Expressing optimism about the immediate future of the economy, President Trump said Thursday that he believed the U.S. would see a “big bounce” once the coronavirus pandemic shutdown was in the rearview mirror. At the daily coronavirus taskforce briefing, Trump said that even though things in the job force look grim now – 16.8 million Americans have reportedly filed for unemployment so far – he was confident that things would turn around in a hurry once social distancing measures are lifted.
“The economy is just going to do very well,” Trump said. “I think we’re going to have a big bounce. We’re going to open up very strong.”
Trump is the eternal optimist, of course, but while we don’t doubt his commitment to seeing the country through to the other side of this crisis…things are certainly not looking good right now. The latest numbers from the Labor Department show that an additional 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last week, businesses are shuttered across the country, and it’s still not entirely clear how the course of this virus will go. Trump is reportedly working on plans to re-open the economy in May, but that flies in the face of some public health experts’ advice.
Also unclear: If Trump does go forward with a recommendation to open things back up, how many people will listen? It’s just a striking dichotomy when you’ve got Trump talking about everyone going back to work on the one hand and the CDC saying we shouldn’t leave the house without a face mask on the other. One day, Dr. Fauci is telling us that 200,000 Americans will die even if we practice perfect social distancing. The next day, we see that the models have been revised downward and less than 60,000 people will die? One day, New York is setting up field hospitals in Central Park, the next they’re taking them down after treating zero coronavirus patients. None of this makes any sense whatsoever.
Fact is, we’re working with imperfect information…and that’s putting it mildly. Coronavirus testing has still not ramped up to the level we need to really get a grasp of how widespread this thing is. We need antibody testing to go deeply into the U.S. population and figure out how many people have already recovered from this illness, are now immune, and can return to work without further delay. Unfortunately, useless federal regulations are standing in the way.
Is anyone really eager to go to Disney World right now? Or sit in a packed baseball stadium?
America is resilient as hell, and we share Trump’s optimism that things will bounce back. But until we are all on the same page; i.e. not hearing one crazy thing about 18 month lockdowns one day and hearing that we’re all going back to work the next…then we’re not sure it’s going to happen really soon.
Uncertainty breeds fear, and uncertainty is practically all we see these days.