Now would be a great time for President Trump to put down his cell phone and be a leader. I’m not saying he is not, but we do not see it yet. I think everyone understands Trump’s feelings on the coronavirus. He made this clear on Monday downplaying the virus in his tweets. He got many reactions, but one stood out very clear.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 9, 2020
I completely agree with Ben here. Before you assume that I am anti-Trump or a never Trumper, you should read many of my other writings. In this instance, however, President Trump needs to put down the cell phone and just stop. He did take a step toward this late on Monday and into Tuesday with his efforts in asking Congress for payroll tax help.
Reports are that President Trump asked for the payroll tax to go to 0% for the remainder of the year. Some have indicated he may have asked for this to be permanent. Either way, it would give a boost to an economy that has been in free fall for many days now amid virus concerns. The biggest concern for many people is the potential for lost wages amid mandatory quarantine or shut down. It continues to highlight how Americans are not prepared for disaster events.
But it’s just not the American people, it’s American business as well. The administration is contemplating a stimulus package to help the oil industry after the recent market developments. This would be a horrible idea, as all government bailouts are. While we were not producing content during the time, I described to many people the horrible idea of bank bailouts during the Bush administration and the auto bailouts during the Obama administration.
Government intervention in private business has never helped a situation. In the GM situation, the federal government lost over $10 billion. Recently, I have brought up a lot of the actions from the FDR administration. All of that government intervention extended the Great Depression and caused more issues than help. Extreme caution must be exercised in any government intervention in this situation.
President Trump has taken a hardline stance on the virus, but needs to step out and do something different. Main stream media are attacking calling this his Katrina. I do not believe that is necessarily the case, but he certainly needs to change his current plan. He turned this over to VP Pence to lead, but the panic is still widespread.
He needs to share with the American people that this is a serious virus. I agree, you are most likely to recover from the virus than to die from it. The CDC and others have indicated this through statistics. It does not change the fact that it’s a virus that is more deadly than the flu (by current statistics) and has led to extreme sickness and worry among Americans.
Much of this worry comes at the cause of the main stream media. The media hype among the virus coverage has been insane. Yes, we need to pay attention to the virus, but the media has caused widespread panic, misinformation and confusion among many Americans. This is where President Trump can play an important role. Rather than tweeting as he did above, he should share the CDC information about precautions and what to do.
One of the things that won the media coverage on Tuesday was the New York Governor sending the National Guard out for coronavirus. Multiple Democratic governors are declaring states of emergency and continuing the panic. President Trump could put a lot of this to rest, but he has held the hardline stance that this is merely a flu type of virus. That’s simply not true from all we know about COVID-19.
I fully expect President Trump to change his position on the virus in the coming days and to start pushing for more calm. He may address the American people in the coming days to highlight what the government is doing. He can highlight the fact that the death rate is low and that those infected are likely to recover. But he also needs to be real that there are some difficult choices and hard times that may lie ahead. This will go much further for him than the chaos that the media is creating.
He has shown in challenging times when he is being questioned that he can be a strong leader. I think back to the times he was questioned on Iran, but he resolved it. I think back to the trade war with China. He won that too. Now, we need that strong leader to step out of the middle of the chaos once again.
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