I love Paul Krugman. Reading his columns, even the gloomier ones, is one of the things I look forward to at the start of the day. Today’s column starts with a short blunt summary of how the Mangled Mago-face has responded to the virus:
A brief history of the past four months in America:
Experts: Don’t rush to reopen, this isn’t over.
Donald Trump: LIBERATE!
Trump officials: Here’s our opposition research on Anthony Fauci.
The point of the title is that, when we should have been sheltering in place long enough to flatten the curve, we were instead being encouraged, and in some cases practically ordered, by Trump and his henchmen governors to go out and party:
[M]any states not only rushed to reopen, they reopened stupidly. Instead of being treated as a cheap, effective way to fight contagion, face masks became a front in the culture war. Activities that posed an obvious risk of feeding the pandemic went unchecked: Large gatherings were permitted, bars reopened.
And the cost of those parties and open bars extends beyond the thousands of Americans who will be killed or suffer permanent health damage as a result of Covid-19’s resurgence.
The cost of telling Americans to gather together and drink also threatens our children’s future:
We now have overwhelming confirmation of something we already suspected: For many, perhaps most students there is no substitute for actually being in a classroom.
But rooms full of students are potential Petri dishes, even if the young are less likely to die from Covid-19 than the old. . . .So we’re now facing a terrible, unnecessary dilemma. If we reopen in-person education, we risk feeding an out-of-control pandemic. If we don’t, we impair the development of millions of American students, inflicting long-term damage on their lives and careers.And the reason we’re in this position is that states, cheered on by the Trump administration, rushed to allow large parties and reopen bars. In a real sense America drank away its children’s future. [emphasis added]
(Personal note: I have a niece who’s a freshman at college, and two grandkids who are missing preschool and second grade, the time when they learn how to interact with people, so I’m seeing this directly.)
(And a side note: Gov. Newsom of California yesterday ordered ALL bars STATEWIDE (his tweet put that in all caps) to close all operations immediately. Plus, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, the largest school districts in the state, announced they will hold only virtual classes. Newsom may have bowed to pressure and opened too soon, but he, like Fauci, knows how to fix a mistake.)
There is one place, though, where I think Krugman fell short of the mark. He correctly accuses Trump and FL governor DeSantis of refusing to listen to experts and of never admitting they were wrong. But that’s only the first part. The real reason Trump won’t — can’t — listen to reason is that he needs the schools to reopen so the parents can go back to work, so the economy will pick up, so he can get re-elected —which is his sole, only, and total goal. And because he operates transactionally, he can’t see that forcing kids back in school and parents back to work will only make the economy even worse in short order. So long as that “short order” doesn’t kick in until after November 3rd, The Great Turd of Death could care less.
Parents know this. Teachers know this. Even the kids know this — they don’t like wearing masks, but they do it. I expect the Lincoln Project to come out with another ad along the lines of “Trump wans to sacrifice your children for his re-election. The Bible warned us against people like him.” (Picture of a Biblical king tossing kids into the fire for the god Moloch? Or is that too much?)