Coronavirus: Top economist says Trump’s handling of virus ‘like a third world country’

‘If you leave it to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell we will have a Great Depression’

Louise Hall
Wednesday 22 April 2020 21:17 BST
Nobel economics prize winner Professor Joseph Stiglitz says Donald Trump has 'blood on his hands' over his Covid-19 response

A Nobel-prize winning economist has said Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus in the United States has caused it to become like a “third world country.”

Joseph Stiglitz launched a scathing attack on the president in an interview with The Guardian, where he claimed that the county could possibly be heading towards a second Great Depression.

“The numbers turning to food banks are just enormous and beyond the capacity of them to supply. It is like a third world country. The public social safety net is not working,” he told the newspaper.

“The inequality in the US is so large. This disease has targeted those with the poorest health. In the advanced world, the US is one of the countries with the poorest health overall and the greatest health inequality,” he added.

When asked if the US could face a second great depression as a result of the continued failure in the handling of the virus Mr Stiglitz affirmed that yes was the short answer.

“If you leave it to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell we will have a Great Depression. If we had the right policy structure in place we could avoid it easily,” he told The Guardian.

Mr Stiglitz laid the blame of cuts to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention funding, shortages or testing, and personal protective gear at the Trump administration’s feet.

Republican economists have consistently defended Mr Trump’s efforts to combat the virus and his eagerness to reopen the American economy.

“I think it’s really important to balance out the economic consequences with the health consequences,” Republican economist Art Laffer told Reuters earlier this month. He also argued to the outlet that increased poverty from an extended shutdown could mean lower life expectancy, more suicide and a jump in child abuse.

An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll at the beginning of April showed that 52 per-cent of voters disapprove of Mr Trump’s response to the global outbreak.

Mr Stiglizt has consistently taken aim at Donald Trump throughout the pandemic, and has maintained a longstanding critical opinion of the president.

Last week, the professor said that the president has “blood on his hands” as a result of his handling of the crisis.

Mr Stiglitz also warned that almost a third of the US workforce could end up jobless as a result of the lockdowns imposed across America to suppress the outbreak

During the interview with The Guardian, the economist emphasised that 14 per-cent of the population has become dependent on food stamps and stated that the country would not be able to cope with the unemployment rate if it hits 30 per-cent across the country in the coming months.

A White House spokesperson told The Independent: "These comments are disgusting and outrageous, and the person who made them should be ashamed. It is because of President Trump’s leadership that he has brought together government and private industry for an unprecedented collaboration to curb the spread of the virus, expand testing capacities, and expedite vaccine development.

"Despite Democrats and the media’s coordinated efforts to criticise this President for providing hope and direction throughout this pandemic, it was President Trump who has delivered a message of comfort, unity, and strength while taking bold actions to save lives and set this great country on a data-driven, safe path to begin to reopen soon. The American people have shown tremendous spirit throughout this difficult time and are continuing to respond to the President’s all-of-America approach."

Some 16 million Americans are reprted to have applied for unemployment insurance in the past three weeks, a surge previously unseen in American history.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in