It isn’t just that I disagree on policy that makes me angry with Republicans, it’s that they consistently fail and Democrats have to clean it up, then get blamed for spending what it takes to fix the problem. Once again we have Republicans leading the nation and again we see an abject failure to provide competent leadership in a crisis. Trump and his enablers in the legislature didn’t take the COVID-19 virus seriously at the outset and still haven’t taken the necessary steps to put industry to work on providing the basics needed to treat the soon-to-be deathly ill thousands of Americans.

Italy, which had its first cases Jan. 31, three weeks later had 76 confirmed cases. As of Sunday, there were more than 59,000 cases and 5,471 dead. The death rate is high because the Italians don’t have enough critical care beds and ventilators necessary to treat the massive number of sick people. Doctors there are being forced to decide who gets treated based on both likelihood of recovery and length of potential life left to live so older/sicker patients are only receiving minimal treatment to relieve pain because there simply aren’t enough resources to go around.

The United States had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on Jan. 21. So far there are more than 32,000 confirmed cases and 416 deaths. Given what we’re seeing in Italy, you’d think Trump would have used his authority to demand that U.S. industry ramp up production of materials necessary to treat Americans quickly.

For weeks, he said that governors should handle it and the White House wasn’t a shipping business. Just a week ago, he finally got around to invoking his powers on the Defense Production Act of 1950, which authorizes a president to prioritize materials for national defense and demand increased production including providing incentives to build more capacity.

All the while our doctors and nurses have been trying to make due with shortages of protective gear that is necessary to keep them safe while treating severely ill patients. It’s typical Republican day late and dollar short behavior.

On the economic side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is more worried that his campaign donors in the airline and hotel industries will suffer profit shortfalls than he is about skyrocketing unemployment figures for working stiffs like you and me. Many Americans are suddenly worrying whether or not they will have enough money to pay the rent or mortgage with enough left over to cover groceries.

McConnell’s proposal bails out big businesses that already got big tax breaks last year, 90% of which was used to buy back their own stock to raise share prices, which triggered bonuses for executives and leaves the rest of us to sink or swim on our own. Fortunately, Senate Democrats said that bill is a non-starter and are demanding that individuals get government support and industry can borrow money at the super-cheap rates currently available from banks.

While one of the Democratic sponsored bills Trump has signed requires that all Americans be able to get tested at no charge, that doesn’t help with paying for treatment if you’re one of the 5 million Texans without health insurance and you require hospitalization for COVID-19. Texas has twice the national average of uninsured and the main reason is our Republican governor and state legislature refuses to expand Medicaid.

If Americans are smart, nine months from now Joe Biden will take office and begin steering in the right direction. Of course, Republicans will then complain about the cost and the national debt.

JC Dufresne is a liberal activist and current member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, representing Senate District 25.

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(2) comments


Another partisan column filled with "isms"!


Nancy Pelosi is the reason the economic stimulus plan proposals aren't passing; $25B for USPS, $100 M to combat violence against women , $35M for Kennedy Center and the list goes on! The president wasn't going for it and I hope you don't either!

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