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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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