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We cannot afford for this to become the “New Normal”: U.S. Representative Lance Gooden

U.S. Representative Lance Gooden

Dino G. Papadopoulos

The famous American artist Andy Warhol was quoted as saying “Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” As such, the coronavirus pandemic will have its 15 min of fame under the Sun and at some point it will somehow fade away. Once that is done, will humanity go back to “business as usual” or will a “new normal” arise?

Texas Republican Congressman Lance Gooden was gracious to give me the opportunity to pose a number of question to him regarding the socioeconomic repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic on the US and the globe.

Globally, we are in the age of coronavirus and we may live in paranoid fear due to its caused “uncertainties.”

What is the primary concern about that virus in the US? Is it its lethality, or is it the probable breakdown of the Health Care system due to lack of medicines to treat the infected?

The primary concern of the Federal Government is protecting American lives. We do that by supporting the State officials responsible for handling the crisis on the frontline and keeping the economy afloat until things can go back to normal.

President Trump stated a few days ago “We cannot let the Cure be worse than the problem itself…A lot of people agree with me. Our country is not built to shut down. Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don’t want to be locked into a house or an apartment, it’s not for our country.”

Can the US economy handle a complete lockdown for two to three months or a partial lock down for 18 months as proposed by various Health experts? What would the economic and social ramifications of such an action be?

President Trump is absolutely right to say our economy is not designed for this – no economy is. The situation requires us to keep these restrictions in place for now, but we need to get back to normal sooner than later.

President Trump on the Economy: “We can’t turn that off and think it’s going to be wonderful. There will be tremendous repercussions. There will be tremendous death…probably more death from that than anything that we’re talking about with respect to the virus.” In the meantime, a record number of 3.3 million people filed for initial jobless claims last week while a percentage of US populous is living paycheck to paycheck since the 2008 crisis.

Won’t the extensive lockdown cause massive bankruptcies and the destruction of the small and medium enterprises? How about family violence, street riots, looting etc.?

It would have, which is why Congress took action to prevent those kinds of things last week. In passing the most extensive economic relief bill in American history, we have given small businesses the resources they need to make it through this difficult time.

Aren’t there logistic issues for producing, transporting and processing the needed food and energy for 330 million populace under a long lockdown period?

Thankfully not, our farmers and truckers are keeping this country fed. We’ve got all the food we need to get through this – our supply chain is rock solid.

Is the US prepared to institute a form of temporary UBI (Universal Basic Income) during the shutdown and how would such an action affect the “standing” of the dollar as the global currency?

We’ve just passed the largest aid package in American history to help families make it through this crisis. I’d like to see how effective that legislation is before considering further measures.

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) was recently quoted as saying to lawmakers “This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision” while the Chinese diplomat Lijian Zhao recently promoted a conspiracy theory that US military brought the coronavirus to China during the 7th Military World Games in Wuhan.

Is this coronavirus a medical issue, a political and economic agenda issue or in the minds of some it can be both?

Every aspect of our country has been affected. Part of what makes America so special is that we come together in a crisis, in spite of our politics. Comments like that of Mr. Clyburn do the opposite.

Since both Russiagate and the Impeachment charges collapsed, are the Democrats and supporting media determined to use this virus issue to derail the Trump Presidency and defeat him in November?

While President Trump and his task force do everything they can to keep our country safe, the media continues to distort news to undermine his administration. Again, they are using this crisis to divide the country at a time when President Trump is trying to unite us.

The Coronavirus has unearthed the “Achilles heel” of Globalization in times of crisis and that is the complex and long supply lines for essential products, such as medicine, energy and food stuff. The US is self sufficient in the last two sectors.

Should the US bring back, or to the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) area, the production of medicines, medical equipment and essential hi-technology items?

This pandemic has highlighted many problems with our medical supply chains, particularly those of our pharmaceutical drug manufacturers. We need to make medicine for the United States in the United States.

There have been press reports lately that the social, economic and political stress brought upon by the coronavirus effects on Southern Europe, the continued uncontrolled illegal migrant influx, the general EU political and economic paralysis, and the abrogation of the fundamental principle of Solidarity among EU states will destabilize Europe and are the precursors to its final break up.

Do you see that case as a viable proposition and if so what would be the position of the US; direct involvement or isolation/indifference?

The idea that this pandemic could lead to the collapse of the EU seems premature. I wouldn’t speculate as to what America’s position toward such things might be.

In such a scenario, which countries are fundamental to basic US strategic interests? Is Greece on the list? and if not, what would take to be in it?

Greece is a strong ally to the United States, which is why I’m proud to celebrate Greek heritage and sit on the Congressional Hellenic Caucus.

“There was this phrase ‘the new Normal,’ I never liked that phrase. In so far I could define it was, well, things cannot and will not be the same” Dan Rather (CBS News)

Are we potentially living and experiencing the formation of a “new Normal”?

No, once we defeat this virus we will return to life as it was before this pandemic. We will remember and learn from these unusual times, but we cannot afford for this to become the “new Normal”.

*Μr. Lance Gooden is the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 5th Congressional district.
Congressman Gooden is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services where he serves as the Vice Ranking Member on the Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee. Prior to joining the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Gooden served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives.
Guest Blogger

This piece was written for GCT by a guest blogger.

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