Donald's Dangerous Breaking Point

Half-measures could fully doom us.

This is what scares me, at the moment:

I don't think there's any worse thing that we could do right now, as a country, at an official level, than resort to half-measures. The kind of mindset that declares "We tried it your way and it didn't work!" before the necessary measures have had a chance to run their course will discredit those measures in the minds of all the scared and angry people who are already more inclined to trust the person making the declaration.

So word that Donald regrets having listened to medical experts whose advice he perceives to have harmed the economy is very alarming to me. I don't think the state governors in New York and California will listen to him, but we've already witnessed the Republican Party's willingness to go along with him in order to get along with him. If we have a few blue states actively trying to flatten the curve and vast swathes of red ones licking doorbells to own the libs, it's not just the people (of all political persuasions) in the red ones who will suffer. 

We've already seen that states can't protect themselves from a deadly epidemic if their neighbors don't care -- this is why there's gun violence in cities and states that have sensible gun-control measures. 

More, if there's no will at the federal level for shutdowns then it becomes harder to get federal support and federal money (which is effectively unlimited in comparison to the state level) for those battening down in blue bastions. Populous states like New York and California habitually pay more into the federal budget than they receive in benefits paid out, but the meme on the right is that these are "welfare states" that suck the hardworking red states dry. I can't imagine a bill to pay relief money to people staying home passing through Congress (and especially the Senate) while people in red states blithely go back to work. 

I don't think we actually can blame the stock market depreciation on things like self-isolation orders and business shutdowns. It's impossible to imagine the stock market taking those things well, but we can trace the start of the downturn to back before anything was shutdown, back when it first became unmistakably apparent that the coronavirus was here, that it was going to be a big deal, and that all of Trump's reassurances to the contrary had been hollow and phony as he is. 

At the time I said it's too early to extrapolate a trend, but we can look back now and see it.

If Trump were to declare that tomorrow everything is open for business and it's business as usual, I honestly don't think the stock market would rebound. Oh, there might be a flurry of buying as investors rush to take advantage of "deals", but I think the movers and shakers on Wall Street understand the reality of the situation and would know that undoing the already scant preventative measures in place is just going to cause further, worse disruption down the line. Savvy investors wouldn't be investing for the long-term but trying to pick up stocks at their current lows in order to dump them as they go back up, so as not to be caught holding them when we try to deal with the economic reality of millions of people dying or dead and tens of millions sick.

Trump's tweet is ambiguous about the timing and the direction he'll decide to take us in. It's possible that the reality of the coming week will be such that even he reaches the limits of his ability to close his ears and go "LA-LA-LA, I can't hear you!" It's possible that he will be forced to confront the reality that sometimes the monsters can get you even if you can't see them.

But I remain concerned. Donald is mercurial and essentially unmoored from reality. All it will really take for him to completely upend the precautions we're still putting in place piecemeal because of the lack of top-level guidance is for him to have one really bad day where he lashes out, or one day where he feels good enough about himself to believe he's invincible and knows so much better than anyone that no one can tell him anything.

Thank you for reading!

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