- - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Conservatives and libertarians around the country are becoming increasingly uneasy about what Washington is doing to our economy. Before the coronavirus struck many were anxious about the Swamp packing another $1 trillion of debt into our deficit. Now Washington is talking about spending close to $2 trillion to treat the coronavirus, which would be $1 trillion or $2 trillion that we do not have. 

At the president’s daily briefing, one thing we never hear is concern about the staggering debt that we now have, and the staggering debt our leaders are contemplating taking on. The Democrats showed restraint. They showed it for about 15 minutes last week, and then began showing their really wanton lust for power.

They claimed to be speaking for common citizens, but in terms of responding to powerful interests they revealed that their palms were being greased by unions, special interests and every outfit lobbying for the green revolution. I have seen proposals for unprecedented collective-bargaining powers, for union representation on boards of directors, for increased fuel emissions standards for airlines and expansion of wind and solar tax credits. 

All supposedly to cure the coronavirus. The Democrats fear that they lost Crazy Bernie’s revolution in this election cycle. They seem to think they can win it now thanks to the coronavirus. Make no mistake about it. The package of goodies they have been suggesting from the Hill constitutes a revolution.

Now perhaps the counter-revolution has begun, and it is being led by Donald Trump. He tweeted late Sunday night that “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” And he went on, “At the end of the 15-day period, we will make a decision as to what way we want to go.”



My spies tell me, the president has been listening to the right people in and around the White House. America is not a hospital ward. America is a vast country with the most successful economy ever. It is a capitalist economy. From time to time it is hit by unforeseen misfortunes. This time it was hit by an unforeseen virus, but the economy must go on. 

The state we had arrived at by last weekend was explained cogently by Bob Luddy, the CEO and founder of CaptiveAire, in The American Spectator on Monday. He wrote: “Our leaders are creating an economic crisis and a major national security risk with limited data. The cure is far worse than any perceived impact by COVID-19.”

He urged that Americans be allowed to go back to work, and there is reason to believe that his solution is viable. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times featured a story about Nobel laureate Michael Levitt of Stanford University. He had analyzed the cases of COVID-19 throughout the world. He correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus epidemic long before any health experts had predicted it would. His estimates on China’s eventual infected and dead were amazingly accurate.

In an interview with the LA Times he cautioned that, “What we need is to control the panic.” He was almost insouciant about the virus, saying “We’re going to be fine.” Is it possible to coax Professor Levitt to join President Trump for his daily press conference? 

What is more, the president and the FDA commissioner announced late last week that the FDA had approved the “compassionate use” of an antimalarial drug, chloroquine, to treat patients infected with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). It has been used since the 1940s to treat and prevent malaria, and it has been used more recently to treat HIV and autoimmune disease.

It began being used this week in New York City, and Donald is optimistic about it effects. That is enough for me. Give it a try, and that is not all. In France, the infectious disease expert Professor Didier Raoult has had success with two other treatments for COVID-19: hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Mr. Raoult’s results will take a while, but we ought to have the results in on the chloroquine very soon.

Whatever the case, we need not destroy our economy over this pandemic. Bob Luddy ended his piece with this hortatory coda. He wrote, “I urge our President Trump to speak to Americans from a Midwest manufacturing plant, away from the Swamp, and appeal to all governors and Americans to overcome their fears, take reasonable precautions, but America must be open for business by March 30.”

• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author most recently of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.

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