Of Course Mitch McConnell Is Fine With Blue States Going Bankrupt
The cynical Senate Majority leader, quick to bail out corporations, is balking at helping COVID-ravaged states—a position that could also extend to Trump country. “This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” says Andrew Cuomo.
It wasn’t just Democrats outraged by McConnell’s assessment. New York Representative Peter King, a Republican, also blasted the Senate Majority Leader. “McConnell’s dismissive remark that States devastated by Coronavirus should go bankrupt rather than get the federal assistance they need and deserve is shameful and indefensible,” King tweeted Wednesday. “To say that it is ‘free money’ to provide funds for cops, firefighters and healthcare workers makes McConnell the Marie Antoinette of the Senate.”
Precisely what McConnell and the Republicans have to gain by stiffing state and local governments isn’t clear. As the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman pointed out Wednesday, it’s not just blue states that need assistance; the red states that Trump and McConnell actually care about are also facing dire economic circumstances thanks to the pandemic. And, as Dylan Matthews explained over at Vox, state and local governments don’t have the tools the federal government has to deal with their budget issues alone; where the federal government can borrow at will, most states and the District of Columbia have balanced budget requirements. What’s more, they can’t print money like the federal government can, making deficits riskier. Declining to help states face their COVID-induced budget shortfalls doesn’t only stick it to Democrats—just in the last decade, it proved to exacerbate the Great Recession. Given Trump’s preoccupation with resuscitating the nation’s dormant economy, seeing its recovery at all costs as vital to his reelection this November, it would seem to make little practical sense politically for the GOP to take action that could further jeopardize rebound efforts.
Coronavirus shakes the conceit of ‘American exceptionalism’
“Did I foresee, as a health system leader working in a rich, highly developed country with state-of-the-art science and technology and incredible talent, that my organization would ever be faced with such a set of circumstances?” asked Dr. Andrew W. Artenstein of Baystate Health, who was on hand at the warehouse to help score the booty. “Of course not.”
But, he said, “the cavalry does not appear to be coming.”
At the time of greatest need, the country with the world’s most expensive health care system doesn’t want you using it if you’re sick but not sick enough or not sick the right way.
The patchwork private-public health care system consumes 17% of the economy, unparalleled globally. But it wants you to stay home with your COVID-19 unless you are among the minority at risk of death from suffocation or complications. It wants you to heal from anything you can without a doctor’s touch and put off surgeries of all kinds if they can wait.
John F Harris/Politico:
Stop Looking on the Bright Side: We’ll Be Screwed By the Pandemic for Years to Come
Unfortunately, the history of the past generation justifies pessimism about the next one.
It was one of those moments—the right idea at the right time—that hit the journalistic sweet spot. I plunged in with curiosity, which turned gradually to unease, finally to irritation.
Given the drumbeat of the news at the time, I was expecting apocalyptic prophesy. A majority of the predictions, however, sound not just tolerable but affirmatively good. “Science reigns again.” “A return to faith in serious experts.” “A decline in polarization.” “A new kind of patriotism.” “New kinds of reform.” “A healthier digital lifestyle.” “A revival of parks.” And so on.
Hmmm … On the one hand: Count me in for the congenial future that awaits once we get past this nasty virus. On the other hand: Are we sure these predictions are in response to the pandemic, and not simply ideas the writers have been evangelizing for long before Covid-19?
Nothing wrong, of course, with looking on the bright side, and recall that the commentary ran in mid-March when a vision of Americans knit together against the virus was arguably still a realistic prospect. I know and respect several of the writers. So it wasn’t initially clear why this sunny-side-up view of the post-pandemic future should leave me sullen and scornful.
Partly, this reflects the mood of the moment. Bossed around by the authorities, claustrophobic in a shutdown of indeterminate length, I ruefully find myself with a gag impulse toward people greeting the plague with more idealism and good cheer than I can muster. Reading some of the big thinkers was like getting a supper-time knock on the door from Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson’s peppy, pious neighbor.
Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon
The president’s financial dealings with the state-owned bank complicate his attacks on Biden.
Trump’s ownership of the building received a smattering of attention before and after his 2016 campaign. But the arrangement with the Bank of China — and its impending due date in 2022 — has gone largely unnoticed.
The revelation complicates one of Trump’s emerging campaign attacks against Biden: that the former vice president woul
Warren, Levin roll out plan for coronavirus ‘containment corps’
The Democratic proposal would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a plan within 30 days to “hire, deploy and train” individuals who would be responsible for investigating cases of the coronavirus and performing contact tracing.
“In order to keep our communities healthy and get our economy up and running, we must stand up a national contact tracing program that will stop the spread of this virus dead in its tracks,” Warren said in a statement.
Biden’s strength with older voters could threaten Trump’s electoral path in 2020
Former vice president Joe Biden, whose support from older voters helped him lead the primaries, appears to be carrying over some of that appeal into the general election. With Trump’s approval ratings sagging over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, Biden’s campaign is attempting to capitalize with a group that has traditionally leaned Republican.
In Florida, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed Biden leading Trump by a 10-point margin, 52 to 42, among voters 65 and older — the latest poll showing Trump losing ground with seniors in key battlegrounds. In 2016, exit polls showed Trump winning seniors in Florida by 17 points over Hillary Clinton, a crucial margin in a state where older voters make up a large percentage of the voting population.
While it’s unclear if Biden’s polling strength with older voters will carry over into November, the shifts are enough to reshape the dynamics of a close race that has already been upended by a viral pandemic that has killed more than 47,000 Americans.
“We know that Americans over the age of 50 make up the majority of voters — and as a result, they’re a deciding factor in our elections,” Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, said in an interview. “They aren’t a monolith as a voting bloc, but one thing is clear: They do plan to vote.”
What went wrong at the South Dakota meat packing plant where hundreds of immigrant workers were infected?
The owners of the South Dakota meat packing plant tried to maintain operations despite growing concerns of workers who accuse the company of not doing enough to protect their health. There are now more than 900 cases of covid-19 linked to the plant, which was forced to close.
Lily Ordaz worked at the Smithfield Foods pork plant in Sioux Falls for 13 years before abruptly resigning last month.
It wasn’t an easy as her job paid well, but she has no regrets after the plant, with a large immigrant work force, was forced to close after it was swept this month by a massive wave of covid-19 cases.
Movie Theaters, Urged to Open, Want to Delay Showtime
The major chains, with no new releases to show and a fear of being singled out as virus hot spots, are worried about coming back too early.
“Hell no, we’re not opening on Monday,” Chris Escobar, who owns the 485-seat Plaza Theater in Atlanta, said by phone. “When we do, it will not be because of political pressure. It will be because leading public health experts say our lives are no longer at risk.”
He added: “I want to be back in business right this second. But we’ve got to be smart about it. What happens if we open too soon and contribute to an outbreak? Traced to the Plaza Theater! You know what that would do to my business? I wouldn’t have one.”
Frank Bruni/NY times:
Injections of Bleach? Beams of Light? Trump Is Self-Destructing Before Our Eyes
The notion that he is bound for four more years is pure superstition.
“And he’s going to get re-elected.”
Not a day goes by without several friends — Republicans as well as Democrats — saying that to me. It’s the blunt coda to a bloated recitation of Donald Trump’s failures during this pandemic. It’s a whimper of surrender following a scream of disbelief.
Tens of thousands of Americans die; what does the president do? Spreads bad information. Seeds false hope. Reinvents history, reimagines science, prattles on about his supposed heroism, bellyaches about his self-proclaimed martyrdom and savages anyone who questions his infallibility. In lieu of leadership, grandstanding. In place of empathy, a snit. And he’s going to get re-elected.
With that refrain we perform a spiritual prophylaxis. We prepare for despair.
But somewhere along the way, we started to confuse a coping mechanism with reasoned analysis. We began to treat a verbal tic as inevitable truth.
It isn’t. While Trump may indeed be careening toward four more years, it’s at least as possible that he’s self-destructing before our eyes.
It was this bad: