The Latest MAGA Nonsense: “Grandparents Would be Willing to Die to Save the Economy for their Children”

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This latest bit of Republican absurdity came from Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick:

Later Glenn Beck got in on the act:

This is evil. And wrong. And crazy.

I. Evil

First, let’s talk about the evil part. They are so scared of a stock market crash that they literally want people to die to prevent it. They seem to think it’s okay to let people die if they’re grandparents.

It’s not okay to let grandparents die. “I was willing to die to save my grandson’s portfolio” is not in the range of normal.

Moreover, it’s not just older people. Today the first person under twelve died. This virus, unchecked, can get more deadly. Entire communities could be devastated by illness and death.

When the hospitals are overloaded, what happens to people who are in routine accidents? Let them die too? Because we want to save the stock market?

Deliberately allowing people to die is just evil.

II. Wrong

Next, the logic is wrong. Returning to life as normal, or sending elderly people out to do the work on the theory that they are expendable will not save the economy. Letting the virus spread will prevent the economy from returning to normal.

It’s not like we can bury a few grandparents and then watch the stock market (or the GDP) grow.

Do they really think people are going to say, “Let’s go to the amusement park! We may get sick and grandma may die, but hey! We’re helping the economy!” Or “I’m over 60, so I’ll just go to work. I’ll probably die but I’ll know I was keeping the economy going, but hey, I’m doing it for my children.”

The Trump administration has been artificially pumping up the economy, leveraging it the way Trump leverages his properties. The market was due for a drop. I think the Trump-FOX-GOP plan was to try to keep the bubble intact until after the November elections.

The virus popped the bubble.

III. Crazy

It’s also flat out crazy. Who thinks like that?

We should be figuring out how to work together to get through a few months of social distancing.

Besides, not all industries are hurting. Amazon is hiring. Grocery stores are hiring.

Hotels, however, are hurting badly.

We know what’s really going on.

Who owns Amazon? Jeff Bezos. Trump hate Bezos.

Who “owns” Hotels? Trump. (“Owns” is in quotation marks because he’s leveraged to the hilt. It’s all debt.)

Yesterday the Washington Post reported that 6 of Trump’s most profitable hotels are shuttered. Trump is worried about his empire going belly up.

The recession around the corner could bankrupt the Trumps. They are more vulnerable than most. Because they have so much debt, there is no actual value propping up the Trump “empire.”

The hotel and golf course business are the first to fall when the market goes down, and the last to go up. The Trumps know they are in trouble.

Exactly! It can be a tremendous bankruptcy. The most beautiful bankruptcy. Much better than Obama could have done.

Some Trump supporters told me we must save the economy “at any cost.” (at any cost = people dying),

Dear Trump Supporters: Wanna know what’s tanking the economy? Trump’s handling of this situation. Yup, that’s right. Shut him up and put a professional in charge.

The country has enough resources to get through a few slow months. Not all industries will be affected.

This is not a matter of choosing whether Grandma dies or whether we all implode. Letting Grandma die will not save the economy.

(I cannot believe I’m having this discussion, but I am.)

To be clear, people died in the depression because of the crisis created by the failure of the banks, which happened because of the laissez-faire economic policies of the Hoover (conservative) presidency. To to be clear, people stopped dying when FDR was elected and implemented his policies.

How did we get out of the Great Depression? We elected FDR who gave us the New Deal, which ushered in the era in which we had a true middle class (1950s).

I know the argument against this. “It wasn’t FDR that got us out of the Great Depression,” people say. “It was WWII.”

And why did the war get us out of the depression? Because conservatives prevented FDR from implementing all the programs he wanted, but the war allowed more spending. But the recovery mostly happened BEFORE the war.

We also figured out how to get out of the recession caused by Bush’s subprime mortgage debacle. We got out when we elected Obama and he tried to go back to FDR type programs. So if Trump keeps spooking the markets and they keep tanking, the country won’t fall apart beyond repair.

As long as we elect a Democrat in November.

I suspect it’s a desperate attempt to hold on to power in November.

I think Trump is persuaded that the state of the economy will determine whether he’s reelected, while high death toll from a virus this early won’t change the electoral math. He also thinks (wrongly) that if people will just go about their work the economy will go back to normal and he’ll get reelected—and so what if a bunch of people die.

It’s evil. And wrong. And crazy.

Originally posted on Musing about Law, Books, and Politics.
Re-posted with permission.


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Teri has written novels, short stories, nonfiction for both young readers and adults, and lots of legal briefs. She is currently writing an overlapping series of biographies called the Making of America. Her political commentary has appeared on the NBC Think Blog and CNN.com. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Slate Magazine, and Scope Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in the American Literary View, The Iowa Review, and others. For twelve years she maintained a private appellate law practice limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes with the ACLU that when the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled. She also believe with John Updike that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies. Teri lives with her family on the beautiful central coast in California.

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