Unintended Consequences

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(Unintended Consequences)

Sometimes things are done with the best of intentions. And sometimes those things done have produced results far different than intended. A classic example is the harsh retributions imposed on Germany after WWI. The retributions were felt by most, if not all German citizens and made their lives very difficult. The restrictions imposed on Germany were intended to prevent them from being able to wage war again. It had the opposite effect. A major factor of Hitler’s rise to power were his opposition to those retributions. His ignoring many articles in the Treaty of Versailles which Germany was forced to sign at the war’s conclusion made Hitler very popular among the German people which ultimately led to WWII. Another example came soon after the sinking of the Titanic. It was determined that if the Titanic had many more lifeboats many lives would have been spared. A law was passed with good intentions to require ships to carry enough lifeboats for everyone. All ships had to be retrofitted to accommodate the additional lifeboats. The SS Eastland was a badly-designed, ungainly vessel at the best of times. The extra weight of several additional lifeboats crammed onto her top deck turned her into an unstable death trap. On July 24, 1915, just yards from her moorings on the Chicago River, she tilted alarmingly, took on water, and rolled over in just twenty-feet of water and many individuals were trapped below decks.

Two years ago the Trump administration fired the CDC team responsible for planning responses to pandemics. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-fire-pandemic-team/ . You will find some far right websites try to refute this but the evidence is overwhelming. That ill-advised firing has had some very detrimental consequences.

America is reacting to the spread of the Corona Virus. As I am writing this column, schools are being closed; major events are being postponed or canceled. Sporting events have been canceled. Even some casinos are closing. When the first inkling of an outbreak of a deadly virus occurred late last year in China, a decision was made by the Trump administration not to use the available testing kits being successfully used by South Korea and Italy. Instead of using available working test kits which had a foreign origin, a decision was made to try to develop our own. You know, Made in America, which supposedly meant our kits would be better. But that decision has resulted in a delay in getting an adequate number of testing kits out to where they are needed. The Vice President said last week that a million kits had been distributed, but as of this writing, only 9,000 people have been tested compared to over 200,000 in South Korea. The unintended consequence of thinking “Made in America” might be better has resulted in a much more rapid spread of the virus. The virus might have ultimately spread anyway but it undoubtedly spread faster and further. Another of the unintended consequences of firing the planning committee and the failure to use proven test kits is the closing of events and schools and casinos. And the consequences of these closings is the lost income of so many employees, most of whom live paycheck to paycheck, the concession employees, the ushers, etc. Many of those will suffer from a missed paycheck, not to mention the lost profit of the business themselves. The financial losses because of this administration not being prepared will be in the trillions. Cruise lines, airlines, the NBA, the NFL, casinos, smaller businesses that rely upon those larger businesses will suffer enormous losses. All of this because this administration was and is fixated on the present and not on the future.

The school closings, while necessary to slow down the spread of the virus, will lead to further unintended consequences. Unfortunately, many school children get their only good meal of the day at school, so the children of poor parents will become further malnourished and more susceptible to catching the virus. The consequences of not having universal health care means some people who do not have insurance and worry about having to pay for the test will not get tested. The backlog created by not reacting quickly and correctly to this threat means more delays in testing. You and I could catch the Coronavirus from someone who could have tested but for whatever reason was not.

This administration has proven themselves incapable of handling a crisis. Let’s hope there isn’t another one in the next ten months when it comes time to vote in November, vote for someone who has proven themselves able to manage, who truly cares about everyone having affordable access to health care. Your life just may depend upon it.

Dick Gale

President of the Democrats of Hemet – San Jacinto

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