Bill Maher is wrong to root for a recession

Bill Maher may have made his cruelest and most ill-informed comment yet -- and that says a lot, given his track recor...

Posted: Jun 10, 2018 7:51 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2018 7:51 PM

Bill Maher may have made his cruelest and most ill-informed comment yet -- and that says a lot, given his track record -- on his HBO show Friday night.

Maher, during a discussion of the economy under Donald Trump, acknowledged that it was "going pretty well." Then Maher, the sometime liberal, shared his hope that the economy would tank to hurt Trump politically: "I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point. And by the way, I'm hoping for it. I think one (way) you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy."

He then jaw-droppingly added, "So please, bring on the recession. Sorry if that hurts people, but it's either root for a recession or you lose your democracy."

This is wrong on so many levels. It's despicable for Maher, who is wealthy enough to have donated $1 million in 2012 to a super PAC, to root for an economic downturn in exchange for political gain.

If our nation were to hit a recession again, millions of Americans who are not well-off like Maher would horribly suffer, as unemployment would climb and families would struggle to put food on the table.

Related: Why people aren't feeling the strength of the economy

Maher's comments remind me of Rush Limbaugh's ghoulish wish in January 2009, when the recession was taking hold and unemployment was climbing, about then President-elect Obama. Limbaugh said he had four words to share his view of what he wished for Obama: "I hope he fails."

Not only were Maher's comments cruel and callous, they again reveal his superficial analysis of issues. Specifically, when he stated: "It's either root for a recession or you lose your democracy."

Maher clearly has no clue about history if he thinks an economic collapse will help safeguard our democracy. As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright documented in her great new book, "Fascism: A Warning," there's one common denominator in almost every situation when a leader who comes to power via democracy or within democratic norms is able to become an authoritarian ruler. Want to guess what that is? A very bad economy.

When people are truly suffering economically and struggling to put food on the table for their families, they are more apt to accept less democracy if they believe it will help ease the pain.

And alarmingly, history has taught us that includes accepting the persecution of those who the authoritarian leader deems to be the enemy of the people -- be it a free press, religious minorities, immigrants, etc. In her eye-opening book, Albright details example after example of this from leaders in the modern era such as Vladimir Putin and the late Hugo Chavez to historic figures such as Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler.

So despite Maher's view, history tells us that a strong economy is actually our best hope against Trump's worst, undemocratic instincts. Conversely, if we entered a recession and millions were out of work and desperate, Trump might see broad support for his authoritative impulses against a free press and his political opponents.

Now, Maher is correct that the economy is going pretty well, but what he's also missing is that recent polls, such as the one from NBC-WSJ released Thursday, found people were far more likely to support a candidate who will be a check on Trump rather than someone who supports him.

And that same poll found that while nearly 60% of Americans are "satisfied" with the economy, the percentage of Americans who say they plan to vote Democratic in the midterm election rose from 40% in April to 50% now.

People clearly have concerns about Trump and what he would do without checks to his power, especially since, for the most part, GOP leaders have been silent.

To prevail in 2018 and beyond, progressives don't need the economy to collapse. They need to appeal to Americans on their concerns about Trump, from his bigotry and alarming temperament to the issues on which he has failed to deliver. The top issue, based on the NBC-WSJ poll, is health care.

Trump promised numerous times to provide health care for all Americans but has failed horribly.

In fact, Trump's support for repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate will result in millions losing insurance coverage, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

If Maher truly wants to help America, then he shouldn't wish for our fellow Americans to suffer. That's not only abhorrent, it's dangerous, given what we know about Trump and history.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751826

Reported Deaths: 13811
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033581790
Lake557861011
Allen41721692
St. Joseph37001565
Hamilton36612417
Elkhart29416461
Tippecanoe22926227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19364326
Johnson18481389
Hendricks17692317
Clark13231195
Madison13166344
Vigo12629253
LaPorte12425221
Monroe12219176
Delaware10969198
Howard10343225
Kosciusko9636121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7862156
Floyd7814180
Grant7246179
Wayne7165201
Boone6976103
Morgan6764141
Dubois6222118
Marshall6211116
Cass6023110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502296
Lawrence4749122
Gibson445395
Clinton443255
Harrison441775
DeKalb440085
Montgomery438890
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400559
Miami395669
Jasper388855
Knox377491
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332453
Daviess3033100
Wells295381
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273172
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246236
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
Fountain221448
Sullivan214643
Owen212258
Fulton203443
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175144
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120748
Newton114436
Brown104443
Benton102514
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84015
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109374

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1288561469
Cuyahoga1158492216
Hamilton814161251
Montgomery525741049
Summit484431006
Lucas43380824
Butler39066606
Stark33348930
Lorain25690506
Warren24607305
Mahoning22383602
Lake21216389
Clermont20133253
Delaware18873136
Licking16668225
Fairfield16582204
Trumbull16559483
Medina15615273
Greene15289248
Clark14240306
Wood13296200
Portage13251216
Allen11916239
Richland11610211
Miami10857225
Wayne9147225
Columbiana9038230
Muskingum8908135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8646139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6998133
Ross6946163
Geauga6843151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584849
Lawrence5739102
Jefferson5681159
Huron5550122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5323109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487585
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435897
Putnam4335104
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4045110
Brown402561
Logan387678
Preble3858105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373581
Highland359966
Williams348478
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318354
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
Hardin275565
Henry273667
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269260
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197448
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110024
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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