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article imageOp-Ed: Hard times — US GDP crashes, Congress rejects election delay

By Paul Wallis     Jul 30, 2020 in World
Washington - In what can only be described as an economic cliff jump, the US economic situation is now worse than the 2008 meltdown. Simultaneously, Congress has now rejected a suggestion by Donald Trump to delay the election.
The economic numbers for the United States economy are incredibly bad. The figures are devastating, and likely to get worse if the much-dreaded evictions scenario comes into play in a day or so, affecting anything up to 60 million American households.
Key indicators are nothing less than gruesome. About 30 million people are now receiving unemployment benefits due to lay-offs related to the pandemic. Consumer spending has tanked, badly as a result. Many businesses have a hideous choice of reopening, closing, or risking the thankless business finance environment in very uncertain times.
This situation hasn’t been improved by much umming and aahing regarding reviving the income support package for those out of work. That $600 was being used to pay bills. If those bills aren’t paid, US businesses will take another, very unambiguous hit. Now, even extending the jobless aid has failed.
The Federal Reserve’s financial supports have made the situation a lot less destructive than it otherwise would have been. The Fed has spent trillions of dollars to prop up the economy. The current horrific numbers would have been a lot worse without these measures.
On the ground, things are looking hopelessly confused for American businesses of all kinds. Rehiring is happening, but not quickly, for obvious reasons. The risks and outlays are tricky. Any kind of outlay, for wages or anything else, has to be done carefully, on paper-thin profit margins.
All this was correctly predicted months ago
The predictions were all right, and nobody gave a damn. Nobody is surprised. The economic warnings were all there. The predictions were right. The lethargic, not to say downright bizarre, US response to the pandemic was the sole cause of the meltdown. EVERY other country on Earth did a better job of managing the pandemic. ONLY the US sabotaged its own pandemic response by politicizing and polarizing a medical emergency.
The basic mechanics of properly managing an epidemic are systematic, consistent, and designed to shut down transmissions of the disease. The exact opposite was done in the US, with mindless calls for reopening triggering an even worse surge in infections. The US infections were going down to about mid-June, then went up drastically after the abortive reopening mania.
That was predicted, too, by just about everyone. An unknown disease, with an unknown cycle of infection, can’t be expected to just “stop”. This virus doesn’t appear to have a seasonal cycle. It doesn’t come and go; it sticks around. Regardless of not knowing that, America reopened, straight into the mouth of the pandemic and is now the most highly infected country on Earth.
Again, it was predicted that the reopening would risk disaster, and it did. This is what happens when you ignore the experts. It’s also what happens when you think politics and reality will somehow ever be on speaking terms with each other. The pandemic is now on track to have killed more Americans than 3 to 4 Vietnam Wars in 8 months than that war did in 11 years.
Congress rejects election delay
Donald Trump, the guy who can’t manage any adverse event, who can’t work with anyone for more than a few months or so, is the problem. He’s the guy who’s turned over more of his own appointees than anyone else and never had a straight line from any situation to a solution. In this case, it’s been like he made his own IED and set it off in his own home. His attacks on the CDC, testing, and any and all experts are a an equally predictable GPS record of his absolutely consistent string of failures from business to the White House.
Now Trump, who first called the pandemic a “hoax”, wants to delay the election due to pandemic risks and “electoral fraud”? Bad calls are his proven forte. Even the GOP has rejected that, despite truly grim poll numbers pointed straight at it. It’s unconstitutional. American elections are always held on time, regardless of the Civil War, the Depression, or anything else, even Donald Trump.
America’s hard times are only just starting
What’s needed to get the US out of this mess is competence, and a lot of it. The recovery will be slow, and tough. The hard times may have only just started, if the evictions moratorium isn’t ratified and jobless aid stops. It's a matter of days away from the crunch.
The choice is now Trump or America. Obviously, you can’t have both.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about US economy crash 2020, US economy pandemic impact, Trump calls for election delay 2020, Congress rejects election delay, Federal reserve
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