05 May 2020

Why Trump is Re-Opening the Economy (And Why It Will End Badly)

You might be wondering why Trump announced the dissolution of the COVID task force on the day that we passed 70,000 deaths nationally. Every 3 to 4 days, another 10,000 Americans die. So why shift the focus to re-opening now?

He's got an election and he's trailing badly in the polls. How badly? Hoover is the last incumbent to trail by such a large margin. Trump has to turn things around and wants to look like he's addressing the economy before Friday's numbers come in.

Friday we will learn how many jobs were destroyed in the last month. It will be millions, dwarfing any previous month on record. The talking points for every politician and reporter will be, "Is this virus costing us too many jobs?" You watch. The fact that Trump shifted to reopening will actually make his poll numbers go up a couple of points.

But of course the virus could care less about his poll numbers. It will simply exploit more opportunities to spread as the country re-opens. Meanwhile, it will be tough to get people to shop, dine out, and mingle like they did in 2019 while the number dying is actually accelerating. Trump loves PR but hates actual executive responsibility. The PR boost he'll get for pushing to re-open the economy will fall as people realize that his impatience has given us the worst of both worlds: high death rates AND economic contraction. No healthy economy is going to emerge atop rampant spread of and fears of illness.

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