By M.A. Saki

Trump ‘could not have been more wrong’ on coronavirus: analyst

April 18, 2020 - 9:8

TEHRAN – American political analyst Martin Love believes that President Donald Trump has had a bad performance in handling the coronavirus crisis, saying, “He could not have been more wrong” on the pandemic.

“Spread of Covid-19 is occurring in the U.S. like in no other country,” Love tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.
 
Love says, “Some countries have managed the crises better than others, and most are managing their own crises better than the U.S. is currently doing.”

Following is the text of the interview:

Question: Reportedly, people are queuing up in the U.S. to get free food. If true, what does this suggest?

Answer: There have been numerous reports of so-called “food banks” handing out basic food to those in need in the U.S. One recent report cited a four-mile long line of cars waiting to visit a "food bank" in the state of Illinois. I imagine people have lined up in places across the country for help because some 22 million people lost their jobs by some reports, and this is bad news because for a majority of the population few have much savings and many jobs created since the last economic recession were not high paying jobs and the so-called “middle class” in the U.S. has been reduced significantly in the past 30 years so while good, manufacturing jobs have been out sourced to countries where labor has been cheaper, like in China. The country is already in a deep recession and unemployment looks like it is going to eclipse the unemployment rates during the Depression in the 1930s. Some economists have predicted an unemployment rate in the U.S. above 30 percent. During the Depression in the 1930s the unemployment rate did not get above about 25 percent of workers.

“The risk of a serious fracture if not breakdown of American society has never been greater.”

Q: Are these things the consequences of capitalism in which a very small percentage, or better say "one percent", keeps everything in its possession. 

A: Every time there has been an economic recession in the past 20 to 30 years wealth has shifted to top five to ten percent of the U.S. population, and the gap between the 1 percent and all the rest is larger than it ever has been at least since the start of the Depression in the early 1930s. Capitalism under the “Neo-liberal” definition or practice of it has for the most part been a failure, as we are witnessing in the U.S. right now.

Q: Don't you think that the weaknesses of capitalism are being laid bare more evidently in such situations?

A: Yes, and a socialist system seems at present to be the only way out of this economic mess for now, but it appears so far that most of the largesse from the creation of yet more trillions in “money” by the Federal Reserve Bank in the U.S. has once again been mostly directed to cover losses by the rich and Wall Street. Something is very wrong when the stock market goes up after recent market losses at the same time that unemployment rockets higher like never before. Average citizens have been offered a mere $1200 as a one-time emergency payment when what is needed is vastly more for the American people. The risk of a serious fracture if not breakdown of American society has never been greater. A country that maintains over 800 military bases across the world and spends almost a trillion dollars on military appropriations and cannot even provide a reasonable and inexpensive health care system that meets the needs of most Americans is insane.

“Capitalism under the ‘Neo-liberal’ definition or practice of it has for the most part been a failure, as we are witnessing in the U.S. right now.’

Q: Socialism is being constantly attacked by that capitalists. However, in a country in which avaricious capitalism does not talk first, the public should enjoy a minimum standards of living, having a home (no matter how small it is) and have access to free healthcare. In view of such realities, don't you think that the capitalism must be controlled?

A: Absolutely, and something has to give. It’s hard to imagine how the U.S. can carry on when the so-called “American dream” has been put out of reach for so many citizens over the past three decades. The U.S. is essentially broke in some respects, and simply printing up fiat money in the trillions may result in hyperinflation in this decade ahead. 

Q: What are the reasons that the Americans are purchasing record-breaking numbers of guns?

A: Some Americans like to think of themselves as rugged individualists for whom government control is considered anathema, and they seem to have an interest in owning guns. Others are criminals or psychos who get some sort of macho kick out of gun ownership. Others may simply be homeowners who want to protect their property. One reason for the purchase of guns is because the government frequently threatens to clamp down on gun ownership and therefore guns are sometimes considered prized possessions. The U.S. has incarcerated more people than any other country, often for minor offenses, and there is no question there is more crime in the U.S. than most anyplace else. The idea that ONLY the government or its agencies can own firearms is not popular.

Q: Also, do you think that the statistics given by the U.S. about Covid-19 victims are true, especially as officials in Washington keep accusing Iran of covering up the extent of the crisis at home?

A: Note that the spread of Covid-19 is occurring in the U.S. like in no other country. The number of cases is now well over 670,000 and probably much, much higher because so few have been tested for the disease. President Trump back in January utterly failed to prepare for the spread of the disease and suggested it was just something that would soon “go away”. He could not have been more wrong. Iran, by accounts that many have read, has done a relatively better job containing the crisis even in the face of scant medical resources, because of sanctions.

A country that maintains over 800 military bases across the world and spends almost a trillion dollars on military appropriations and cannot even provide a reasonable and inexpensive health care system that meets the needs of most Americans is insane.

Q: Do you also believe that the world in general failed to contain the virus?

A: Nothing like Covid-19 has appeared in 100 years and the sole comparison might be the “Spanish flu” that wreaked havoc at the end of World War 1. Some countries have managed the crises better than others, and most are managing their own crises better than the U.S. is currently doing.

Q: What is your assessment of the handling of the virus by the Trump administration?

A: The Trump Administration has been a failure so far in handling the crisis.

Q: It seems that East Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea, have been acting more successfully in containing the virus than the U.S. and European countries. What are the reasons?

A: This is quite true so far. Overall, the reason for it is that the U.S. has been preoccupied with maintaining its “empire” and even its equity markets and has not addressed the needs of most Americans. Some 80 percent of the U.S. population have not benefitted by the record equity valuations engineered by Wall Street and the Federal Reserve, because they don’t own stocks. The notion of “trickle down” economics has been, if anything, a false concept since it was first instituted by the Reagan Administration back in the 1980s. 

Q: How do you see the post-Coronavirus world?

A: This is a tough question. Huge changes are going to occur by necessity in many countries, and one would say especially, in time, in the U.S. — if the U.S. wants to maintain any kind of leadership in the world and any kind of decent standard of living for most of its citizens.

 

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