It’s probably not the “America First” that Donald Trump had in mind when he was on the campaign trail in 2016 — or maybe it was, at this point, who really knows?
As had been forecast for weeks, the United States has now surpassed China and Italy as the global hotspot for COVID-19 infections. When comparing the performance of different countries in combating the pandemic, as was noted in an earlier blog post, different geographic and cultural factors do come into play.
Regardless of where a country falls on the spectrum between personal freedom and collective responsibility, though, there has to be a balance. And that’s where the U.S. fails grievously in comparison with the rest of the developed world. Instead of providing a decent social safety net with proper health, education and material supports for its citizens, it’s this weird hybrid of a First World/Third World country.
And with COVID-19 in full-swing there, the nation’s inadequacies are on full (and shameful) display.
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it’s probably fair to say that few governments in the Western world have handled the crisis as well as it could have been handled. But the U.S. response, especially at the federal level, has been abysmal. Using his patented style of bully and insult politics, Trump has charted a months-long course of denial, disdain and duplicity in dealing with the reality of a global pandemic that has truly been incredible.
In the last two days, the U.S. has recorded over 26,000 new cases, which brings its total to 92,206 compared to China (81,340) and Italy (80,589). From hotspots such as New York, Seattle and San Francisco, the virus has begun to spread into other areas of the country such as Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia and Texas. So the case and fatality numbers are likely to climb much higher.
Rather than address that stark reality Trump has fantasized about getting the economy up and running again and seeing churches full at Easter. Using the outbreak as an excuse, the Trump administration has also waived the need for corporations to observe Environmental Protection Agency regulations on pollution that are designed to safeguard the environment and human health.
Basically, it’s the Shock Doctrine of American capitalism in action, where profits always get priority over people.