The editorial ― titled “Stop Saying That Everything Is Under Control. It Isn’t.” — said tackling the crisis that’s sickened almost 200,000 people worldwide will “require a new, collective way of thinking about public health and society as a whole.”
It noted how President Franklin D. Roosevelt “compelled and inspired industries and individuals to rally for the greater good” during World War II and suggested that “something similar is called for today.”
“The United States is again faced with a crisis that calls for a national response, demanding a mobilization of resources that the free market or individual states cannot achieve on their own,” the editorial said.
It proposed the creation of new public works programs, the use of the Defense Production Act to allow President Donald Trump to “mobilize domestic industries in times of crisis” and the increase in production of medical equipment, just like the federal government “ramped up production of munitions during World War II.”
During WWII, the government “raised corporate and personal income taxes, pushed the business community onto a wartime footing, drafted millions into the military or civilian defense forces, rationed civilian goods in service of military goals and drastically reorganized society by offering jobs to women and minorities who had long been excluded from them,” the editorial board wrote.
“The society that emerged from the war was different — stronger — than the one that went into it,” it concluded. “It is remarkable what the country can do when the lives of its citizens are in peril, and the final outcome is uncertain. What it takes is leadership to summon that spirit to act in the national interest.”