Like Nobody’s Ever Seen

Not so long ago President Donald Trump was plausibly bragging about the best economy, and hoping that would carry him to reelection despite everything else. The latest economic figures suggest we’re now in the worst economy ever, however, and Trump is struggling to find another argument.
The jobs and gross domestic product numbers are undeniably gruesome. Another 1.4 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits in the past week, bringing the overall unemployment rate to 14.7, which is higher than in any previous post-war recession. Over the past three months the GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 32.9 percent, which is even worse than the worst quarter of the Great Depression.
The cause of all this the coronavirus epidemic, which is unlikely to away by Election Day, and is currently getting worse in many parts of the country. Trump does his best to defend his administration’s response, but but he’s not convincing any skeptics and even losing some supporters. He’s peddling a cure that most scientists believe would do more harm than good, relying on the advice of some very dubious doctors, and has resisted public health measures a consensus of medial opinion are urging. Some of his die-hard supporters will appreciate his defiance, but the rest of the country won’t.
Lacking a boast-worthy record to run on, Trump is instead pursuing two related strategies. One is o claim that his expected loss in the election will be due only to massive fraud by mail-in ballots, and the other is to argue that his Democratic opponents “sick people” bent on destroying everything good about America. Trump will have a hard-time arguing that the man he’s nicknamed “Sleepy” Joe Biden is up to such a gargantuan task, and there’s nothing in Biden’s 40 year record that suggests he want to do it.
Trump “tweeted” a suggestion that the election be delayed, but his most loyal allies in the Senate shot that down, and a few extra weeks of a deadly epidemic currently killing an American every minute and a continued Great Depression economy wouldn’t do him much good.

— Bud Norman

About Pigford

Yesterday was “Blog About Pigford Day” throughout America, but we couldn’t resist poking fun at the president’s self-pitying press conference instead. We don’t care for the neologism “blog,” especially as a verb, but we do feel obliged to help with the day’s worthy cause of drawing attention to the Pigford story.
Pigford, in case you didn’t know, is the shorthand designation for the fiasco that has resulted from the case of Pigford v. Glickman. Timothy Pigford was by all accounts a fine fellow and a hard-working farmer who believed he had been denied assistance by the United States Department of Agriculture because he was black, and Dan Glickman was the Secretary of Agriculture at the time the suit was filed many years after the alleged discrimination occurred. Glickman is also a local boy who served several terms as our district’s congressman, and we know him to be a fine fellow despite being a Democrat, but Pigford was able to definitively prove that the discrimination had indeed happened so in 1999 the government meekly agreed to a $50,000 settlement with Pigford and 2,000 or so other black farmers who had joined the suit with similar tales. At that point the case represented a victory for fair play on the farms, a good news story hardly worth writing about, but of course it did not end there.
For the next several years the government fought off lawsuits by Hispanic and female farmers who hoped to cash in on the Pigford precedent, and that effort came to an abrupt halt when President Barack Obama was inaugurated. The political appointees of Obama Justice and Agriculture departments overruled the vehement objections of the career officials to establish a $1.33 billion fund to compensate thousands of people who had never claimed bias in court. By now more than 90,000 people have filed claims, for a tab of $4.4 billion, and many of those claims are by people who were farmed at all.
The story was a pet peeve of Andrew Breitbart, the great conservative provocateur, and after his untimely death his eponymous news organization continued to undercover the many cases of fraud that inevitably followed the government throwing around billions of guilt-ridden dollars. The efforts of Breitbart.com have successfully tugged even the almighty New York Times into covering the story, with a pretty good report that acknowledges the widespread abuse of the program, but the organization nonethless called for a “Blog About Pigford Day” in order to whip up the appropriate outrage. We’re glad to help out, even if a day late, and since we’re writing this yesterday we’ve technically met yet another deadline.

— Bud Norman