Sunday 5th of April 2020

amusing creative side-effects of your panic...

viru$

Whether the coronavirus has been designed or is an accidental infection, the political class got together around the world — with various “reactive” increments as not to appear as a choir “conspiracy” — to stem the problem with similar reactions nonetheless. Medicines that seem to work at eliminating the effect of the disease have been sidelined carefully, with “not properly tested yet” (except in China)...


One tell-tale is the way the “intelligence” agencies have been very quiet on the subject, that is to say that they have secretly supplied Western governments with the “official” lines, but leaving the governments to deal directly with media to sow (sell) the “panic”. Whatever it is, the PANIC does not need “proofs” from the intelligence networks, like those needed for “Saddam has weapons of Mass Destruction”. Doctors do the talking and spread the shit. Doctors who contradict the official spiel are sidelined in a jiffy.

Though the official prime target of the exercise is TO LIMIT THE INFECTION RATE and “SOLVE THE PROBLEM” at a later stage (no idea when), a few side-benefits (SIDE EFFECTS) have also cropped up for the benefit of the Empire…

Gus Leonisky, in his wise old-owl box — "without an ounce of sarcasm nor satire" (please!) exposes these SIDE EFFECTS of fighting the coronavirus, in random order:



DESTROY THE COMPETITION BETWEEN BOEING AND AIRBUS.
Boeing was suffering from a downgrade of its superiority by having produced some 737 max-8 crappy planes. Airbus was getting an advantage. This crisis resets the tourist industry to zero, including all civil plane manufacturers, and promotes the military plane industry in which Boeing and the other US manufacturers are leaders... 


ARREST GLOBALISATION

Globalisation was like a dilution of the Empire, where the to-and-fro of economic value could not be controlled efficiently anymore, despite some DRACONIAN "free-trade” agreements such as TPPs and TTPis in which the sovereignty of individual countries was compromised.
China, Russia and a few other countries, including India, did not want to play the game — compromising the one-way traffic of the Empire. The present crisis resets the anti-globalisation, while reinforcing the old-colonialism style of control.

 



CLOSE BORDERS TO MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
In Europe and the USA, migrants and refugees have become a pest. These people in search of a better life, considering that we bombed the bejesus out of their countries, demand the same rights as the local folks — and even ask for more freedom — often telling the locals to move out should they not like the newcomers. The next stage, when restrictions are lifted, will be to consider any migrant and refugee as virus infected.



INJECT MASSIVE AMOUNT OF CASH IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR
Since the GFC, the world financial system has been anaemic despite record stock market values. While the Democrats are trying to fiddle the books in their favour in the USA, the financial sector is going to benefit with massive injection of cash into the “community”. It’s just a matter of knowing how to control the drip-feed for the financial sector to suck a “reasonable” stream from the new “free” cash.



REDUCE FREEDOM
Quarantine, isolation, social distancing are the new normals of relationships. Your home is where you stay until the end of the 24 hour daily curfew… If you don’t have a home, you will be corralled into hospices and scrubbed till you look decent by dedicated do-gooders. Places of worship are closed. Pubs and gymnasiums are closed. Enjoy Netflix. 
Soon, you will need to print your ration book from the net and all your purchases in the restricted food supply shops (opened one hour a day) will be recorded to you, so you cannot cheat and get extra toilet paper rolls.



INDUCE FEAR
Fear is “control”. When people are fearless, they will not submit to the political demands. This is not acceptable to the system. You need to OBEY. The media is on overdrive to reinforce the message: if you roam the streets just to enjoy the fresh air, you are placing others in danger. You will be responsible for 2.3 deaths (mostly old people who don't know what day it is). You don’t want this on your conscience, DO YOU?



BELITTLE THE POOR — BY PROVIDING INEFFICIENT SUPPORT SYSTEMS
The promise of cash to help poor people, people who live day to day, people with only casual jobs, is commendable, but the services, like Centrelink, designed to help the cash being distributed are inefficient and designed to be so (see NDIS), as to make you beg several times before getting a slice of bread from the system. If you are on Newstart, you still need to provide evidence that you’ve made 40 demands of employment (there are NONE about) before getting a cent. 
As well, should you’ve been an adept survivor in the “cash economy” and your supply routes have dried up, you need to join the long queues and REGISTER to get (or not) your new benefit. You are now back on the official treadmill. While you were trying not to exist before, you cannot escape the system anymore.


DESTROY THE FREE-ARTISTIC SPIRIT
Some artists were getting soft in their turp bottle. Others were too demanding of the "Arts and Crafts” government handouts. Other, especially those surviving on the gig economy, were a pest as a hub of “freedom for this or that”  — unless they are like the Kardashians and playing to the latex industry (are the Kardashians artists or con-artists?) — including “freedom for Assange”. All artists are now reduced to begging in the street, or crawl at Centrelink (see above). 


PREVENT REVOLUTION
With a two-metre distancing, people become persons. Mass gatherings look like former Monet Sunday picnics in the Domains. Trying to froth up revolution is impossible as two people maximum are allowed in groups and with the two-metre rule, only the police, armed with machine guns and stunt-pistols, can roam the streets. Water cannons would be quaint against a revolution of two persons, but funny.
Stay at home and sulk. 


MAKE PEOPLE SUBMIT TO THE POLITICAL CLASS
The politicians have won this war against the people. The politicians are suppose to serve the people. Ahahah… You are shitting in your pants, praying that the political class is going to impose MORE DRACONIAN rules to prevent your neighbour looking over the fence, which you can now denounce like Jews were in France (or Poland) during "the occupation". The virus is in your head…
More SIDE-EFFECTS to come, including:

INCREASE ARMAMENT

GL.

more side-effects...

INCREASE ARMAMENT
Since the invention of the blunt stick — then sharpened — weaponry has been designed to gain an advantage over “enemies”… Throwing rocks isn’t enough, though the technique was still used recently by losers trying to fight police armed to the teeth, in the streets. Now, unless you wish to die from an authorised volley of bullets, with a funeral on YouTube — the cremation section — you follow orders like a good boy and stay at home.

Meanwhile the weapon manufacturing factories are humming hot. New hyperspeeding weapons are developed, more robots with self-assessing gizmo-centre will kill without asking questions, nor showing any PTSD nor remorse… Auto-drones are the future. Treaties have been cancelled. Sneezing could start WW3, but not yet — as more obsolete aircraft carriers and waterproof submarines armed with nukes, need to be built. The surface of the planet has been divided into various COMS, in which generals, admirals and staff COMMAND huge armies, navies and aircrafts that at the drop of a hat will fire at anything that moves… Invisible paint is in great demand...

Preppers in increasing numbers are like Rambo steroid-pumping bears living in caves lined with baked-beans cans. They are prepared to defend their treasure of toilet paper rolls to the last bullet OF THEIR MASSIVE ARSENAL. 


CREATE PANDEMONIUM IN COUNTRIES ALREADY SUFFERING FROM SANCTIONS and INDEBT POOR COUNTRIES TO THE HILT
Imagine that the World Bank and the IMF are generous enough to “give you” loans so you can fight the virus. Yours is a poor country with no hope of repaying a cent. But the loan is on offer so you can buy more advanced weapons than spears to control crowds and buy medicine which are not available yet. You might be able to buy respirators and hospital beds  — and US army surplus tents to house the lot — and pay US mercenaries obligato to guard them. You will be charitably given rolled oats… This is a private “joke” for Gus who spent time in Africa in the 1960s, and at one stage was placed in charge of guarding 15 tonnes of rolled oats charitably given by USAID (to really support the SUBSIDISED US farmers), that NONE OF THE LOCAL Africans wanted since they ate rice, millet and other abundant LOCAL foods.

Your country has already been under sanctions because your “socialistic” government has been efficiently INDEPENDENT of the clutches of the Empire. And to tell the truth, because you have been “isolated” for being recalcitrant, you haven’t seen a case of coronavirus yet, except a visiting diplomat from the USA. So in order to avoid this case spreading like wildfire, you have to take the loan or else. Poor, you become poorer and have to enslave your workers to manufacture for the Empire...



INCREASE POLICE POWERS
This isn’t new for many European countries, In Australia, where the police presence if often understated, except if you drink and drive, it could become a novelty… But, unlike Italy, where the carabinieris are roaming the streets in gangs (I mean groups), in Australia, the police presence is less needed. Aussies have learned “obedience”. They don’t have the biggest flocks of sheep for nothing. All the government(s) has(ve) to do is whistle. You see the trick with sheep-dogs on TV. Australia is the best breeeeeder of sheep-dogs and whistling pollies. Neo Zealanders might object to this biased statement but so be it. 


PROTECT THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY BY DECLARING A PANDEMIC
The hefty premiums you paid for protection in case of fire, flood and sickness are useless. An act of god, wars or a pandemic are exclusions mentioned in your contract (para4item5) of the small print. You did not bother read it because the typeface was really too small and the legal jargon was no better than blah blah blah. You’re sick? You’re stuffed, mate, unless you ask your doctor to fudge your certificate to say you have the clap instead… Less honourable but you can still collect the cash. If you die, you funeral insurance is in the same boat, though your body might get taken away through the night like in Italy — and burnt into Holocaust-style gas ovens...

This is why WHO declared a “pandemic” otherwise the insurance (gambling) industry was going down the gurgler… as well as to give governments “carte blanche” to lock everyone up...


GET RID OF THE OLD PEOPLE
If you don’t know it yet, despite the official warning that young people can contract the coronavirus, it’s old people who die. Your retirement village has been abandoned by the staff. You wonder deliriously when the Ruskies are going to enter your communal dining room and relieve the pain in your lungs and your hunger because you’ve not been fed for three days, by shooting everyone in a mercy-killing op. 


ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE ON THE INTERNET
Piss of cake… It’s already there. 


RESET THE VALUE OF OVERPRODUCTION TO NEAR ZERO
Overproduction was about to kill the value of stuff. The system was chasing its tail. Not enough consumers. Market saturation had been hidden by the hyperventilating stock market. Apart from the sales of guns and freezers to preppers and scared ordinary folks alike, there were far too many useless unsold goods on the market — too many couches gathering dust in the window displays. The recycling of clothes was also killing original fashion (see DESTROY THE FREE-ARTISTIC SPIRIT and the latex industry above). Christmas sales weren’t enough anymore to get rid of the stuff, especially "seconds". Who was going to reduce production? No-one except everyone together in extreme circumstances. There you are.

The booze industry mind you can still home-deliver... until the government clamps down in this as well. I hope you're well stocked.

———————
Next instalment:

Accidental "Advantages”:
REDUCTION OF POLLUTION
REDUCTION OF CO2 FOOTPRINT

how bad will it be?...

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019, which causes the disease COVID-19, was officially a “public health emergency of international concern.” At the time, there were cases confirmed in 19 countries and deaths in China had reached 170.

The very next day, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) published an article titled, “Coronavirus in the U.S.: How Bad Will It Be?”

“Is coronavirus worse than the flu?” it began. “No, not even close.”

“It already has spread from person-to-person in the U.S., but it probably won't go far,” ACSH added. “And the American healthcare system is excellent at dealing with this sort of problem.”

ACSH is one of several organizations promoting climate science denial that are now spreading misinformation on the coronavirus, with potentially deadly consequences.


American Council on Science and Health?

The ACSH presents itself to the public as a proponent of “peer-reviewed mainstream science,” in the words of the organization’s mission. Their experts have frequently been quoted in mainstream newspapers and magazines, and they pen columns criticizing journalists who write critically about companies like Monsanto. The group has received funding from oil giants including ExxonMobil, as well as from the agribusiness, chemical and tobacco industries to name a few.

When it comes to climate change, ACSH has published a steady stream of articles downplaying climate science and criticizing efforts to slow carbon emissions — even in the face of a mountain of peer-reviewed research on the climate crisis.

 

Read more:

https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/03/16/climate-science-deniers-downplayed...

 

Read from top.

 

 

Accidental "Advantages”:


REDUCTION OF POLLUTION
It should be noted with glee that apart from politicians' hot rambles, pollution has diminished remarkably under the lock-down measures. Happiness has also gone down the drain and some people could believe that this is the end of the world, or at least the end of civilisation. No more high-fives, no more kissing friends, not even seeing friends at home or at their place until the all-clear. 
No more planes in the sky above Sydney. Pity the employees of airlines who have just been stood down. Cars in the streets are few and far in between and one in two are with flashing lights and sirens blaring, possibly on the way to an incident of toilet paper rage at Woolies, aisle 11. 


REDUCTION OF CO2 FOOTPRINT
The death of the tourist industry and that of many other useless gadgets has been welcome by the Fresh Air Commissariat of Woopwoopville. After the dreadful bushfire smoke and their MASSIVE CO2 footprint — which according to decent climate change website was as bad as a year and a half of total Aussie emissions and more — something had to be done to reset the fake reduction. 
Actually, we’re still producing our average increase CO2 per annum, as some industries, especially coal and gas have been exempted from shutting down. You can’t touch people’s nails, but you can dig more coal than ever before. Go figure… Read above and from top.

 

a six trillion dollars bailout... !!!!!!

WASHINGTON — An emergency stimulus package to bailout the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic will total $6 trillion — a quarter of the entire country’s GDP, the White House said Tuesday.

Trump administration economist Larry Kudlow said the package would include $4 trillion in lending power for the Federal Reserve as well as a $2 trillion aid package currently being hammered out by Congress.

“This package will be the single largest main street assistance program in the history of the United States,” Kudlow said at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday evening.

Included in the package is Congress’ almost $2 trillion emergency bill which, when passed, will issue direct checks for American families, bailouts for the airline industry and a $350 billion loan program for struggling small businesses.

The other $4 trillion will allow the Federal Reserve to make huge emergency bailouts to whatever entity it chooses — a measure that was used to prop-up Wall Street firms from collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

“This legislation is urgently needed to bolster the economy,” Kudlow added, warning the economy had tough times ahead.

 

Read more:

https://nypost.com/2020/03/24/coronavirus-stimulus-package-to-exceed-6t-...

 

Read from top.

generosity of the parking meters...

No new parking fines will be issued across Brisbane City Council, effective immediately, with warnings left by council parking inspectors instead.

Brisbane lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said he didn't want to see people fined for parking, with the only times a fine will be issued for the forseeable future would be if a vehicle was parked dangerously.

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/parking-fines-halted-amid-bri...

 

read from top.

 

Am I am a satirist slowly sinking into a red pool of sarcasm? Sorry... Am I dizzy with thoughts ... or red ned? Life is turning upside up in a weird surrealistic fashion... Was Einstein a real guy who told us about relativity, or was he a speck of dust in our memory? Am I imagining being alive?... No more parking fines? Life has never been so good....

we are taken for fools...

 

This version is in French. I am chasing the original in German and a version in English:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBk9lMiQHuM&feature=youtu.be

 

See this again:

 

https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/25/watch-how-to-practice-proper-social-distancing-propagandawatch/

 

Read from top. Add the pharmaceutical industry, the pill makers and the GMO promoters to the list of profiteers. They will eventually make vaccination compulsory "when" they discover the vaccine "in a few months"... Imagine 7 billion kits of needles, sanitisers and accessories to be sold to governments worldwide... So far, THE TOTAL NUMBER OF DEAD PEOPLE TO THIS DATE, IS LOWER IN 2020 THAN IN 2018. Think about it. Still follow hygienic instruction, BUT DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD FROM YOUR GOVERNMENTS. This is the first instalment of global governance through WHO, in cahoot with the world leaders...

 

See also:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th5gg42rZbM

gus' prophecy's coming good...

This is a rush transcript and may contain errors. It will be updated.

Mark Steiner: Welcome to The Real News. I’m Mark Steiner. Great to have you all with this. It’s important to begin to examine what’s this coronavirus $2.2 trillion bailout package really means and what it doesn’t. Let’s start with a $17 billion bailout of Boeing that our guest Dean Baker did, and talked about in his blog for the Center for Economic and Policy Research. What strings were attached or were never even tied to it? And speaking of that, was Trump’s statement that he said he didn’t have to be overseen by the Inspector General and Congress, as how to spend the trillion dollars and where it would go.

Other countries have suspended student loans, mortgages, utility payments. And Spain is going even further and nationalized its hospital system. Now are we making much to do out of nothing here, or are we missing something really important? That’s why we’re about to talk to Dean Baker. And Dean, welcome back to The Real News. Good to have you with us.

Dean Baker: Thanks for having me on.

Mark Steiner: And just once again, let me remind you, Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, author of numerous books. His latest is Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured. And he writes the blog of Beat the Press, where he discusses the media’s coverage of economic issues. Let’s start what you started, which is this $17 billion loan to Boeing and what that really means, and what we’re missing in that conversation.

Dean Baker: Well, a couple of points here. First off, it is a loan, and I tried to be fair on this in my blog post. It’s, we aren’t handing them $17 billion. We’re lending them $17 billion. And presumably, they’ll pay it back. But the point here is, we’re lending it at well below the market interest rate. This is a common trick. As you could be sure that if people start to complain about this one, two, three years out, I don’t know how long Boeing will take to repay their loan… we’re going to hear, “Oh, we got paid back with a profit.” Well, that’s fine.

But the point here is, we’re giving it to them at below market interest rate. Every business person knows that’s a big concession. And a really big concession when we’re in a crisis as we are today. I just said, let’s assume that they’re getting a loan at five percentage points less than the market rate. I don’t know whether that’s right or wrong. Could be higher, could be lower, but good place to start. It’s in effect handing them $850 million. That’s a lot of tax payer dollars. But the main point I’d like to make there is that we are giving this to them at below market rate, and that’s often missed or will be missed when people say it got paid back with interest.

Now the other point is that, what are the conditions? Do they have to keep their workers on the payroll? Are they being prevented from paying out dividend share buy backs? Do they give their CEO $15 million? Their last CEO was a disaster, walked away with over $60 million. So the conditions aren’t very tough. The conditions in hearsay, they have to keep workers on and as much as practical. Well, that’s essentially meaningless. People know how to write binding language. That’s not binding, that’s basically a joke.

Mark Steiner: See, that’s really interesting. I was thinking of another issue that actually connects. We look at this $2.2 trillion bailout, and you look at the $17 million given to… Not given as you say. According to the article, it’s not given. Loaned to Boeing, with almost no strings attached in terms of how they can spend the money. And then you heard Trump say the other night that he no longer… he didn’t have to abide by the Inspector General, for the special Inspector General for the pandemic recovery. Tracking loans and guarantees and reporting to Congress. I mean, to me these are really tied together. When we look at this bailout, even though people are in a panic about the pandemic we’re facing, we can miss the point, the fine print that the public doesn’t see and what it could mean for us.

Dean Baker: Yeah. Well, we have an interest in protecting workers. Obviously, it’s not the workers at Boeing’s fault or the other businesses that are having to lay off workers. I’ve seen their markets just collapse in some cases, because they’re literally restaurants. They’re literally prohibited from being open. Many, perhaps in most states. So yeah, it’s not the workers’ fault here. We have a real interest in protecting the workers. We have no particular interest in protecting Boeing’s shareholders or that the CEO gets their $15 million or whatever that pay is, probably something like that. I’m not pulling it out of the air.

The point in putting in these restrictions, having a special Inspector General, was to try to make sure that as much as possible the money went to the workers. This is something, when Trump made a signing statement that he’s not going to cooperate, this was not a surprise. I mean, it was one of these things like, it was the least surprising thing I’ve probably seen in the last five years. He’s been spitting in the face of Congress for the last three years. How could they possibly think he was going to suddenly become a good citizen and cooperate with Congress?

I mean in a certain sense, I was glad he had this signing statement, because I was literally joking. I go, “How long after Congress passes this bill? Will it be before Trump and Mnuchin, in the Treasury Secretary, tell Congress to get lost?” Well, answer, as soon as they passed it. So nothing to argue about. It was not the least bit surprising. Many of us were yelling, you have to put anything in here, any bailout money has to be absolutely locked down. Here’s what it’s for. It can only be used for this. You go to jail if you use it for anything else. And they didn’t do that. And surprise, surprise, surprise. Donald Trump’s not cooperating.

Mark Steiner: I’m curious. You’ve been working at this for so long now. I’m just curious, your analysis of what could have been done instead? What could Democrats and others in opposition in Congress have done, and where does that lead us? Because it’s really easy to say, “Look. You shouldn’t be attacking me.”, says Donald Trump or any of the people around him, “Because we’re trying to fight this coronavirus, and you’re getting in our way of rebuilding the economy.” I mean, they have a really strong kind of PR point.

Dean Baker: Well-

Mark Steiner: Go ahead. Yeah.

Dean Baker: They have a strong PR point, because the Democrats are just… It’s joking. It’s like, it’s easy to win a football game if the other team doesn’t show up. The Democrats could have written this so that money went to workers. In Denmark and the U.K. I suspect in other countries as well, I know those two. The government is basically paying companies to pay their workers. They’ll pay Denmark’s case, 75%. U.K., I think it’s 80%. I mean, we want most of it. We could fight over the exact amount, but the money is paid to the companies to pay to their workers. Again, that’s very clear. So they could have done something along those lines. That was not done here.

Also, I don’t want to go into great length all the problems with this bailout a bill, but an obvious one is just that it doesn’t give anywhere near enough money to sustain local governments, who are seeing their revenue streams just totally collapse. There’s no sales tax revenue, income tax revenue. It’s plummeting. At the same time, demands for their services, particularly healthcare services, are growing through the roof. So there is money there. I think it was $175 billion, but that’s going to be nowhere near enough. They’ll probably need at least twice that to cover the hit to their economies.

Mark Steiner: Where do you think this kind of political economic struggle might go? I mean, it… I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Dean Baker: It would really depend on the ability of the Democrats to make hay of this. Again, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the Trump administration didn’t cooperate. They can go the other way. For example, what basically Trump has been saying throughout his administration, they don’t have any obligation to cooperate with Congress. And the courts play footsie. Yeah, we’ll decide this in five years when it’s moot.

But what they can do is, they could subpoena. They can get Boeing’s CEO, and they say, “Hey, we want to know exactly what you did.” So they can go the other way. But it really does require the Democrats to be aggressive and challenging priorities here. And while many Democrats, we know Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez… There are certainly progressive Democrats, Elizabeth Warren. Obviously, it’s a long list that might be prepared to do that. I worry very much. You have many in the more center swing of the party who don’t really mind seeing a lot of money going to Boeing with fewer, no strings attached.

But that’s really what the battle is going to be. Are you going to be able to challenge Trump on misusing public money? And of course, on larger crisis, it’s I have to say… I mean I’ve been following this fairly closely as I’m sure many people have, but it’s all we can do right now.

This is a disaster, and it’s Trump’s fault. And the idea that he would get up there and say we’re doing a great job, this is like the captain of the Titanic going, “Oh, yeah. Sure, the ship sank and however many people died. But we did get a lot of people off on lifeboats.” I mean, yeah. Good, you got them off on lifeboats, but it was your fault those people died. And that’s the story here with Donald Trump. So it’s good that he’s finally organized his task force, and they are doing some things to counter. That’s what they’re there for, that’s what the federal government exists for. But they’ve done an absolutely horrible job, and many more people are going to get sick and die because of his failures. And of course the economic consequences as we see, are enormous.

Mark Steiner: Maybe think of the… is, include this. What this might mean in a larger, broader sense longterm. I mean, the pandemic, you’re right. The United States had not jumped into a quickly enough to do the right things to ensure it didn’t spread the way it’s spreading at this moment. And then on the other hand, we look at the economy. In the American mindset and the press especially, when people think of the economy, they think of the stock market. They think of the larger GDP and not about workers’ lives and what happens in their lives, small businesses. How are we keep the economy floating and alive? I think that’s what’s missing here. There can be a double disaster, because it could be a health disaster. It also could kind of unfold into an economic disaster.

Dean Baker: Yeah. Well, a few things there. I mean, first off, this shows very much the problems with our healthcare system. I mean, first and foremost of course, this is a problem of failing to take the pandemic seriously. Which we did have people, certainly in the Obama administration, that that was their job to be on the lookout for pandemics. Trump has been saying no one could know. Well no, actually, people did know. You fired them. That has to be… everyone has to understand. Reasonably, we have this massive crisis here.

Trump fired the people whose job was to prevent this crisis. Yes, people did know. When he says no one could have known, he means, “I did know.” I, meaning, Donald Trump. The United States differs from basically every other wealthy country, in that people here don’t have insurance. Or if they do have insurance, they often have expensive copays. And that’s different than France, Canada, pick your country. Where they don’t have to worry that if they go to the hospital and get testing, they can’t afford the test or they can’t afford the treatment if they turn out positive. That’s at least not an issue for people everywhere else. That’s a really big deal.

Again, your point about the stock market. The stock market, it’s not that it’s an incomplete measure of society’s wellbeing. It’s not a measure at all. The stock market, this is economic orthodoxy. The stock market in principle is a measure of future corporate profits, and anything that increases corporate profits or is expected to increase corporate profits, should make the stock market go up. So when you have Donald Trump give a big corporate tax cut, well, that means future after-tax profits will be considerably higher. And that should make the stock market go up, which of course, it did. It doesn’t mean we’re better off. It just means that companies are going to have higher profits.

This idea that somehow we get a measure of the economy or people’s wellbeing by looking at the stock market, it’s not telling us that at all. I mean, it’s like looking at a baseball score and going, “Oh, the Yankees got 18 runs yesterday. Everyone’s doing real well.” Well, that doesn’t make any sense. And seeing the stock market go up doesn’t mean everyone’s doing well, and seeing it go down doesn’t mean we’re doing poorly.

Mark Steiner: Very quickly here at the end, tell us what would be a progressive alternative to what we are seeing happening now when it comes to dealing with this Covid-19, from the economic perspective? What could be proffered? There’s not being proffered?

Dean Baker: Well, a few things. As I said before, the key issue is keeping people employed. That’s got to be front and center. Secondly, dealing with healthcare. That is the problem right now. So making sure… One, that the people on the front lines, the providers, the doctors, the nurses, that they have the protective gear, the ventilators, the basic medical equipment. Also, we probably need more medical staff. I think it’s been kind of a tragedy. No one’s taken steps. We can’t train someone to be a nurse or doctor in two weeks. We could train someone to do basic tasks like changing bed and cleaning surfaces. We have people who are exhausted there. That seems to me, that would have been a really good thing to do.

And third point I’ll make, and I’m seeing some of this, and I think it’s just an incredible model. You’re seeing people around the world doing things like designing ventilators that they could make from simple materials, and they’re cheap and they’re putting it up on the web. We’re seeing advances on treatments and on vaccines that people are open sourcing. Incredibly important. Because the reason drugs and medical equipment are expensive, is because we have patent monopolies. If we open source this, we would both see quicker developments, because everyone would be sharing everything. And then when they did have a new ventilator, we did have a new drug in the public domain, they’d be cheap. I often say this, that drugs are cheap. People look at me like I’m a lunatic. The point is, they’re cheap to manufacture, cheap to distribute. We make them expensive by giving patent monopolies. That’s an incredibly foolish way to finance the research. So if we can make progress in that out of this disaster, that would be a really, really great thing.

Mark Steiner: Dean Baker, I appreciate the work you’ve done over the years. And joining us today, bringing us some light onto this for people to kind of wrestle with. We’ll stay on top of all this together, and I appreciate you taking the time on The Real News.

Dean Baker: Thanks for having me on, and stay safe there.

Mark Steiner: You, too. Always a pleasure to have you with us. And I’m Mark Steiner here for The Real News Network. Let us know what you think. Give us some ideas as well. Take care.

 

 

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