I can’t believe what I just watched on tv.
This evening’s briefing by the President was horrifying. Trump is being pushed on how the Federal government will address the grotesque situation in which state and city governments are compelled to bid against each other in the “free market” for PPEs, thus driving the price of gloves, masks, gowns etc. higher and higher. We’re getting production ramped up, he said, but we won’t intervene in the market. It’s up to the governors to have purchased these things in preparation or to purchase them now. ” We’re not an ordering clerk. We’re a back up and we’ve done an unbelievable job.”
Forty years of neoliberal Republicans give the President a standing ovation; the ghost of Roosevelt bows his head in shame; outside, in the streets, the protests are already beginning. Or is only the sound of chickens coming home to roost?
After all, the logic has been with us since the Reagan Revolution of the 80s. We can’t nationalize production and distribution in a time of crisis. That’s socialism. We can’t even set a fair price for the goods on an emergency basis and leave the governors to deal with the producers. That’s socialism too. NO, we’ll intervene to get production up and then allow the producers (“our base,” to quote Bush) to get the best price they can in a bidding war of each against each between the states. A war that will sap precious resources and insure the unequal distribution of crucial goods. That will cost lives, but that’s a cost that doesn’t count.
Wartime profiteering used to be a crime punishable by death. Now it’s just policy. And Trump is the Profiteer in Chief.