective path forward for our economy. But that path will be chock-full of pitfalls and political snares set by Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Trump, of course, is by now conditioned to this sort of sabotage. Before he even took office, the Obama administration tried to take him down with the fake Russia-collusion charade. The Democrats also failed to take Trump down with their second attempt, the fake Ukraine-collusion charade. That effort had been sucking up all the Beltway oxygen just as the SARS-CoV-2 virus was beginning its deadly spread.
Going forward, the Democrats will be pulling out all the stops to retake the White House by supporting their party's non-compos-mentis presumed nominee, Joe Biden — assuming he survives the prospect of a brokered Demo convention.
Of course, getting beyond these credible and corroborated sexual-assault allegations should be no problem if the DNC follows the advice of Biden's enablers at The New York Times, which has called for the Democrat Party to lead the investigation.
And on that note, let me also restate, as I did in February, that Democrats are hanging their 2020 election hopes on pandemic death and destruction. They have an evil, sordid, and disgraceful history of politicizing such things. If ever there were a justification for the reinstitution of public stockades, if not public gallows, the traitorous Pelosi/Schumer tag team is just that.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.