Friday, March 27, 2020

Congress and White House Strike Deal for $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

Health is obviously on everybody's mind these days, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We've never experienced anything quite like it. Ever. Everyone has an opinion about what to do, what caused it, and what's going to happen next.

One thing that just happened today (Thursday, March 25, 2020) is that congress approved $2 Trillion (that's $2,000,000,000,000) economic stimulus package. That is a lot of zero's. Can you imagine what kind of a health care system we could have in place with $2 trillion? Not just medical but a complete ongoing far-reaching wellness system. 

The stimulus package will create a feeding frenzy for the billionaire class like no other. And the smell of fish has already started the frenzy. Here was the headline:

Congress and White House Strike Deal for $2 Trillion Stimulus Package
The plan would provide direct payments to taxpayers, jobless benefits and a $500 billion fund to assist distressed businesses, with oversight requirements demanded by Democrats.

Then this headline popped up:
Trump FDA Grants Drug Company Exclusive Claim on Promising Coronavirus Drug

So it's business as usual. Just like 2008. Social media will go crazy, the media will provide unending opinions that will change hourly. The economy is important but is it more important than our health or a functioning health care system. Only time will tell and when dealing with a pandemic that is killing thousands of people, time is a luxury we can't squander.

The ethical hazard should be enough, of course. The most crystalline expression of what Trump was actually asking on Monday came from Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, who told Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, that his “heart was lifted” by what Trump said. 

----- Patrick, who is about to turn seventy, said, “No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, ‘Are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ ”—that is, the country should be asking older people to let everything reopen in short order, which would allow the disease to spread, and accept that they might die as a result, with a ready, grandparently spirit. (He did say that some could “shelter in place.”) 

If that was the choice, he was “all in” and thought that “lots of grandparents” would be, too. He spoke of letting everybody else “get back to living” as a “gift” that older people could give the country. It doesn’t even matter that the old (let alone the old with grandchildren) wouldn’t be the only ones asked to be ready to die in order to get commerce humming again. 

What he was suggesting is not decent; it is not too strong a word to say that it is barbaric. It is the bullying instinct of Trumpism taken to its extreme. Such an approach would cost the country something that, unlike restaurant sales, could never be regained.

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