- Early Friday morning, I published an article about a new report showing 6.6 million unemployment claims in a single week and how the impending economic crash hurts Donald Trump’s reelection effort.
- In the piece, I also discussed early rumors regarding what will be in the next round of economic stimulus packages and how whichever party finally stops “playing” politics and does the right thing for working-class voters, will most likely win in November.
- Hours later, the President announced a plan for the government to cover coronavirus expenses for the uninsured – an enormous step towards ending this pandemic and winning a second term.
Well, that didn’t take long!
President Trump: "Hospitals and healthcare providers treating uninsured coronavirus patients will be reimbursed by the federal government." pic.twitter.com/adFJN1Xsei
— The Hill (@thehill) April 4, 2020
Yesterday, I published an article about the latest US Labor Department report, which showed a record-high 6.6 million Americans had submitted first-time unemployment claims for the week ending March 28. This following 3.3 million claims – the previous all-time high — from the week prior, bringing us to a total of 10 million jobless citizens in only two weeks.
As I explained in that piece, there’s no avoiding an economic crash when you see numbers that devastating. Assuming Goldman Sachs’ second-quarter projections are accurate, the United States’ GDP is going to nosedive an unprecedented 35% — significantly worse than any economic decline in American history, including the Great Depression.
The point of the article was to highlight just how precarious Donald Trump’s reelection situation may be considering a financial crisis of this magnitude. Nevertheless, the President has been blessed with an opposition party so out-of-touch, corrupt, and stuck in their ways that I still can’t write him off – despite presiding over both a pandemic and a deep recession/depression.
A Crucial First Step
In yesterday’s article, I wrote the following:
The party that recognizes the drastic measures required to overcome America’s current predicament and is willing to deviate from the usual political games will win big in 2020. We have a highly contagious airborne virus, a shortage of protective medical equipment, hospitals at risk of being overrun, and record-high levels of recently laid-off workers.
The article included a list of pressing needs, despite the aversion both parties’ corporate overlords have to each of the items, starting with:
No matter your political beliefs, you must eliminate any barriers between the public and testing. The only way to end the pandemic is by testing everyone. That way, you can identify hot zones and strategically target quarantines – allowing us to deal with the infected while opening up the economy.
Currently, too many people are afraid to get tested. If someone is asymptomatic or dealing with minor symptoms, they’re incentivized to take their chances at home, rather than risk receiving a massive bill for a relatively minor illness. Continuing down this road will extend the pandemic and keep the economy closed for much longer.
Friday’s Press Briefing
In a coronavirus press briefing, both the President and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar laid out a plan to use the $100 billion designated for hospitals and healthcare providers in the CARES Act to provide free COVID-19 testing and treatment to uninsured Americans.
— GOP (@GOP) April 3, 2020
“This should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment,” Trump said Friday.
The federal government will send money directly to the providers to cover the costs. “As a condition of receiving funds under this program, providers will be forbidden from balance-billing the uninsured for the cost of their care,” Azar explained. “Providers will be reimbursed at Medicare rates.”
Will This Guarantee Trump’s Reelection?
Of course not.
What it does show, however, is that he recognizes how desperate these times are and that they require equally desperate measures. While establishment Democrats were calling for the White House to reopen the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment window, the President outflanked them to the left with what amounts to a temporary version of Medicare for All.
Trump just announced what amounts to a Medicare-for-All policy for uninsured COVID-19 patients. Congrats to Hillary Clinton & centrist Democrats for again letting Donald Trump outflank you from the left: https://t.co/ULJ5XJSETp
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) April 3, 2020
The fact that prominent Democrats think that reopening ACA enrollment is a legitimate solution for the millions of laid-off workers that just lost their employer-provided health insurance tells you how clueless they are.
I have gainful employment, and I can’t afford the abysmal plans offered in that portal. What the hell is a newly unemployed person going to do with a $500 per month plan that carries a $6000 deductible? How will opening up that cursed marketplace of total rip-off insurance options help a single struggling American get tested – much less treatment?
I guess when you’ve been lining your pockets with lobbying “contributions” for decades, you lose sight of what’s considered “affordable.”
I want to reiterate that this temporary strategy to pay providers on behalf of the uninsured for the duration of the pandemic is not going to be enough. It solves one of our core problems, which is Americans being afraid to get tested and treated for coronavirus due to economic anxiety, but there’s still more to do.
Increased access to testing will allow authorities to more accurately track the outbreak, which will eventually help them identify “hot spots” and use selective quarantines only where they’re needed. Then we can start to open up the economy.
In the meantime, both parties better turn their focus to the next round of stimulus packages. In March, Congress ripped the American people off for the most costly corporate bailout in history, in exchange for a means-tested $1200 loan against future tax returns. A total joke.
There have been numerous work stoppages and protests just within the last month. Americans are not going to tolerate being forced to stay home, but not being given adequate assistance to pay rent and survive — all while corporations are handed trillions of dollars with no questions asked.
If the Democrats were smart, they’d start implementing Bernie Sanders’s proposals immediately.
Some Sanders demands for "phase 4" of coronavirus response:
— $2K/person payments *every month* – 100% universal;
— Medicare pays all health expenses during pandemic;
— Suspend rent/mortgage/medical/student&debt payments for 4 months;
— Hazard pay 4 frontline workers
— Jeffrey Stein (@JStein_WaPo) April 3, 2020
That said, I’ve seen nothing to make me believe they’re capable of adapting to the situation. After all, Nancy Pelosi’s big goal is passing tax breaks for upper-middle-class homeowners, while the rest of them are championing another round of ACA enrollment as if anyone will be able to afford to use them.
The $1200 checks should be reaching some people soon, but it’s not going to be enough to survive for many. While Congress is still vacationing, Americans are looking ahead to mounting bills, food needs, and May rent. With each passing week, the tensions generated by this pandemic and the economic lockdown will grow more intense.
Whichever party/candidate dares to implement real populist measures first is as good as gold in November. If nobody rises to the occasion, we’re just as likely to see the working-class setting up guillotines as showing up to vote for either side.
So far, only Donald Trump has shown an ability or willingness to adapt – will the Democrats get with the program or are they doomed to their corporate centrist ways?