No, I have not joined the mad media mob that is prophesying the end of the world. I am only evaluating the grossly irresponsible and irrational edicts of politicians such as Governor Newsom in California, President Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer.. They are shutting down the motor of the world. Governments are causing untold damage and destruction, and disaster is looming in the United States and around the world.
The Republicans and the Democrats have been using the COVID-19 pandemic to bait and embarrass each other into taking increasingly hysterical actions. Trump has risen to the bait (as he does) and has joined the virus pandemic hysteria. The country is on fire, and political authorities set the fire.
We are beginning one of the most serious recessions ever, which could dwarf the last great recession of 2008–09 that caused unspeakable damage and suffering for so many businesses and individuals. On March 23, the Wall Street Journal alluded to the possibility of a depression. I hope it will not go that far.
This is a government-caused recession. The amount of damage and destruction it has caused and will cause is, in my view, unconscionable and avoidable.
Businesses are being severely damaged, some of them critically. The damage is not hypothetical, it’s happening now—ask anyone in business or who knows anything about business. The future extent of the damage is hard to estimate; there could be millions unemployed and a huge increase in bankruptcy filings.
Could this have been avoided, and could we have dealt with the pandemic without government intervention? Absolutely, yes.
Employers could have and would have imposed strict policies and screening measures to prevent sick employees from coming to work. (Some people pride themselves on “powering through” by coming to work when they’re sick, but such behavior is irresponsible, not admirable.)
The seasonal flu kills tens of thousands of Americans every year and we don’t panic, so why are we panicking now?
Consider that up to 61 million people were infected with the H1N1 swine flu in 2008–09, and the CDC estimates that about 12,000 people died in 2009–10.
If politicians had imposed lockdowns and “house arrests” for swine flu, I could perhaps have understood it, in a certain respect—but such actions are unwarranted for this virus, which, so far, is miniscule in comparison.
I could understand there being certain restrictions on access to assisted living homes and other places where seniors live.; I could understand a mandate for anyone who was coughing or sneezing to self-quarantine and wear a mask. I could even understand closing K-12 schools (but not colleges and universities) because children carry diseases to adults and, particularly, their grandparents. I could understand massive educational programs for handwashing and other common-sense measures. But closing down the entire country is insane! It will cause far more damage and destruction than the virus itself. Fear-based overreactions are crippling our economy and causing great suffering.
Researchers from Oxford University found that, from 2008 to 2010, at least 10,000 people committed suicide as a result of the recession. That’s just the number they could count, and says nothing about the suffering and misery of people unemployed, made homeless, and otherwise negatively impacted.
I think that, once President Trump, Governor Newsom, and the other authoritarians see the destruction that they are causing, they will run for cover, claim victory, and lift these draconian edicts. Within a few weeks, we will see businesses and individuals set free and returning to the workplace. However, the lingering effects of this destruction will be felt for years.
It’s tragic for anyone to die prematurely. However, the relatively good news is that, in China, there have been only 3,255 deaths from COVID-19. In America, as of this writing, 249 have died. As testing ramps up, we will see rapid increases in the number of “confirmed cases,” and this will provide valuable information and context. We will discover that the virus has been quietly infecting many people, but not harming them significantly. No doubt, the number of deaths will rise far slower than the number of new cases.
I don’t think this virus will kill anywhere near the same number as the swine flu of ten years ago. In fact, in America, I think the number could be less than 5,000. (Compare: in the United States last year, 700,000 died from heart disease and 600,000 from cancer.) COVID-19 is a serious threat, in a certain respect and to certain people, but it pales in comparison to many other illnesses—and to most politicians.