Americans now count 1 million COVID cases, and we’re approaching a death forecast of 66,000, according to Worldometers.info. These numbers will likely double by summer. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin just declared that our economy would roar back in June, though in early March, economic adviser Larry Kudlow had stated our economy was strong.

While we debate our freedoms to conduct “business as usual,” it also seems we share a responsibility to keep each other safe. Nobody likes fear and uncertainty, but it’s difficult to earn a living or pay taxes when you are dead.

Government costs will go up and revenues will go down. Sen. Mitch McConnell just suggested we should allow states to declare bankruptcy. I strongly disagree. The most impacted group would be pensioners. Pensions are currently underfunded – mistakenly assuming their funds would always earn an 8 percent return. With returns near zero, this underfunding gap is worsening.

In 2019, McConnell helped pass legislation allowing more time for pension remediation, so he knows exactly who is helped and who is hurt by bankruptcies. In 2013, when Detroit declared bankruptcy, municipal workers saw their pension promises disappear. Detroit’s bonds also defaulted. Government bond funds have always been sold as safe retirement investments.

Finally, the 1930s Depression taught us that tariffs hinder world economic recovery. Were John Maynard Keynes alive today, he would tell economic adviser (and trade hawk) Peter Navarro he’s headed down the wrong road!

One thing is certain: It’s nonsense to throw trillions of dollars at solutions before we clearly define the problems.

Jerry Blodgett

Topsham

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