By Luis Miguel - thenewamerican.com
President Trump may be considering moving away from a heavy-handed approach to the coronavirus. If he is, he's on the right track.
His tweet warning Americans that the cure could be "worse than the problem itself" and announcing an upcoming decision regarding the government's virus response hint at a change in direction.
"WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!," the nation's head of state wrote.
His tweet comes as the Republican-controlled Senate tries to push forward a $2 trillion stimulus bill aimed at preventing an economic collapse that looms ever closer as a result of state-mandated business closures throughout the country.
Democrats and Republicans are still ironing out the bill, with Democrats arguing the package doesn't do enough to help working-class Americans or to limit the use of taxpayer dollars by large corporations who receive assistance. The plan will involve sending a check to American households.
Government leaders have reason to be worried about the economic consequences of the current response. Some academics have projected the expected job loss could be on par with what America saw during the Great Depression.
The point to emphasize, one that so often seems lost in discussions about COVID-19 and the economy, is that it is not the virus impacting the economy. It's the government's handling of the situation - states and localities telling businesses to close their doors - that is causing the problem.
Along with the very real and very devastating effects on the economy are the long-term consequences for our rights and freedoms.
All across America, people are being prohibited from gathering in large groups. Curfews are being enacted. Businesses are being forced to suspend their activities. Alcohol sales are being restricted. Some places are even debating banning the sale of firearms.
Even with these restrictions in place, a panic-stricken public is unsatisfied. Trending social-media hashtags such as #LockdownFlorida, #LockdownTexas and other state-specific variants show that many Americans won't feel safe until everyone is forced to quarantine under threat of arrest.
Ironically, many of these chants come from the political left, which normally decries fascism but now wants unadulterated fascism for the ostensible aim of "flattening the curve."
The panic is conducive to another tenant of totalitarianism - censorship. After political strategist Aaron Ginn authored a data-filled article calling for "evidence over hysteria," a fury of outrage led the article being pulled from its original publisher, Medium (the piece is still viewable on other sites, such as Zero Hedge).
And what will be the end effect of the trillions in debt our country is incurring to address coronavirus? Besides being a huge tax burden left to our children and grandchildren (one far greater than $2 trillion once interest and inflation are taken into account), the panic-spending empowers those who want to control our country. The international banking establishment and foreign powers such as China will run to buy up more American debt.
The Federal Reserve, the central bank unanswerable to American voters, is increasing its control over our economy with the announced purchase of an unlimited amount of Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities.
All this is the cure - for what?
No one denies that some people are vulnerable to the virus's effects. But even mainstream news outlets such as the Associates Press find themselves forced to acknowledge the fact that outside of those whose immune systems are compromised, most who manage to catch COVID-19 will either be asymptomatic or merely experience mild symptoms from which they will recover in a matter of days - much as they would with the seasonal flu.
In one article, AP writes of "the spread of the coronavirus, which most people recover from but can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions."
The same article describes the experience of actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, who are isolated in Australia after testing positive for the virus. Hanks, 63, has described his symptoms as "no fever but the blahs." Wilson was well enough to post videos of herself reading and singing.
Certainly coronavirus is a serious matter. But if we have information telling us that a certain segment of the population - the elderly and immunocompromised - are the ones who are really threatened by COVID-19, the ones on whose behalf the whole country is shutting down, would it not be more logical to have them - and the professionals, family members, and caretakers who come in contact with them - be the ones to self-quarantine, while everyone else keeps the country running?
If a hundred people gather at an event, how does that put an elderly person at risk if none of those hundred come in contact with said elderly person? All that is needed is for the at-risk individual himself - and his family and doctor - to keep away from others.
With a smaller segment of society self-isolating, local and state governments could support affected businesses without the need of trillions from Washington.
Personal responsibility and informed personal decision-making should be overarching principles.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that just from October 2019 to March 2020, America has had 38,000,000-54,000,000 flu illnesses, 390,000-710,000 flu hospitalizations, and 23,000-59,000 flu deaths. Yet for all that, we don't require everyone to quarantine over the flu. We leave it to people as individuals and families to decide whether they want to go out and risk getting the flu or lie low until flu season is over.
Will President Trump's actions reflect this line of thinking when he reassesses the response in a couple weeks? If he does decide to change course, he will have to be willing to confront the powerful media narrative that seeks to shame elected officials into supporting authoritarianism by portraying them as murderers if they do anything less than a lockdown.
The coronavirus outbreak has taught us two things. First, the mainstream media still holds enormous power to influence the masses. Second, many Americans are all too eager to not only hand over their rights, but demand that the government take their rights away, when the first signs of trouble appear.