MANSFIELD: The Calculus of Death

Engaging in a deadly calculation that would cause Hitler and his henchmen to blush and smile were they still alive today, the tRump administration is apparently preparing to trade American lives for market share. Conservative economists and Fox News talking heads are in the president’s ear — countering what the medical experts are saying — whispering that it’s preferable to allow more citizens to die if that’s what it takes to keep the Dow Jones average moving in an upward direction.

One can suppose their diabolical logic is, “What’s the value of a few million lives of older Americans anyway … how much are they really worth in the grand scheme of things when compared to the wealth of the plutocrats that run the country?”

They’ve come to the conclusion that the continuation of social distancing as the main tool to fight the coronavirus — a strategy that is admittedly having a negative impact on commerce and causing millions to be without incomes — will soon crash the economy and cause a depression. So they are pressing tRump to put an end to the only practice that is guaranteed to “flatten the infection curve” in the shortest amount of time possible. They are arguing against the mandate that all individuals that are not engaged in essential services should shelter in place.

Similar to the battle that currently has Congress divided — whether to help Wall Street or Main Street — the pandemic is going to force citizens to decide which is more important: people or profits. We already know which side tRump is on. Make no mistake this is ultimately about his plans for reelection, he’s not concerned about human life.

But as my friend Steve Whiting states, “For the record, no one is blaming the president for the virus. Let me repeat, [the spread of the] COVID-19 virus is not Trump’s fault.” However, he then goes on to enumerate the steps the president has taken since assuming office that are now negatively impacting our ability to fight the virus. While he might not have caused the coronavirus, his actions since 2016 without a doubt have crippled our ability to respond to the pandemic in an effective manner.

“Trump declined to use the World Health Organization’s (WHO) test like other nations,” writes Whiting. “Back in January, over a month before the first COVID-19 case, the Chinese posted [information about] a new mysterious virus, and within a week, Berlin virologists had produced the first diagnostic test. By the end of February, the WHO shipped out tests to 60 countries. Oh, but not [to] our government. We declined the test even as a temporary bridge until the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) could create its own test.

“In 2018, Trump fired Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossart, whose job was to coordinate a response to global pandemics. He was not replaced. Also in 2018 Dr. Luciano Borio, the National Security Council’s (NSC) director for medical and bio-defense preparedness, left the job. He too was not replaced. In [the same year], at tRump’s direction, the CDC stopped funding epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries including China.

“And then in 2019 the NCS’s senior director for global health security and bio-defense, rear admiral Tim Ziemer, left the position. He was not replaced. Trump shut down the entire global Health Security and Bio-Defense Agency.

“Amid the explosive worldwide outbreak of the virus, tRump proposed a 19 percent cut to the budget of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention plus a 10 percent cut to Public Health Services and a 7 percent cut to Global Health Services. Those are the organizations that respond to public health threats. [Additionally] tRump didn’t appoint a doctor to oversee the U.S. response to the pandemic. He appointed Mike Pence.

“Repeat. We do not blame Trump for the virus. We blame him for gutting the nation’s preparations to deal with it. We blame him for bungling testing and allowing it to spread uninhibited. We blame him for wasting taxpayer money on applause lines at his rallies. We blame him for putting his own political life over American human life.”

Heaven help us all, since the president certainly will not; he’s too busy playing politics.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsIn

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