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Thomas Gallatin / Mar. 24, 2020

Trump Signals Determination in Face of Growing Pandemic

The president sees the country back to work in a matter of weeks, not months.

On Monday, President Donald Trump asserted that he would like to see the country open for business in a matter of weeks, not months. “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,” Trump argued. “We have to open our country because [not doing so] causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems. … Life is fragile, and economies are fragile.”

Trump further defended his position, arguing, “You have tremendous responsibility. We have jobs. … People get tremendous anxiety and depression, and you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies. You have death probably in far greater numbers than the numbers we are talking about with regard to the virus.”

The president’s senior economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, backed up his assessment: “We can’t shut in the economy. The economic cost to individuals is just too great. The president is right. The cure can’t be worse than the disease, and we’re going to have to make some difficult trade-offs.”

The mainstream media has been keen to play up the dilemma by claiming that Trump’s economic concerns are out of step with medical experts who warn that the threat posed by the China Virus pandemic is just beginning and will get much worse before it gets better.

However, Trump’s economic concerns are legitimate and echo the opinions of many Americans, especially those who find themselves out of a job, holed up at home, and wondering how they’ll pay the bills — especially when congressional Democrats elect to put partisan politics before the needs of the American people.

In fact, it is likely that one of the primary reasons behind much of the mainstream media’s criticism of Trump for his economic concerns is that his approval rating is rising. That can be most directly tied to his handling of the China Virus pandemic, as the most recent ABC News/Ipsos poll finds Trump with a 55% approval rating on the crisis — a dramatic increase over recent weeks. It appears clear that Trump’s daily press conferences informing the public of his administration’s actions to combat the pandemic have been welcomed by a majority of Americans. Quite simply, they see the president leading this fight.

Also on Monday, Trump signed an executive order forbidding price gouging and hoarding critical supplies. Attorney General William Bar explained, “Under section 102 of the Defense Production Act, the president has authorized to prohibit the hoarding of needed resources by designating those materials as scarce or as materials whose supply would be threatened by persons accumulating excessive amounts. Once specific materials are so designated, persons are prohibited from accumulating those items in excess of reasonable, personal or business needs, or for the purpose of selling them in excess of prevailing market prices.” However, Barr also assured that this order did not apply to people who have stockpiled large amounts of toilet paper, nor to those individuals who have long prior prepared by accumulating large amounts of goods for personal consumption.

Finally, the Trump administration will for the first time use the Defense Production Act to procure 60,000 coronavirus test kits, following Trump’s invoking of the law last week even as he downplayed wanting to use it. “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” Trump noted on Sunday, “The concept of nationalizing our businesses is not a good concept.” However, he did anticipate that “we may have to use it someplace along the chain.” Well, it appears clear that point has now been reached.

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