Nobel-winner Stiglitz: Poor coronavirus response leaves US on course toward another Great Depression

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is ripping the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, cautioning that the U.S. could be headed toward a second Great Depression as a result.

“The numbers turning to food banks are just enormous and beyond the capacity of them to supply," Stiglitz told The Guardian in an interview. "It is like a third-world country. The public social safety net is not working.”

He added: "The inequality in the U.S. is so large. This disease has targeted those with the poorest health. In the advanced world, the US is one of the countries with the poorest health overall and the greatest health inequality.”

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Stiglitz, a long-time critic of the president, said that 14 percent of Americans relied on food stamps and that due to the country's mediocre social infrastructure, the unemployment rate, which has already ballooned during the pandemic, could hit 30 percent.

When asked about the possibilities of the U.S. slipping into a second Great Depression, the economist told the publication that it would happen if the management of the country was left to "Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations MORE."

Stiglitz also cited the president's decision to dissolve the National Security Council team responsible for preventing future epidemics that was established by the Obama administration after the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

“We were unprepared but, even given the degree of unpreparedness, Trump’s decision to make this about politics rather than about science has meant we have responded far more poorly," Stiglitz said.

COVID-19 has killed more than 45,000 people in the U.S. so far, and the economic tailspin that it caused has led to the unemployment of more than 22 million Americans in just more than a month.