Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #365.  

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:

ENTRY #374 BEGINS: The theme of this blog is a revolution of some form in the US seems likely within a few years after 2020. In the various entries, I’ve tried to cite factors that could contribute to a revolution.

Last week’s entry was titled “Where Do We Go from Here?” and attempted to outline some of the public confusion and angst created by actions of the Trump administration in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. But how could it get any worse?

Well, this past week the ineptness of the Trump administration ratcheted up several notches the public confusion and angst about the virus. Apparently what’s not clear to the Trump administration is no one is blaming Trump for the outbreak. What’s causing great frustration among most sectors of the population is how the Trump administration is handling efforts to diagnose and contain the spread of the virus.

And who’s the primary source of the confusion and inept management? None other than the Donald himself.

In crisis situations, people’s strengths and weaknesses tend to get magnified. One of Trump’s personality flaws is fear of being criticized. To help get around that flaw, Trump became a compulsive liar. The lying was his regular MO in the real estate business and has continued as president. He lies regularly on tv/radio and in public forums. Based on a mountain of examples, Trump seems to make erroneous statements, aka lies, whenever he needs to reinforce his own behavior or deflect potential criticism.

Specific to the coronavirus, within the past week Trump claimed 1,000,000 test kits would be available by the end of the week. He also claimed that a vaccine preventing the coronavirus would be developed and available in a couple of months.

Both those claims were intended to demonstrate to the public how actions by the Trump administration were mitigating the effects of the virus. However, both claims were patently false.

Increasing production and distribution of test kits will take weeks, if not months. Further, testing capabilities in some areas of the US is extremely limited. Arkansas, for example, has lab capacity limited to testing only 6-10 cases per day. Additional tests will need to be sent elsewhere for processing, further delaying results. As of March 6, there was no central location for labs and/or doctors to report the number of cases detected.

As far as the vaccine, a doctor at CDC noted it would be a minimum 18-24 months for development of the vaccine. In addition to development time, additional time would be required for distribution, then inoculation and finally time for the body to incorporate the vaccine. The “normal” flu vaccine, for example, takes about two weeks to become effective.

While some of the population might continue to believe Trump and the Coronavirus Czar VP Mike Pence – “You can fool some of the people all the time…” – an ever-increasing percentage of the population is becoming more concerned about the ineffectual efforts to control spread of the virus. The lying by Trump, Pence et al, further erodes confidence in the government’s capabilities. Loss of confidence in government is a major contributor to revolutions regardless of country.

The lack of honesty by the Trump Administration has created uncertainty among investors. In the past month stock process have gyrated with all major stock indexes having declined at least 10%, and more declines likely.

So what? Why would activity on Wall Street contribute to the Revenge Revolution? In today’s workforce, few people have defined benefit programs paid for by their employer. As a result, workers must rely on building their own retirement savings. A substantial portion of retirement savings is invested in stocks. When markets decline sharply, as we’ve seen the last few weeks and may see for some time, people become anxious and disenchanted.

In addition to concerns of individual investors, a problem not well understood by the public is lurking on the sidelines. The problem has been caused by the Trump administration’s fiscal policy, specifically the 2017 tax cut, and pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low. The ballooning deficit and the already low interest rates have reduced options available to the Federal Reserve to help counter any economic slowdown.

Trump can blame anyone or any group he wants. However, when the economy declines and jobs are lost, and the population has little confidence in the government, the chances increase for some type of revolution.

With some luck, voters will replace Trump in November 2020. What we won’t know, even with a new president, is whether damage to the credibility of the government caused by Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus as well as mismanagement of many other situations is too extensive to repair sufficiently before a segment of the populous revolts in some way and we have a revolution – the Revenge Revolution.