by Erik Dolson
Another day lost to the coronavirus, another week gone by. We’re in a row boat, Republicans have the only oar. They row on their side only and around, around we go.
“The states will do testing,” Trump says (on Monday, could change any time). Mitch McConnell says “blue” states should be punished for past spending by withholding money needed to pay cops, nurses, firefighters. “Let them go bankrupt,” he says.
It’s one thing if McConnell’s Kentucky opens up for business today or tomorrow. Agreed, that’s up to their governor. But then, do we restrict travelers from Kentucky because they can’t afford to test? How do we know if Kentucky is a hotbed of virus? If some states test and others do not, do we build walls between them?
Once again: The coronavirus is a national problem, affecting national health and the national economy, and requires a coherent national response. Here is a minimum national strategy, suggested by someone who knows, Paul Romer, a 2018 Nobel laureate in economics and former chief economist for the World Bank, as reported in the Washington Post:
“… federal government should test every American once every two weeks to reestablish national confidence and jump-start the economy — an effort he estimated at $100 billion, all told.
That cost, he said, pales in comparison to the amount of lost economic activity the pandemic has caused. Romer, an expert in economic modeling, estimates that the United States is losing at least $500 billion a month in domestic production; other economists have suggested the figure is larger still.
‘Every month of delay makes the recovery slower — and take longer,’ Romer said.”
This is not a drill. As Trump flounders, American’s die and prospects for the future grow dim.