Wednesday, March 25, 2020
“I had to do it,” he added, but described the consequences as “very painful, very destabilizing.”
The people who are saying life is worth so much that we should just stay in lock down for months on end must be sitting on piles and piles of cash, or gold perhaps. Such a stop would be beyond ruinous to our economy, by which I mean our lives. I think the people who advise just staying in strict quarantine have no idea how people actually live, how close they are to being more than financially embarrassed but literally out on the street. Or having no money, like no money for food for their kids. It's not like people are calculating costs and benefits. They're wondering, what will we do? What can we do? It is a desperate decision they are making, and they're choosing the only thing they can--to take their chances.
And many of them won't make it. They'll say goodbye to their children and spouses and go not gently in that good night. But at least they had a chance to make it.
Talk of an intelligent, nuanced policy choice is just that--talk. When was the last time state or federal government pulled off anything like that? So, yes, there's an implicit distrust of government in the decision to let the economy go, and trust in ourselves to take precautions. New York and probably California can continue its lockdowns and probably will. I guess we'll find out if they work any better.
A guy I've come to respect on the epidemiology is Chris Martenson at Peak Prosperity. He says, you've got to do a lockdown; that's what it takes to beat this virus. He says, of course that will totally upend the financial system. That's ok, he says, we need a new financial system anyway. But this upending, I say, will be the end of many people and probably of anything like our current republic. Whoever we put in charge of this mastery is not just going to humbly give it up, Cincinnatus like, when this crisis passes. This might be the dream of people who have nothing and leaders who have so much they can weather a storm lasting till the end of summer or the end of the year. The rest of us are somewhere in the middle and want a fighting chance to stay there.