This is a robbery in progress,” wrote David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect. “And it's not a bailout for the coronavirus. It's a bailout for 12 years of corp. irresponsibility that made these companies so fragile that a few weeks of disruption would destroy them”
McConnell declaring a Senate recess is with the expectation that the bailout deal will hold because like other bills there’s pork fat to be skimmed, for “both sides” because that’s how its always works in Congress. Even if the unemployed get insurance, corporate interests get their bottom lines covered.
The virus will ebb as it spreads to the Southern Hemisphere, and there will be long-term effects. There could be be positive outcomes but only with a collective strength of will even as the crisis lasts 12-18 months. PBO recommends this Atlantic article because it holds out the hope for a happy ending rather than the incessant Trump happy talk.
One could also envisage a future in which America learns a different lesson. A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causes people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic. The election of November 2020 becomes a repudiation of “America first” politics. The nation pivots, as it did after World War II, from isolationism to international cooperation. Buoyed by steady investments and an influx of the brightest minds, the health-care workforce surges. Gen C kids write school essays about growing up to be epidemiologists. Public health becomes the centerpiece of foreign policy. The U.S. leads a new global partnership focused on solving challenges like pandemics and climate change.
With little room to surge during a crisis, America’s health-care system operates on the assumption that unaffected states can help beleaguered ones in an emergency. That ethic works for localized disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires, but not for a pandemic that is now in all 50 states. Cooperation has given way to competition; some worried hospitals have bought out large quantities of supplies, in the way that panicked consumers have bought out toilet paper.
Partly, that’s because the White House is a ghost town of scientific expertise. A pandemic-preparedness office that was part of the National Security Council was dissolved in 2018. On January 28, Luciana Borio, who was part of that team, urged the government to “act now to prevent an American epidemic,” and specifically to work with the private sector to develop fast, easy diagnostic tests. But with the office shuttered, those warnings were published in The Wall Street Journal, rather than spoken into the president’s ear. Instead of springing into action, America sat idle.[…]
Numbers are now starting to rise exponentially: As of Wednesday morning, the official case count was 54,000, and the actual case count is unknown. Health-care workers are already seeing worrying signs: dwindling equipment, growing numbers of patients, and doctors and nurses who are themselves becoming infected.