Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Paul Krugman asks why Republicans, on the verge of an election, aren't trying to solve any of America's problems.
One thing that’s clear ... is that Republicans — not just Donald Trump, but his whole party — are acting as if there’s no tomorrow. Or, more precisely, they’re acting as if there’s no next year.

... consider the large (and illegal) indoor rally Trump held Sunday in Nevada.

Before the release of Bob Woodward’s new book, you might have argued that Trump doesn’t believe the science and didn’t realize that his event might well sicken and kill many people. But we now know that he’s well aware of the risks, and has been all along. He just doesn’t care.

Or consider Trump’s weeks of silence and inaction on the wildfires ravaging Western states.

... those states account for almost 19 percent of the U.S. economy; you might think that he’d care about the damage they’re suffering, which will spill over to the rest of the country. But he clearly doesn’t.

... nothing has been done to alleviate either the suffering of unemployed Americans — who lost much of the benefits that were sustaining them at the end of July — or the looming fiscal crisis of state and local governments.

... it’s as if Republicans don’t expect to win, and they figure that if they do, they’ll deal with the mess somehow.
I'm sure many Republicans don't believe they'll win in November. But Donald Trump clearly believes he can win, or at least remain in office by some means -- in a hundred different ways, he's working to manipulate the outcome of the election so Biden can't become president. And he might win legitimately.

Trump and other Republicans know this, and yet if they do win, they're leaving themselves a flaming wreck of a country to govern. Why?

Well, why not? One of the lessons Republicans -- and the plutocrats they serve -- have learned over the past few decades is that when something terrible happens in America, there are no consequences for them. Maybe some Republicans are voted out of office (at which point they become lobbyists for their wealthy patrons). But they don't go hungry. Their quality of life doesn't suffer. And certainly their plutocrat masters never experience a decline in their quality of life.

Do you blame rich Republican donors for thinking they can always escape the consequences when bad thing happen in America? The Great Recession didn't really hurt them. The coronavirus recession isn't hurting them. They can dodge the coronavirus itself by living full-time at their massive weekend houses. They're white, so they're never going to suffer the fate of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. Urban unrest generally bypasses their mansions.

The last two Republican presidents have been rich scions who were failures for much of their lives and never really suffered as a result. Donald Trump has run many businesses into the ground, and was once nearly a billion dollars in debt -- and yet he's always lived like a prince. George W. Bush never accomplished a thing in the first forty years of his life -- but he never missed a meal. This is moral hazard of the worst kind. This is what leads a person to say, Sure, let's invade Iraq -- what's the worst that can happen? or Yes, there's a dealy virus in America that could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, but it interferes with my reelection strategy, so I'll just play it down. If even the worst mistakes you've made in your life have never really hurt you, you'll believe that nothing you do to anyone is particularly consequential.

Not every Republican politician is rich -- but they identify with the rich. And the rich don't care about the possible consequences of bad choices because, in the past forty years or so, they haven't had to. So of course they're not worried about what happens to America.

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