The Donald’s Disastrous Fourth Year— But Don’t Blame the Covid

This is an excerpt from David Stockmans book: Trump’s War on Capitalism.

The Donald’s fourth year  in  the  Oval  Office  was  a disaster. The US economy literally collapsed after  February 2020, but there is no  way that Donald Trump gets  a free  hall  pass  for  the Washington-instigated economic mayhem that transpired.

Trump’s original sin was his whole-hearted embrace from  the bully pulpit on  March 16 of the  “two  weeks  to flatten the  curve” scheme, which  was actually never  about two weeks.  It is now  evi- dent that Fauci’s  deputy came  back  from  China in February 2020 singing the praises of its brutal lockdowns in Wuhan.

Consequently, Washington’s incipient Virus Patrol was quickly assembled by Fauci et al. out  of the bowels of the Deep  State and set  about  imposing Chicom-style “non-pharmaceutical” policy interventions; that is, statist control schemes—across the  length and  breadth of America.

However, unlike any  actual Republican who  might have  occu- pied  the  Oval  Office  at  this  crucial moment—even a RINO like George Bush  Sr.—The  Donald was  constitutionally incapable of resisting the sweeping implementation and  indefinite extension of Fauci’s  two-weeks ploy  and  the reason isn’t hard to fathom. Trump was copacetic with these devastating assaults on personal liberty and private property because he accompanied them with  massive  fiscal and  monetary relief  and  bailout measures. And  while  these  egre- gious “stimmies” were  an anathema to conservative doctrine, they were right up the middle of The Donald’s philosophical fairway.

In fact,  the  record leaves  no  doubt that Trump never  cared a whit  about Federal spending and  borrowing. Likewise, he had rarely, if ever, mentioned the words “liberty” and  “limited govern- ment” in his entire adult life.

To the contrary, he had  been  a crude, anti-market protectionist since the 1970s and  had  an abiding fondness for easy money. After all,  Donald Trump had  literally gambled his  way  to  (dubious) paper wealth in the real estate sector via massive  accumulation of cheap debt fostered by the  Fed  after  the  mid-1990s. Without the Fed’s  printing press, in  fact,  The  Donald would have  never  got- ten  out  of Fred  Trump’s bailiwick in Queens, nor  have  remotely gained the  opportunity to  betray the  GOP’s core  principles on Federal spending and  borrowing.

As it happened, of course, Donald Trump had  quickly blown his dad’s  fortune by the early 1990s on his New Jersey  casino ven- tures and  the  Trump Shuttle, among other business failures. It was only  the  cheap money of Alan  Greenspan and  his  heirs  and assigns in  the  Eccles  Building that rescued The  Donald from  a one-way trip  to the bankruptcy courts, thereby eventually making possible his false claims  to be a successful businessman who knew how  to fix what  ailed  the American economy.

Indeed, it was this threadbare claim about his alleged business acumen that led to his freakish ascent to the  Oval  Office.  And we do mean freakish, as in utterly unlikely.

Thus,  after  The Donald got out  from  under his casino disasters in 1995 and  through 2016, the  price  of New  York  real  estate rose by  nearly 250 percent. At  the  same  time,  the  inflation-adjusted cost  of benchmark debt (ten-year UST) plunged from  nearly 4.0 percent to barely 0.4 percent. So if you were speculating with tons of debt, what  was not  to like  about the  lowest  interest rates  that the world has ever seen for an extended period of time?

Indeed, The  Donald became a rabid “low  interest man” for no  better reason than it had  conferred upon him  fabulous paper wealth for  essentially doing nothing more  than standing around the   basket,  building  monuments  with   OPM  (other  people’s money) to  his  own  insatiable ego.  So,  he  did  learn   something during 1995–2016—but it was the very opposite of what the GOP’s historic sound money principles were based upon.

Index of New York Real Estate Prices versus Inflation-Adjusted  Yield on 10-Year UST, 1995–2016.

Artificially cheap debt, of course, is the mortal enemy of capital markets efficiency,  productive investment on  main  street, and  sus- tainable growth of middle-class prosperity and living standards. But it is also toxic  to  the  financial culture, leading egomaniacal blow- hards like Donald Trump to believe that they are economic geniuses.

Accordingly, “Trump-O-Nomics” was mostly about The Donald’s ego-generated whims: tax  cuts  one  day,  spending boondoggles the  next, a great Mexican Wall  to  keep  out  willing workers, and  protectionist assaults on “Chiiina” for good measure.

Slaughtered in One Mighty Trumpian Fell Swoop

Consequently, in  March 2020 The  Donald was  not  about to  see his  “Greatest Economy Ever”  go  up  in  smoke, so  he  unhesitat- ingly  embraced what  should have  been  the  unthinkable for  any red-blooded conservative. To  wit,  what  soon  amounted to  more than $6 trillion of Covid relief bailouts, $5 trillion of balance sheet expansion at the Fed,  and  hundreds of billions of government-or- dered payment moratoriums for students, renters, mortgage bor- rowers, and  other debtors.

In a word, after  March 16,  2020  free  market rules, personal liberty/responsibility and  financial discipline got  slaughtered in one  mighty Trumpian fell swoop.

And  there is no  way that Donald Trump should be let off the hook, even  for  the  last  $2 trillion of this  spending bacchanalia, which  was ponied up  by Joe Biden as the  American Rescue Plan. After  all,  the heart of the  Biden plan was completion of another $2,000  stimmy grant which  had  first  been  demanded by  Trump himself in the run-up to the November election.

In a  word, Trump-O-Nomics heavily   mortgaged future tax- payers in  order to  buy-off   what   would otherwise have  been   a fierce  political reaction to  the  lockdowns. Laid-off  workers with a family  of four, for instance, easily  collected a total of $30,000 to $40,000 in stimmy checks, $600 per  week unemployment toppers, child  credits, and  other tax  breaks over  the  subsequent eighteen months.  Likewise, nearly twelve   million small   businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs  collected more  than $800 billion in PPP (paycheck protection program) loans, of which  $740 billion was forgiven!

And that’s  to say nothing of nearly $2 trillion of largesse which was parceled out  to state  and  local  governments, education insti- tutions, health-care agencies, and  non-profits of every way, shape and  form. The  amount of political acquiescence which  was  ulti- mately paid for with Uncle Sam’s badly overdrawn credit card  and the  Fed’s  printing press  money, therefore, was  truly  staggering. This  financial bacchanalia involved orders of magnitude greater fiscal  handouts  and   pork  barrels than  had   ever   before  been dreamed about on the banks of the Potomac.

What this  folly also  did  was drastically distort, misshape, and yo-yo  the  American economy in  ways  that will  cause   setbacks for  years  to  come. And  that disaster, which  is the  source of the present  financial and   economic turmoil,  is  the   real   legacy   of Trump-O-Nomics.

In the  meantime, the  GOP needs to either throw in the  towel on its traditional principles and  just  become the  second “govern- ment party” or run  like hell  from  Donald Trump and  the  baleful record they  helped him  compile during his term  in office.

The Caesarist Danger in Plain Sight

We   shouldn’t  mince  words.  Donald  Trump  is  unfit   for   the Presidency  (or   any   public  office)   because  he   is  the   ultimate Caesarist politician. He craves power in mega-doses purely for the satisfaction of his Brobdingnagian ego yet has virtually no policy principles that might constrain any  lunge into  state  action that strikes his fancy.

As  it  has  happened,  today’s stagflationary  economic mess, shipwrecked central bank, and  impending fiscal  calamity are  all the  fruits of exactly that kind of Caesarist aggrandizement of the state. We are referring, of course, to Trump’s disastrous final year in office when he endeavored to be the Great Man who vanquished the so-called Covid pandemic.

Indeed, that’s  how  we got  the  hellacious lockdowns, quaran- tines,  public hysteria, mask  mandates, and  foolhardy stampede into  forced mass  injections of an  unproven and  evidently unsafe vaccine.

To  be sure,  all of this  Covid-fighting mayhem was cooked up by  Deep  State apparatchiks led  by  Dr.  Fauci and  Dr.  Brix.  But they  got  turned loose  on the  American economy and  public only because The  Donald latched onto their misbegotten schemes to “stop the spread” as an opportunity for the Great Man in the Oval Office  to  rescue the  nation from  an  alleged existential threat to society.

Except, Covid wasn’t a black plague at  all  and  didn’t merit extraordinary Federal intervention. Any even  moderately princi- pled  conservative could have  found plenty of  evidence for  that truth in February and  March 2020 when  the  lockdowns and  pub- lic hysteria were being unleashed.

In the  first place, conservative principles would have  strongly militated against even  consideration of a coercive one-size-fits-all, state-driven mobilization of quarantines, lockdowns, testing, mask- ing, distancing, surveilling, snitching, and  ultimately mandated mass  vaxxing. That  would have  been  the  last resort option, mean- ing  that it  would have  taken overwhelming evidence of  a black plague style nightmare to even table these  totalitarian actions.

At the  same  time,  the  parallel excuse  that “the  staff made me do it” doesn’t let him  off the  hook, either. If Donald Trump had possessed even  a minimal regard for constitutional liberties and free  market principles, he  would never  have  green-lit Dr  Fauci and  his Virus Patrol and  the resulting tyranny they  erected virtu- ally overnight. And  most  especially he would not  have  tolerated their continuing assaults as the lockdowns dragged on for weeks and  months.

In this  context, the  one  thing we learned during our  days  in the  vicinity of  1600  Pennsylvania Avenue is that any  president, at  any  moment in  time,  and  with  respect to  any  issue  of public import, can call on the best  experts in the nation, including those who  might disagree with  each  other vehemently.

Yet in the early days of the pandemic—when the Virus Patrol’s terrible regime was being launched—The Donald was either a will- ing  participant or  negligently passive. He made no  effort  at  all to  consult experts outside of the  narrow circle  of power-hungry government apparatchiks (Fauci, Birx, Collins, Adams) who were paraded into  the  Oval  Office  by  his  dilettantish  son-in-law and knucklehead vice president.

From the  very beginning of the  pandemic, in fact,  there were legions of pedigreed epidemiologists and  other scientists like pro- fessors  John Ioannidis of Stanford, Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, Harvey Risch   of  Yale  and   Scott Atlas  of  the  Hoover Institute, among countless others, who  strongly opposed the  lockdown and  the sweeping set  of public health interventions which  accompanied it. Yet only Dr. Atlas made it to the vicinity of the Oval  Office, and then for  just  a few  months after  August 2020 when  the  die  was already cast.

Many of these  dissenting experts later  signed the  Great Barrington  Declaration in  October 2020,  which   correctly held that viruses cannot be  extinguished via  draconian quarantines and  other clumsy one-size-fits-all public health interventions.

From day  one,  therefore, the  logical course was  to  allow  the virus  to  spread its  own  natural immunity among the  public at large, and  to focus  available resources on the  small  minority that owing to  age,  compromised immune systems, or  comorbidities were vulnerable to severe  illness.

The ultimate evidence for  this  proposition is that among the 4.8  million Israelis who  had  tested positive for  the  Covid thru May 2023, there has not been a single Covid death in the population under fifty years  of age who  did  not  have  pre-existing comorbid- ities.  Not  one!

The  crucial significance of  this  stunning fact—  validated by Israeli public health authorities—cannot be gainsaid. It is flat-out impossible to  claim  a black plague style  emergency when  not  a single healthy person under fifty years  of age  in an  entire nation actually succumbed to  the  disease. And  we are  talking about a country that sits at the crossroads of human civilization, not  New Zealand, stranded all by its lonesome out  in the far Pacific.

In fact, that the Covid was not remotely a black plague style threat was known  from the earliest days. In addition to  decades of  scien- tific  knowledge about  the   proper  management of  virus-based pandemics, there existed the  screaming real-time evidence from the stranded Diamond Princess cruise  ship. The 3,711 souls  (2,666 passengers and  1,045 crew)  aboard skewed heavily  to the  elderly, but  the  survival rate  known in mid-March 2020 was 99.7 percent overall, and  100 percent for those under seventy years of age.

That’s  right. As of March 10, 2020, shortly before The Donald elected to  impose Chicom-style lockdowns on  American society, the ship  had  already been  quarantined for a month and  3,618 pas- sengers and  crew had  been  systematically tested and  tracked mul- tiple  times.

Among that population, 696 or 19 percent had  tested positive for Covid, but  410 or nearly three-fifths of these  were asymptom- atic.  Among the  8 percent (286)  who  became ill, the  overwhelm- ing share were only  mildly symptomatic. At that point, just  seven passengers—all over  seventy years  old—had died, a figure  which grew  only  slightly in the months ahead.

In short, just  0.19 percent of  an  elderly skewed population had  succumbed to  the  virus.   These  facts,  which   were  known to the  White House or certainly should have  been, made abso- lutely  clear  that the  Covid was no  black plague type  threat. In the  great scheme of  history, Donald Trump authorized lock- downs which  amounted to tearing up  the  constitution and  rip- ping apart daily  economic life  for  a public health matter that did  not  remotely approach the  status of an existential threat to society’s  survival.

To  the  contrary, from  the  beginning it  was  evident to  inde- pendent scientists that the  Covid-19 spread was an  intensive but manageable challenge to  America’s  one-at-a-time doctor/patient health-care system. The  CDC, FDA,  NIH, and   state   and   local public health departments were  only  needed to  dispense solid information per  their normal education role,  not  to  promulgate orders and  sweeping regulatory interventions into  every nook and cranny of the nation’s economic and  social  life.

So, the buck stops with  Donald Trump because he could have ended this  regulatory carnage at any moment, including before it was  actually launched. Unfortunately, basic  conservative politi- cal philosophy and Donald Trump had  never  chanced to become acquainted.

The Donald is and  always  has been  a raw power seeker  aiming to  satisfy  his  own  gargantuan ego  on  the  stage  of public office. When it comes  to policy  choices, he’s an agnostic who just flies by the  seat  of his ample britches, with  an  ear  keenly cocked for  the sound of applause from  the MAGA  peanut gallery.

Thus,  as late  as March 9, when  Birx,  Fauci, and  his  feckless son-in-law were  pressing hard for the  emergency declaration and lockdowns, Trump apparently had  not  yet heard the  roar  of the crowds. So, he tweeted that there was nothing to see with  respect to the Covid-19:

So last year 37,000 Americans died  from the common Flu. It aver- ages  between 27,000 and  70,000 per  year.  Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with  22 deaths. Think about that!

Apparently, he took his own advice  and  rethought the entire mat- ter virtually overnight. Two  days  later, on March 11, he was sing- ing an entirely opposite tune, tweeting that he was prepared to go to war against the virus.

Iamfullypreparedtousethefullpower oftheFederalGovernment to deal  with  our  current challenge of the CoronaVirus!

So  doing, however, The  Donald chose  an  immensely destructive route that compounded the harm wrought by these  sweeping pub- lic health interventions. Trump unleashed the  Virus  Patrol’s boot heels  on the  American public on March 16, and  then immediately embraced a fiscal and monetary compensation strategy that in essence said,  “shut it down, lock them up,  pay them off.”

In fact, in a tweet on March 18—just two days after he launched sweeping lockdowns across   the  nation—The Donald made the linkage abundantly clear:

For  the  people that are now  out  of work  because of the  import- ant and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars  and  restaurants, money will soon be coming to you. The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not  your  fault! Will be stronger than ever!

From that point on  it  was  Katie-bar-the-door when  it  came  to shutting down the economy and social life and curtailing personal freedom and  property rights. Yet Trump’s public health ukase was belied by the facts on the ground from  the very beginning.

The Six Nations of Covid

The  figures below reflect  “WITH-COVID” fatality rates  by  age cohort through December 31, 2020. Accordingly, they  betray no distortions from   vaccination rate   differentials which   may  have impacted the numbers thereafter.

We have  labeled these  age  cohorts the  Six  Nations of Covid. From practically day  one—April 2020—the  CDC  published these age cohort–based statistics on a weekly basis,  and  the relative mor- tality  rates  per 100,000 among the six groups never  really changed.

That  is  to  say,  the  risk  of  death was  approximately 9,300x higher  for   the   Great  Grandparents  Nation  during  the   ten months of the pandemic in 2020 than for the School Age Nation. Likewise, the Grandparents Nation risk of death WITH-COVID was 288x higher than that of the  Socializing Nation (age  fifteen to  twenty-four) and  15x higher than that of the  Core  Working Age Nation (age  twenty-five to fifty-four).

These  differentials are  so  flagrantly extreme as  to  debunk in one  fell  swoop the  “one  size  fits  all”  predicate of  the  Trumpian lockdowns and   related universal social  control interventions. In effect, Donald Trump’s public health version of martial law took the entire population hostage for the ineffectual protection of the few.

Moreover, these  same ratios were embedded in the weekly data as early as the second half of April  and  May 2020. To anyone who bothered to  examine “the  science,” they  literally trumpeted that the  Trump lockdowns were  dead wrong and  needed to  be  aban- doned forthwith. The  evidence was  always  there in  plain sight, week after  week during The Donald’s disastrous fourth year.

WITH-COVID Mortality  Rate  per  100,000  as of December 31,


School Age Nation (60.9 million age 0–14):  0.2.
Socializing Nation (43.0 million age 15–24): 1.4.
Core  Working Age Nation (128.6 million age 25–54): 21.0.
Near Retirement Nation (42.3 million age 55–64): 105.5.
Grandparents Nation (45.9 million age 65–84): 402.7.
Great Grandparents Nation (6.5 million age 85 years+): 1856.1.

As  time   went   on,   the   one-size-fits-all strategy  fostered  by  the Trump Administration became increasingly ludicrous in light of the evidence. The idea of closing gyms,  malls,  movies, bars, sports arenas, restaurants, and   other social  venues disproportionately frequented by young people was especially mocked by reality.

For  instance, from  a population of 43.0 million for the  fifteen to twenty-four age  cohort there had  been  just 602 deaths WITH- COVID as  of  December 31, 2020,  which  was  just  12 percent of the 4,912 deaths from  homicide alone, which  are recorded for this cohort on an annual basis  during an ordinary year.

So  it  was  not  only  not  rational but  a sign  of  pure derange- ment  to   be   closing  classrooms  and   quarantining  students  in their millions based on  WITH-COVID mortality rates  that were inconsequential when  compared to  the  ordinary hazards of life. For  instance, the  WITH-COVID mortality rate  of 1.4 per  100,000 was below the  rates  for notable but  rare  diseases among this  age cohort, such  as the  3.2 deaths per  100,000  due  to cancer and  2.2 per  100,000 due  to heart diseases.

The  fact  is, the  three leading causes  of death in the  fifteen  to twenty-four years  old  cohort in a typical year are traffic and  other accidents, suicides, and  homicides. Each  of these  result in  mor- tality  rates vastly  higher than the  Covid rates  of 2020. And  for all three categories combined, the  normal year-in  and  year-out mor- tality  rate of 52.7 per 100,000 is 38x higher than the WITH-COVID figure.

Mortality Rate per 100,000,  15–24 Years Cohort:

Homicide: 11.4.
Suicide: 14.5.
Auto  & other accidents: 31.3.
Total homicide, suicide & accidents: 52.7.

To be sure,  the proper solution of defaulting to laissez-faire at col- leges  and  universities elicited a shrieked “Killer Campus” charge from  the  Virus  Patrol at the  time,  but  that was always  nonsense. Gram and  Gramps didn’t  need to  attend homecoming weekend if they  believed themselves vulnerable and  the  grandkids could have  taken a Covid test  before showing up  for Christmas dinner with  them. And the same goes for the parents, who were at a frac- tion  of the risk faced  by grandparents and  great-grandparents.

As to  the  canard that infected students would have  brought Covid home to their parents, despite most  likely being asymptom- atic,  any  kind of rational risk  assessment said  otherwise. Indeed, the  risk  of death to  parents from  Covid-19 brought home by stu- dents during Thanksgiving weekend was  among the  least  of  the risk factors faced  by the thirty-five to fifty-four age cohort, ranking only slightly above suicide/homicide.

Mortality Rates for the 35–54 Age Cohort:

Cancers 60.5 per  100,000.
Accidents: 57.0 per  100,000.
Heart disease: 51.9 per  100,000.
WITH-COVID: 30.0  per 100,000.
Suicide/homicide: 17.8 per  100,000.

Sweden versus Australia Tells It All

We are now forty-two months on from the Donald’s foolish empow- erment of Dr.  Fauci and  his Virus  Patrol in mid-March 2020, and all doubt has been  removed. If there were two countries on planet Earth which  had  diametrically opposite policy  approaches with respect to the  Covid, it was Australia, which  degenerated into  an outright public health tyranny, and  Sweden, where  officials  kept their minds open to  the  facts  and   social  institutions—schools, churches, shops, theaters, malls, factories, etc.—open to the public.

The  graph  below, which   charts the  incidence of  confirmed Covid cases  on  a cumulative  basis, tell  you  all you  need to  know: Namely, that lockdowns and  other draconian social  control and quarantine measures can temporarily suppress the  spread—essen- tially   by  extinguishing human  social   interaction  entirely—but cannot keep  the genie  in the bottle indefinitely.

Thus,  as of November 26, 2021, Sweden had  recorded 114,000 confirmed “cases” per million people versus  just 8,000 per million in Australia, leading the Covidians to say, “We told  you so!”

The answer, of course, was not  so fast.  Either the  province of New South Wales and other heavily populated regions of Australia were  going to remain outdoor prisons forever, or the  lockdowns would eventually be lifted, and  the  virus  would do  what  respira- tory  viruses do—spread among most  of the population. And fast.

That’s  exactly what  happened, and  barely two  years  later  the results were crystal clear.  The cumulative rate  of cases per  million in Australia soared by 55x to 440,000 during the next  six hundred days!

Moreover, it’s not  as if the  late  eruption of cases  in Australia was owing to  the  nation being suddenly overrun with  anti-vaxx- ers. That’s  assuming that the  vaccines, as promised, actually stop the spread, which they  do not.

Still,  the  evidence shows   that Australia led  the  vaccination rate  parade, as well.  As of March 2023,  it had  administered  250 doses  per  100 people or slightly more  than the  240 doses  per  100 in Sweden and 202 in the US.

Another perspective is available via the excess  death statistics. The chart below tracks deaths from  all causes  per million popula- tion  compared to projections based on the most  recent pre-Covid years  and accumulates the  difference or  “excess”  for  the  entire period between March 2020 and  July 2023.

As it happened, the  rate  of excess  deaths for Sweden at 1,435 per  million was just  two-fifths of that for the United States (3,740 per   million) and   also  dramatically below that  for  most   other European countries, all of whom had  far more  draconian public health control regimes than Sweden.

But   don’t  tell   Donald  Trump.  From  day   one,   he   loudly denounced  Sweden for  abjuring lockdowns and   allowing per- sonal  freedom to  reign. On  April  30, 2020, The  Donald tweeted his culpable state  of mind in no uncertain terms:

Despite reports to the  contrary, Sweden is paying heavily  for its decision not  to  lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have  died there a  much higher number than the  neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206)  or  Denmark (443).  The United States made the correct decision!

Of  course, cancelling the  liberty and  taking the  property of the people wasn’t the President’s decision to make. The authors of the Constitution had  settled that 233 years earlier.

Then again, The Donald had  never  learned anything about the limits  of governance under a constitutional republic nor  the  sci- ence  that long  before April  30th  had  established that the  Covid was  no  black plague and  that suspending the  US  constitution was  utterly unjustified. The  chart below leaves  no  doubt that Donald Trump’s foolishness in bringing the  lockdowns upon the American people cannot be excused or forgiven.

Of  course, the  flaws in the  insane tsunami of numbers about tests,  case counts, hospital counts, death counts, and  heart-rend- ing  anecdotes about individual suffering and  loss  are  now  more than evident. But the single most  important thing to grasp is that when  it comes  to  the  heart of the  narrative—the alleged soaring death counts—the narrative is just  plain bogus.

The  undisputed  fact   is  that the   CDC   changed  rules   for causation on  death certificates in March 2020, so now  we havemno  idea  whatsoever whether the  1.1 million deaths reported to date  were deaths OF Covid or just  incidentally were departures from  this  mortal coil  WITH Covid. The  extensive well-docu- mented cases  of  hospital DOAs   from   heart attacks, gunshot wounds,  strangulation,  or   motorcycle accidents,  which   had tested positive before the  fatal   event   or  by  postmortem, are proof enough.

More importantly, what  we do know  is that not  even the pow- er-drunk apparatchiks at the  CDC  and  other wings  of the  federal public health apparatus found a way to change the total mortality counts from  all causes.

That’s  the  smoking gun  unless you  consider the  year  2003 to have been  an unbearable year of extraordinary death and  societal misery  in  America, to  wit:  the  age-adjusted death rate  from  all causes  in America during 2020 was actually 1.8 percent lower than it had  been  in 2003 and  nearly 11 percent lower than it had  been during what  has  heretofore been  understood to  be  the  benign year of 1990!

To be sure, there was a slight elevation of the all-causes mortal- ity rate  in 2020 relative to the immediately preceding years.  That’s because the  Covid did  disproportionately and  in some  ghoulish sense harvest the immunologically vulnerable elderly and  co-mor- bid  slightly ahead of the Grim Reaper’s ordinary schedule.

And  far  worse,  there were  also  extraordinary deaths in  2020 among the  less  Covid-vulnerable population  owing to  hospitals that were in government ordered turmoil; and also due to an unde- niable rise in human malfunction among the  frightened, isolated, home-bound quarantined population, which  resulted in a swelling of homicides, suicides, and a record level of deaths from drug over- doses  (94,000).

Still,  the commonsense line of sight across  the thirty-year chart below tells  you  one-thousand times  more   than the  context-free case  and  death counts which   scrolled across   America’s  TV  and computer screens day  in and  day  out, even  as The Donald’s Task Force  was  fanning the  flames  of hysteria from  the  White House bully pulpit.

In short, the data below tells that there was no deadly plague; there was no extraordinary public health crisis; and  that the Grim Reaper was not  stalking the highways and  byways  of America.

Compared to the pre-Covid norm recorded in 2019, the age-ad- justed risk of death in America during 2020 went up from  0.71 per- cent to 0.84 percent. In humanitarian terms, that’s  unfortunate but it does  not even remotely bespeak a mortal threat to societal func- tion  and  survival and  therefore a justification for  the  sweeping control measures and  suspensions of  both liberty and  common sense  that actually happened.

This  fundamental  mortality fact—the “science” in bolded let- ters  if there is such  a thing—totally invalidates the  core  notion behind the  Fauci policy  that was  sprung upon our  deer-in-the- headlights president stumbling around the  Oval  Office  in  early March 2020.

In a word, this  chart proves that the  entire Covid strategy was wrong and  unnecessary. Lock,  stock, and  barrel. And with  regard to the  Covid-Lockdown disaster, Harry Truman’s famous “buck,” in fact,  stops unequivocally with  Donald J. Trump.

There  was never  any  reason for  sweeping intervention by the public health apparatus at  all.  Nor  for  the  coercive one-size-fits all,  state-driven mobilization of quarantines, lockdowns, testing, masking, distancing, surveilling, snitching, and  ultimately man- dated mass  vaxxing. In fact,  the  experimental drugs developed on a reckless pell-mell basis  under The Donald’s multi-ten-billion- dollar government subsidy scheme called Operation Warp Speed represented what  was probably the  most  insidious statist measure of  all.  By design the  program was  intended to  stop  the  disease cold  via 100 percent mandatory mass  vaccination after  a radically foreshortened testing period that could not  possibly have  proven either the safety  or efficacy of the jabs.

Yet there is no mystery as to why The Donald enabled the Fauci- fostered calamity that ensued; he possessed no principles to suggest otherwise and  saw it as an  opportunity to  earn  glory  and  acclaim through muscular generalship of a Washington-led war on the virus.

So yes, at the end  of the day, a Caesarist politician is the hand- maid  of Leviathan. Donald Trump proved that in spades during his  first  term, and  now  the  nation’s rickety economic and  fiscal foundation is in no condition to chance another such  eruption of statist mayhem in the future.

Indeed, it should never  be  forgotten that the  bully pulpit is a dangerous thing, especially when  it  is within the  grasp of  an egomaniacal demagogue who craves the spotlight. That  is the real lesson  of Donald Trump’s anti-Covid crusade.

No Evil Hand

It would not  be going too far to say that the eruption of irrational- ity and hysteria that Trump triggered during his final year in office most  resembled not  1954, when  Senator McCarthy set the  nation looking for  communist moles  behind every  government desk,  or 1919, when  the notorious raids  of Attorney General Mitchell were rounding up  purported Reds  in their tens  of thousands, but  the winter of 1691–1692.

That’s   when   two   little   girls—Elizabeth Parris  and   Abigail Williams of Salem, Massachusetts—fell into  the  demonic activity of  fortune-telling, which  soon  found them getting strangely ill, having fits, spouting gibberish, and  contorting their bodies into odd positions.

The  rest  became history, of course, when  a local  doctor spe- cializing in malpractice claimed to have  found no  physical cause for the  girls’ problems and  diagnosed them being afflicted by the “Evil  Hand,”  commonly known as  witchcraft. Within no  time, three witches were  famously accused, and  as the  hysteria spread, hundreds more  were tried for witchcraft and  two dozen hanged.

Yet  there is a lesson  in  this  classic  tale  that is embarrassing in  its verisimilitude. Namely, one  of the  best  academic explana- tions for  the  outbreak of seizures and  convulsions which  fueled the  Salem   hysteria was  a  disease called “convulsive ergotism,” which  is brought on  by ingesting rye infected with  a fungus that can invade developing kernels of the grain, especially under warm and  damp conditions.

During the  rye  harvest in Salem  in 1691, these  conditions had existed at  a time  when  one  of the  Puritans’ main  diet  staples was cereal  and  breads made of the  harvested rye.  Convulsive ergotism causes  violent fits, a crawling sensation on the skin,  vomiting, chok- ing,  and  hallucinations—meaning that it was Mother Nature in the ordinary course working her episodically unwelcome tricks, not  the “Evil Hand” of a spiritual pathogen, which imperiled the community.

The  truth is,  the  witchcraft of  Dr.  Fauci notwithstanding, it was  also  Mother Nature in  2020—likely  abetted by  the  Fauci- sponsored  gain-of-function researchers at  the  Wuhan Institute of Virology—which disgorged  one  of the  nastier among ordinary respiratory viruses. Such viruses, of course, have  afflicted human- kind over  the  ages,  which, in turn, has  evolved marvelous adap- tive immune systems to cope with  and  overcome them.

So,  as in  1691, there was  no  Evil  Hand or  sci-fi pathogen at large, nor  a disease that was extraordinarily lethal for 95 percent of the  population. The ordinary daily  economic and  social  life of Americans didn’t need to  be  tried and  put to  the  gallows. That was Donald Trump’s great mistake and  there is no pardon for the crime  of it.

In the great scheme of things, however, the Covid-19 pandemic has  now  already been  proven to be merely an unfortunate bump on  the  road to longer and  more  pleasant lives for Americans and much of the rest of the world, too.

While  the  all-cause mortality figure  for 2020 shown above did not  exist  when  the  CDC  published the  chart below, the  descend- ing  line  would have  depicted it  as  only  a tiny  upward  blip—of which  there have  been  several  during the  last  120 years  shown below, most  notably the Spanish Flu episode of 1918–1919.

Yet even  then, the  US  age-adjusted death rate  (lighter, lower line)  in 2020 of 828 per  100,000 was actually 67 percent lower  than it had  been  in 1918 (2,542  per  100,000)  because since  that time  a free capitalist society has gifted the nation with the prosperity and freedom to  progress that has  ushered in better sanitation, nutri- tion, shelter, lifestyles, and  medical care.

It is those forces  which  have  pushed the  age-adjusted mortal- ity rate  relentlessly to the  lower-right corner of the  chart, not  the Federales atop their bureaucratic perches in Washington.

It is  telling that  Donald Trump  has   never   even   remotely grasped that basic  truth.

The post The Donald’s Disastrous Fourth Year— But Don’t Blame the Covid appeared first on LewRockwell.

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