US stock markets lifted today on a tide of investor enthusiasm following the announcement that the Federal Reserve was poised to give the US economy a limitless cash injection.
And in the closed mind of Donald Trump, this is simply the beginning and the end of the matter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 1,400 points putting on 7 per cent and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite nearly matched this.
But even the impregnable ignorance of Trump will be tested to destruction by the analysis coming from the World Health Organisation that the US is due to become the new global epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the Panglossian world of the US president, the material world can be dismissed through an act of will or the utterance of magic words.
Trump thinks that he can simply jump-start the US economy and prevent the pandemic becoming rooted as “a long-lasting financial problem.”
Assuming his new persona as an epidemiologist, public health expert and all-round economics guru, he said that the pandemic and its associated disruptions would not last as long as three or four months.
“Our country was not built to be shut down,” he said. “This is not a country that was built for this.”
And his top officials dismissed the government restrictions just promulgated as a “15-day challenge.”
Meanwhile on the North Atlantic division of planet Earth, upwards of 50,000 people are infected with the coronavirus, with 125 deaths recorded in New York alone out of a provisional national total of 593. This is but the beginning of the curve.
If we bear in mind that the accurate recording of infection rates and associated deaths in the US is hobbled by a pattern of vastly inadequate and unequal health provision — with one in 10 of the population without health insurance — we can be sure that the actual infection rate is higher and the death rate will grow.
It is an unsavoury thought, but President Trump is truly an emperor without clothes.
And the voice telling the US public that nothing covers their president’s metaphorical nakedness is Anthony Fauci, a member of the nation’s coronavirus task force and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose rational voice is a vital counter-narrative to Trump’s meandering mind.
But the only metric which conditions the president’s thinking is the stock market indices — and in very short order there will be a point in which the illusory trajectory described by Trump’s imaginings with be intersected by the guided missile that is reality.
Trump’s notion, tweeted at 3.50am: “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF” is the clearest expression that the gap between rational and scientific thought and the unstructured ramblings of an ignoramus with untrammelled power is a serious threat to the US people.
On our side of the Atlantic we still have a very small window of opportunity to take what measures are necessary to mitigate the worst of this epidemic.
The conclusions we can draw from present-day events is that social distancing is the basic building block of our collective attempts to contain this virus, and decisive state action is the essential precondition for ensuring the best possible result.
The political lesson must be that maintaining a clear distance from the US in significant policy matters is an essential precondition of our national interest.
The two pillars of the economic and foreign policy orthodoxy favoured by our ruling class is the closest possible alignment to both the European Union and the US.
The toxicity of these alignments is manifest.
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Featured image is from Morning Star