Will Trump Unleash Coronavirus Bailouts?

Will Trump Unleash Coronavirus Bailouts?

Thanks to American Thinker for posting March 8, 2020

The calls for federal government bailouts of industries hit hardest by the coronavirus—airlines and the shipping industry are the easiest to grasp—are going to grow louder, and within nine months of the 2020 election, President Trump—never a staunch limited government guy—is almost certainly going to lean toward some form of targeted federal government assistance.

In an otherwise booming economy, President Trump is just not going to sit still and let the MSM and his Democrat opponent run with stories of union workers in major industries being laid off in such ‘unfair’—meaning ‘not their fault/they don’t deserve this’—circumstances.

In an era when $23 trillion in debt is increasingly just a meaningless number (MSNBC hosts and NYT editorial board members can’t even grasp what $500M is), polling is likely to tell Trump that another appropriation of tens of billions of dollars to prop up large employers is just a normal, appropriate and reasonable step by a government dealing with an unforeseen crisis that clearly affects the national economy.

And if evidence starts to mount that the coronavirus is the product of communist China’s bio-weapon research gone astray, there may be a rising American sense that ‘we’ve been attacked in a bio-war, and there needs to be an all-in response by the American government and American people’ to come together to fight back—and that spirit justifies use of collective resources—i.e., taxpayer funding—to be increased and then wisely spread around big companies to maintain economic stability.

But this 50,000 foot narrative will obscure a whole lot of questions that deserve public attention as Americans shape America for the 21st century.

Is the right function of the federal government to be the insurer of last resort?

If the federal government is the insurer of last resort, to whom does its coverage extend? Thousands of businesses employing millions of Americans may suffer on a per capita basis as much or more than United Airlines—will they get aid, too? Independent of labor force implications, millions of American families may suffer loss in one form or another. Do they receive aid?

And of course, if there’s an argument for the federal government being the insurer of last resort against economic risk, it’s not a big step to expand the argument that the federal government ought to be the healthcare provider of last resort.

It’s not difficult to see the contours of the ‘slippery slope’ America is stepping onto as the coronavirus drags on. The principles of individual and private sector responsibility, and ‘limited government’, are profoundly at risk of eroding to the point of evisceration.

Panic-level fear is not conducive to wise decision-making. The MSM is fanning the panic, which ought to be the subject of a whole other line of inquiry regarding media responsibility.

The Trump-Pence administration needs to do everything possible to resist panic-based decisions about what the government ought to do, and support trust in the wisdom, creativity, initiative and resilience of the American people—as individuals and as part of the private sector of the economy—to overcome this challenge.

What exactly does that mean in terms of policy prescriptions going forward?   Hard to predict. But the point is that policy prescriptions will be different depending on whether officeholders in the federal government see themselves as overlords over the helpless masses, or temporary occupants of elective office in a mighty Republic filled with resourceful, freedom-loving people energized by their inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Sensible and far less costly solutions tend to bubble up from the grass roots from the latter; independence-numbing, cost-staggering complications tend to arise from the former.

No one with even a passing knowledge of history can fail to see that Americans are living in the proverbial ‘interesting’ and consequential times. Trump’s surprise election in 2016; the Deep State sabotage and coup attempts; the MSM off the deep end into willful deceit and raging partisanship; immigration controversies; fresh flashpoints in the Middle East; the advance of Big Tech as Big Brother in the worst ways imaginable; the climate change bogeyman; the UK and EU struggling with Islamization—and now the global coronavirus ‘pandemic’—this is an extraordinary lineup in the arc of human history.

Responding to all of this is not all about Donald Trump. It’s about America as the ‘shining city upon a hill’ keeping its bearings, and holding on to its founding ethos of individual freedom and responsibility under God. That’s where good policy originates.

The American people have never been sheep; they do not sit around waiting for their government shepherds to tell them what to do, or to protect them from the big, bad world. They can diagnose the dimensions of any problem, and figure out for themselves how to adjust and overcome. Here’s hoping President Trump and Vice President Pence remember that as they navigate through the coronavirus episode.

Eric Georgatos