While reports from Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Moody’s all link a Biden presidency to a healthier economy and more powerful recovery, Donald Trump continues to peddle lies that the economy will collapse under Biden, stoking fears that people’s 401Ks will evaporate. He persists in these lies despite inheriting an economic recovery from Biden and President Barack Obama that featured record-setting consecutive monthly job growth.
Far from destroying the economy, Obama and Biden saved it, just as during the Great Recession they saved the thousands of jobs by bailing out the auto industry when a sizeable Republican contingent, including Mitt Romney, argued that faltering U.S. automakers should declare bankruptcy.
Moreover, despite unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression and despite the fact that 8 million more Americans have fallen into poverty since COVID-19 relief funding expired, Trump still persists in trying to fool working-class and middle-class Americans into believing he is somehow looking out for them.
His most recent heinous and humongous lie, broadcast at a super-spreader rally last Friday in Michigan, exemplifies his severe economic malfeasance and his continued assault and hating on American workers. Both are represented by the fact that he refuses to address the real economic suffering and humanly trying work conditions American workers, particularly healthcare workers, are enduring.
What was the lie?
Well, as he was once again downplaying the scope and seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, he then slanderously blamed doctors and healthcare workers for inflating the number of deaths resulting from COVID-19 in order to pad their own pockets. This is surely one of the most grotesque instances of projection yet from the president who has abused his office to enrich himself, even enabling genocide so he could make some money.
Here’s the unevidenced slander he spewed:
“Our doctors get more money if someone dies from Covid. You know that, right? I mean our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say ‘I’m sorry but everybody dies of Covid.”
“In Germany and other places, if you have a heart attack, or if you have cancer, you’re terminally ill, you catch Covid, they say you die of cancer, you died of heart attack. With us, when in doubt choose Covid. It’s true, no, it’s true. Now they’ll say ‘oh that’s terrible what he said,’ but that’s true. It’s like $2,000 more so you get more money.”
These statements are malicious lies that, again, highlight Trump’s failure to acknowledge and put in the work of creating policies and taking steps to address real economic suffering and workplace crisis in America.
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia blew up these malicious lies on Joy Reid’s MSNBC show Friday night, asserting: “No, doctors do not profit by listing someone as being covid positive on a death certificate. In fact, most doctors I know have seen cuts to their salary . . . and their hospitals suffer major financial losses.”
She highlighted that the American Hospital Association projects losses for U.S. hospitals reaching $320 billion by the end of 2020, explaining that when hospitals experience a surge, they have to shut down all other parts of the hospital and cancel other surgeries and procedures, meaning healthcare workers lose work. So, Trump’s refusal to recognize the reality of the pandemic and address it through a nationally coordinated plan, as opposed to spreading it at his rallies and encouraging behavior that spreads rather than protects against the virus, has actually hurt the employment conditions of healthcare workers and their economic well-being.
Dr. Bhadelia’s commentary followed a segment on Reid’s show featuring the traumatic working conditions for doctors, nurses, and other staff at a hospital in Billings, Montana. We know from numerous media accounts and representations, such as we see in the recent book A Pandemic Nurse’s Diary, written by the anonymous Nurse T with author Timothy Sheard, that healthcare workers have lacked the personal protective equipment they need as well as the equipment and resources they need to care properly for victims of the virus. As Nurse T recounts in the diary, often these workers are sequestered in hotels or must self-quarantine from their families to ensure they do not carry the virus from their workplaces and transmit it to others—in addition to working excruciatingly long hours under extremely dangerous conditions.
Trump doesn’t just ignore this reality.
Nor does he simply gloss over this reality pretending the economy is doing great and COVID-19 is not a problem, although he does gloss over this reality.
Nope. He has to go the extra mile and add insult to injury by actually slandering these workers.
Americans and American workers should recognize that Trump will never provide relief or recognition to them.
He seeks only further repression, and he gets a good way there simply by repressing their stories and the reality of our collective suffering.
Tim Libretti is a professor of U.S. literature and culture at a state university in Chicago. A long-time progressive voice, he has published many academic and journalistic articles on culture, class, race, gender, and politics, for which he has received awards from the Working Class Studies Association, the International Labor Communications Association, the National Federation of Press Women, and the Illinois Woman’s Press Association.
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