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Why are there so many coronavirus cases in the US? Show more Show less

The US now has more COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world. But why? The virus has taken hold at an alarming speed, outpacing other nations and leading to questions over its healthcare system, economy, capacity for state intervention and policy priorities. Is its spread symptomatic of other weaknesses?

Slow American political response Show more Show less

President Trump failed to acknowledge the coronavirus as a serious public health concern until it was too late.
(1 of 3 Positions) Next >

Putting the economy first

Prioritising economic growth at all costs has led to poor policy decisions.
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coronavirus economy health politics

Context

President Trump has repeatedly said the economy must come before public health. In one statement, the President declared "the cure...[cannot be] worse than the disease." His comments referred to restrictions on business and the subsequent tanking of the economy.

The Argument

Trump neglected to introduce lockdown measures on businesses despite pressure from experts. His reasoning was clear: he was not willing to sacrifice the economy for the sake of the people. As Anthony Panke writes, "The latest development in the president's critically flawed response to the pandemic is the false optimism that he has created by stating that the country "could open for business" by Easter."[1]. Throughout this crisis, the President has remained steadfast in his position that the economy must come first. At times, he has gone so far as to suggest citizens should sacrifice themselves to avoid plunging the country into a recession. Demetri Sevastopulo and Hannah Kuchler note, 'The president has received withering criticism from many Democrats and some Republicans over the slow federal response, the inadequate level of testing and his push to ease social distancing guidelines to rescue the sinking economy'[2]. This gross mismanagement of a country in crisis, and dangerous policy priorities, have allowed the virus to spread at great speed.

Counter arguments

President Trump is known for his outbursts, many of which do not reflect the truth. Therefore, his statements cannot be taken as such. The President repeatedly stated the economy would be reopened for business at Easter. And yet, on March 30 the President retracted his comments - pushing the date back two weeks to the end of April. His statements to the press should then be seen as fanfare, rather than intention.] That much of the nation now in lockdown speaks volumes. Above all, it indicates that Trump's 'economy first' pronunciations have little in common with his policy decisions.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Defeating the virus requires urgent public health reform [P2] The government is prioritising the economy

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The government is not prioritising the economy

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/trump-prioritising-economy-vulnerable-200326063423807.html
  2. https://www.ft.com/content/80aa0b58-7010-11ea-9bca-bf503995cd6f

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 09:44 UTC