NOTICE: Of necessity this column will contain a word that violates my normal PG rating for articles.
As the evidence mounts that Trump knew of the coming coronavirus pandemic at least as early as January of this year yet chose to ignore it the irony that one of the hardest hit industries to date is the restaurant industry, considering that Trump ignored one of its guiding principles: The 6 P’s – Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance, is striking. Let’s explore.
Dining in a crowded restaurant packed with patrons is simply inadvisable at this point in time as much as many of us would like to do so. It is actually legal to do so in a handful of red states and will be in a few more in a matter of days. That does not change the fact that doing so is imprudent action. (In another irony prudence is actually a conservative principle. While Trump and the far right seek legitimacy behind the term “conservative” they seldom are.) It is also immoral in that you endanger the lives of everyone else you come in contact with. Actions like opening up too soon are adding at least a month to my prudent “confinement to quarters”.
Prudently run restaurants are facing insolvency as they try to stay alive by effectively becoming combination take out joints/grocers. Mom and pop operations will be the biggest percentage of causalities even as they have work the hardest and do the best job of whenever possible retaining employees by turning servers into carhops, etc.
Large, well connected chains are utilizing loopholes to suck up funds intended to keep the mom and pops afloat. The banks are the conduits to the funding and they will take care of their big dollar (deposits and existing loan) customers first. They will get to the mom and pops whose loans are often secured by the owner’s houses later, at which point the money has often dried up. When will true small businesspeople come to the realization that Republicans – especially this current version of them – do not care about them? They are only exploiting them for their votes and support. The American economy in general is 70% consumer demand. Mom and pop operations generally are close to 100% consumer demand. As they are currently learning the hard way without customers they don’t have a business.
Another victim in the making is the Post Office (USPS). The USPS’s financial problems date back to the lame duck Republican controlled Congress of 2006. To punish the postal unions for supporting the Democrats in the 2006 mid-term election during which the Republicans lost control they enacted legislation making the USPS fund 75 years’ worth of pension obligations in 10 years and continue funding it at that rate. An elephant may never forget, but today the “herd” is just acting like a bunch of asses.
Today Trump has two additional motivations. He (falsely) believes that the USPS is giving Amazon a special deal which keeps the latter alive. (Trump hates Amazon because it is owned by Jeff Bezos who also owns the Washington Post which, to use a Harry Truman expression, tells the truth on him.) If Trump can sufficiently starve the USPS he hopes to create a fire sale where his financiers can buy up parts of the operation on the cheap.
Despite jokes to the contrary the USPS is one of the most efficient and cost effective operations in America. It is needed more than ever as Americans depend on its service for important, efficient, reliable and economical deliveries very much including medicine. Like the census (another target of radical Republicans) the postal service is actually part of the original text of the Constitution.
Opening back up will be tricky. I’m not quite old enough to have been part of it, but I certainly remember hearing tales of the polio scare. While there are pronounced differences there are certainly similarities. The reality is we will not be completely out of the “coronavirus woods” until a vaccine has been developed and is in wide use ala polio. Until then we will have to make due with taking prudent action which includes social distancing during spikes; both sides of them.
To a degree Trump took over the Republican Party but if you noticed it was without much of a fight. He filled a void the nutcases who control the current version of a once great center-right political party control created. I still maintain that ballots, much like cigarettes should come with a warning label. I suggest it reads: Caution: voting for Republicans may be hazardous to your health.
I am confident that we will again see the day when we can eat a leisurely meal in a restaurant without endangering our lives or those of the people we interact with. Those of us that survive Trump and his minions that is.
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