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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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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