Op-Ed by Brian Keenan
We are becoming beggars of our own demise. As the country and the world focus on the Wuhan coronavirus, the determining factor for all public policy is on trying to make sure people aren’t physically infected. The goal is to prevent as many infections and deaths as possible. While noble, this focus on physical health ignores the other societal healths: mental and economic. We can’t let physical health supersede the other two. Mental and economic ruination will result in greater numbers of deaths and widespread depravity than the coronavirus. Physical death by coronavirus is terrible, but happens rather quickly. People who are financially ruined or those who to turn to or turn back to addiction risk dying slowly and painfully. These three types of societal health are like a three-legged stool. When one is leg is broken, the solution isn’t to chop off the other two. You fix the broken one.
We have to stop listening to experts in viruses to make public policy. They care only about physical health and aren’t concerned about the other two societal healths. I will give the obligatory “I’m sure they are good people and are doing their best,” but I don’t want to listen to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx anymore. Their models and stats are confusing, inconsistent, and often wrong. Dr. Fauci cavalierly said 10 million people out of a job (so far) was an “inconvenience.” I would like to know how long he would recommend the shelter-in-place policy if he was told that every day it was in place, his pension and life savings would be reduced by 3%. Governor Cuomo said that “everything we are doing” would be worth it to save just one life. He acts unaware that “everything” has destroyed other people’s lives, businesses and retirement savings, caused overdoses and suicides, and left tens of millions without a job all in the span of less than 2 months. There is a problem with the fact that the people proposing and enacting these society-killing measures don’t suffer consequences from them at all. The government officials; federal, state and local; and the media still and will continue to collect paychecks. Meanwhile, our cities are empty and the holes being dug financially and emotionally by everyone else are getting bigger by the day. And so is the anger by the forced unemployment.
Since we know who are the mostly likely to die from catching it; the elderly and those with underlying conditions; we should have them shelter in place along with those who develop symptoms. We can create ways to make sure they get food, supplies and protection for when they go out. It would be beneficial to society to have such plans developed for future outbreaks. But that is where we should focus our efforts. The rest of us have to take the risk of getting sick, quarantining until we are better and then going back to work. I would rather be sick and have to stay in for a couple of weeks than be unemployed and uncertain about the future for as far I can see. The mortality rate is barely 2%. And for that we have no sporting events, gyms, retail shops, barbershops, restaurants or anything else normal nationwide. As Mark Levin pointed out last week on Fox’s Hannity, these businesses weren’t even given a chance to try and accommodate the distancing and hygiene requirements. They were just summarily shut down. Those tens of millions will be debilitated emotionally and economically for a long time, while our focus is only on the current physically sick.
People are calling this a war. Who has ever won a war by hiding in the trenches and barracks? We are euthanizing our economic and mental lives for a group of people we can mostly compartmentalize. And how long can we keep up the social distancing? Are we going to avoid being near other people indefinitely? In a normal society if people get sick, they get sick. We have a flu season every year and a lot of people get the flu — some more severe than others — and people die from it. This virus may be more intense than the flu, but in the end we can’t hide from it. Sixty million people had H1N1, close to 14,000 died from it and no industry was forcibly closed. If we don’t get ourselves immune now through herd immunity, when the ‘second wave’ hits our government betters will create even more restrictions on our liberty and freedom for “our own good.” They seem to be enjoying testing the waters this time around.
This isn’t a physical plague – it’s a virus. We can recover from a virus. The plague is on the financial and mental aspects of society.
Commerce is interconnected and as businesses start to die off, dependent businesses will die off along with them. The number of people that will be effected is massive. Take Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhood as an example. The Cubs baseball season creates a small but powerful economy for 7 months out of the year. Bars and other businesses in the neighborhood make their money for the entire year in those months. Beer vendors and concession employees in the stadium who rely on tips – same thing. All the food, beverage and product vendors to the stadium are selling nothing and companies that rely on those vendor sales all down the line are hit. Also included are the hotels and other tourist attractions in Chicago that will be affected from people not coming from all over the world to go to Wrigley. That entire economic chain is at a standstill. If this shelter in policy lasts for a couple more months, there is no way those people and businesses can recoup their losses to last through the winter. So the domino effect will just continue on. Take that example and apply it to the economy at large. The dependency on a good economy effects not just a business, but all the dependent businesses. The more time we wait, the more time it will take time to get all that activity back and running again. And people will be that much more behind on financial obligations so things like taking in a baseball game will be harder for a lot of people. But Dr. Fauci wants us to wait until there are no new cases. Unbelievable.
The emotional impact on mass amounts of unemployed people will also be devastating. People need to work for money but also for meaning and purpose in their life. For a sense of accomplishment and dignity. When they can’t work and are in financial decay, resentment will build and so will violence and crime. The need to find someone to blame combined with financial desperation makes people act in desperate ways. Those who say there is no proof that suicides will skyrocket don’t think logically and lack common sense.
So we need to strategically fight the virus on more than just the physical level. We need to be willing to take physical and personal risks with regards to the coronavirus for a financially and mentally healthy country. We are Americans and are a social people who enjoy being together for gatherings small and large. It is a big part of our psyche. We can’t distance ourselves from our entire culture and way of life for a mostly non-lethal virus. It is starting to be a plague on America.
Provide, Protect and Profit from what’s coming! Get a free issue of Counter Markets today.