Friday, December 4, 2020

What Happens When A Government Does Nothing

Once a battleground state, Iowa has slipped further into the grasp of the "free range sociopaths" that characterize the Republican Party today.  Trying to outdo their neighbors to the northwest in South Dakota and their dangerous governor Kristi Noem, Iowa's own craven Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, has been a case study in how not to use the power of government to protect its vulnerable (except for a certain class of its citizens):

The story of the coronavirus in this state is one of government inaction in the name of freedom and personal responsibility. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has followed President Donald Trump’s lead in downplaying the virus’s seriousness. She never imposed a full stay-at-home order for the state and allowed bars and restaurants to open much earlier than in other places. She imposed a mask mandate for the first time this month—one that health-care professionals consider comically ineffectual—and has questioned the science behind wearing masks at all. Through the month of November, Iowa vacillated between 1,700 and 5,500 cases every day. This week, the state’s test-positivity rate reached 50 percent. Iowa is what happens when a government does basically nothing to stop the spread of a deadly virus.

“In a lot of ways, Iowa is serving as the control group of what not to do,” Eli Perencevich, an infectious-disease doctor at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, told me. Although cases dropped in late November—a possible result of a warm spell in Iowa—Perencevich and other public-health experts predict that the state’s lax political leadership will result in a “super peak” over the holidays, and thousands of preventable deaths in the weeks to come. “We know the storm’s coming,” Perencevich said. “You can see it on the horizon.” [snip]

Iowa’s problem is not that residents don’t want to do the right thing, or that they have some kind of unique disregard for the health of their neighbors. Instead, they looked to elected leaders they trust to tell them how to navigate this crisis, and those leaders, including Trump and Reynolds, told them they didn’t need to do much at all...

The article provides heart- wrenching stories of the health care providers who are being "sapped" and "used to death" in their heroic efforts to tend to a growing tsunami of coronavirus patients in Iowa hospitals -- a tsunami that could have been largely avoided with leadership from government at the state and federal levels.  We see their stories, and those of the victims of the virus, and the toll its taking on millions of families across the country.  And we get very angry;  angry at the malicious incompetence and the political servility to the shitstain currently in the White (Supremacist) House;  angry at the selfishness and lack of social consciousness that holds that a mask represents a loss of freedom and not an act of love and regard for your fellow citizens.

But Reynolds and Republicans are very proactive and anxious to use government when they want to maintain the health of a certain segment of their constituency, especially if when in their political interest to do so:

U.S. farm profit in 2020 will rise to a seven-year high after government-aid payments doubled amid the coronavirus pandemic and trade disputes, the Department of Agriculture said.

President Donald Trump regularly promoted his farm-aid initiatives as he appealed to his rural political base. He announced a second round of coronavirus relief for farmers at a campaign rally in the battleground state of Wisconsin seven weeks before the election.

U.S. net farm income this year will jump 43% to $119.6 billion, the highest inflation-adjusted level since 2013, the government said Wednesday in a report. The projected surge occurred as the virus pandemic roiled the food-supply chain in the spring, driving grain prices down and meat costs higher.

Now, we're not anti- farmer (many of our ancestors were farmers), just pro- good government -- which, it's safe to say, is not generally characteristic of Republican regimes (mottoes: "Afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable," "government is for grifting," "party before country").  It should not go without notice that, had farm state Republican governors dealt with the pandemic forcefully in the first place, there might not have been a need to bail out (and then some) farmers with billions of dollars in subsidies.

The simple point we want to make here is that leaders are supposed to be responsible for all their constituents, not just the ones whose votes they need.  But when your model at the national level is the sociopathic, malicious Mango Mussolini, you're likely to follow his lead as a transactional, tribal political hack.  And when it comes to using government for the general welfare, it's all about you and yours feeding at the government trough and to hell with the rest.

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