Why Larry Kudlow’s “war bonds” idea would be a total disaster

Right now, President Trump is keen on selling himself as a “war-time president.” That purely political gimmick has transitioned from being a metaphor – “we are fighting an invisible enemy” – into a pervasive trait of his strategy.

He used war-time powers to take over manufacturing facilities from private industry. This would have been a good idea if hospitals were ever going to be overwhelmed to the degree the terrible models the administration is using suggested, but instead it mostly put people out of work.

He has the Army setting up make-shift hospitals, which is a good thing, and they are obviously trained to do exactly this sort of construction in war zones. But the reality is, most hospitals are not overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. In fact, hospitals are laying off staff because they were directed to cancel the elective procedures that make up the bulk of their revenues.

Then he started parading his generals at press conferences to pump up the idea of this being akin to a world war, as if the generals could aim a missile at the virus or something. He put someone from the Pentagon at the head of the coronavirus relief distribution oversight board, until he decided the chap was a Democratic plant days later and fired him.

Now his economic advisor Larry Kudlow is trying to take that military metaphor to its (il)logical conclusion by proposing that the US government issue war bonds. I’m kind of shocked Kudlow is this ignorant, to be honest.

For those who do not have a background in finance and economics, here is an excellent, succinct explanation of why this is totally insane from someone at Bloomberg:

I’m a die-hard, lifelong conservative, and I am aggressively starting to lose confidence in what’s coming out of the White House these days. This behavior is getting increasingly unacceptable and it’s hurting our country in demonstrable ways. This is not an endorsement of how Democrats are behaving, either. But they have always been destructive and hysterical.

The solution to our economic crisis is self-evident: put people back to work. We are in this position because people in areas that are not affected by the coronavirus in any meaningful way are being held hostage by events in the country’s grossest (from a public health perspective) zip codes. Pumping up the panic, inflating mortality statistics, using a manufactured crisis to nationalize everything, then churning out ideas like war bonds…. This is not a conservative administration.

3 thoughts on “Why Larry Kudlow’s “war bonds” idea would be a total disaster

  1. I suspect that the intel community may have thought this was bioterror out of China and overreacted, spinning Trump. Maybe it’s even a hoax, to bolster war fever against China. Check out the CDC data on the 2017-8 flu which killed 61,000 (estimated quite recently at 80,000 but since revised down, after sickening 45M, 21M of whom sought a doctor and 810K of whom were hospitalized). The numbers on deaths are always greatly exaggerated to start with and are only refined usually downwards later, after more detail data come in and get incorporated. If you look at the deaths in NYC, the average daily is 158. It is not yet clear that this flu is much more than a particularly nasty one that may not even be as bad as the one we all suffered without comment in 2017-8.

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    1. By average daily I mean from all causes, based on an official NYC data sheet that says that there is a death every 9.1 minutes in NYC, typically.

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  2. So I have been wondering about the intelligence community’s role in all of this too. In a press conference days ago, Birx suggested that the White House had received a briefing by intelligence officials over the weekend and that was backed up by a Bloomberg piece saying that the CIA had demonstrable evidence that China was not being forthright in their data. This supposedly led Birx to convert to the most dire projections for the spread of illness here, claiming that they believed the Chinese propaganda (which should be immediately disqualifying for them, IMO). Even now, they are predicting that this is the week infections are supposed to peak (when they are actually in dramatic decline).

    I try not to traffic in conspiracy theories about the intelligence community (I think they are more incompetent than evil) but, seriously, if they had information on that why were they not giving the president briefings on it in, I dunno, November? Why did that suddenly become a thing months after the fact?

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