In 2018, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates warned that the world should be “preparing for a pandemic in the same serious way it prepares for war.” Gates, whose foundation has invested heavily in global health, suggested staging simulations, war games, and preparedness exercises to simulate how diseases could spread and to identify the best response. Trump did the exact opposite by slashing funding for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its infectious disease research. The CDC was forced to cut its efforts in 39 out of 49 countries, resulting in the world being unprepared for the coronavirus. For fiscal year 2020, Trump proposed cutting the CDC budget even more ($1.3 billion), 20% below the 2019 level.

Trump proposed the CDC’s budget cuts to make up for some of the loss of revenue caused by his ill-conceived, disproportionate tax cuts for the wealthy, the cost of his symbolic wall and his over-the-top budget for the military. His tax cut for the wealthy triggered a sugar high that caused the stock markets to increase to unsustainable levels. But the fact that the coronavirus is not contained caused uncertainty, and markets do not like uncertainty. So, consequentially the stock market gave back much of those gains. Albeit, the economy was already slowing, and the market was and still is over-priced.

Trump promised that he would eliminate the entire national debt in eight years but in his first term (hopefully his last) he will have increased the debt by more than $4 billion. As the economy slows the debt will grow even more. Excessive debt consequentially causes our country’s responses to emergencies to be much less effective.

Neither Trump’s wall nor our overfunded military (all the king’s men) can prevent virulent pathogens from crossing our borders and spreading. For political reasons, Trump cares more about the market than he does about your health. So, he desperately wants to prevent you from hearing that a coronavirus pandemic is inevitable.

Meanwhile, Trumpty Dumpty sits precariously on his politically symbolic wall and laughs about how he has conned you. Will he fall? Probably!

Ron Hurst

Nacogdoches

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