John O'Connor
John O’Connor

What a year we are having.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to give the seniors housing and care sector a merciless beating.

Thousands of workers and the people they care for have died. Many more residents are living in what amounts to isolation chambers. And the whole concept of congregate care in old age is being questioned as never before.

By the way, operators are dropping like flies. Then there’s the nation’s overall economy. It’s basically in complete shambles, with the notable exception of Wall Street – at least for now.

The consensus among economists, financiers and others who study numbers for a living is that the best short-term fix is a massive cash infusion. And that is exactly what is happening. Thanks to emergency legislation, we (as in we, the taxpayers) are handing out funds to businesses, unemployed workers and other causes in staggering amounts.

It’s a bit sobering to consider how these additional trillions of dollars in new spending might be reconciled. But never mind that for now, the experts keep telling us. That’s a post-crisis matter, they insist. Which is a fair point. We do have one feisty dragon to slay. But what about that eventual day of fiscal reckoning?

As it happens, we’re also now wading into uncharted waters that are unlikely to provide much relief. I’m referring of course to the 2020 election season.

From Labor Day on, just about every person in Washington up for re-election (including the president, all House members and a third of the Senate) will commence working 24/7 on staying put. In other words, Washington pretty much will be shutting down after August. That doesn’t leave much of a window for addressing the pandemic, or its troubling consequences.

Actually, the window might be smaller. The House and Senate won’t be back from their July 4 holiday until Monday. And if Tuesday’s press conference at the White House is any indication, President Trump now is in full-bore campaign mode.

This is a time when we could really use some actual service from our elected officials. Sadly, most are now focused on a matter they see as being far more important: hitting the campaign trail.