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Fri Mar 27, 2020, 06:49 PM

Tactic #5 in "The Art of the Deal": use your leverage


Negotiating tactic No. 5 from Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” is “Use your leverage.” Over a thousand Americans are dead from COVID-19. Tens of thousands are sick. Many more will be, not just in major cities but in the countryside as under-supplied hospitals reach capacity. States and municipalities across the country are desperate for federal assistance. That’s a lot of leverage. Trump has them right where he wants them.

The Defense Production Act (DPA) exists to enable the government “to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs.” Among other authorities, the law enables the president to “ensure timely procurement of resources to save lives and property under emergency conditions.”

Our acting president refuses to use it with thousands sick and dying on his watch. He is leaving it to private industry to voluntarily produce what medical supplies they think are needed to fight the plague and then let states bid against each other for them. No national command and control. No coordination. Trump wants them to work it out on their own. It’s pandemic Thunderdome.

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