It is time for some perspective on government imposed shutdown. The President made an announcement. He is aiming toward Easter Sunday as the point at which to begin getting the economy going again. This is triggering heavy opposition. The debate is about how much destruction to the economy to inflict. That is simply a stupid basis for any discussion.
There is no debate about America’s willingness to sacrifice to save lives. Sacrifice is different than inflicting self destruction. How many millions of businesses are we willing to kill? How many tens of millions of workers are we willing to throw out of work? America weakens when the economy slow.
America dies if the socialists can kill it. That is their stated goal. They want the tools of production in the hands of the government. That is what the debate is over. Can they get the American people to demand the death of America in the name of the flu? They want capitalism to commit suicide.
Cost versus benefit… it’s not new… it’s not partisan…
This calculation is difficult only for those living within the beltway in D.C. We do not need know how many people the coronavirus will kill to make this decision. That’s paralysis by analysis. Look, it may seem cold hearted to assess the cost versus benefit. Get over it. That is how decisions on policy actions must be made. Yes, even when lives are at stake.
Guess what? Government officials make these decisions all the time. Most regulations are approved based on economic costs versus lives saved. The responsibility of government is not minimization of deaths. Everybody dies. It is a rule. None of us get out of this life alive. There it is.
If death prevention was government’s responsibility, and it is not, but if it was… The first step would be to prohibit people from driving cars. Government would also abolish swimming pools, amusement parks, and bacon. We do not do these things for a reason. We don’t let government do these things because we have decided the benefits of having reliable transportation outweigh highway deaths.
Radical rectal craniectomy
This why our leaders need to extract their craniums from their rectums. It is time to acknowledge locking down the economy too carries health risks and unintended consequences. It is not possible to crush the economy without a significant degree of human misery. There will be deaths, not to mention the loss of wealth and income.
There is a direct link between unemployment and suicide. That link that can linger up to three years after unemployment retreats. Even a brief recession has lasting consequences. In round numbers, each 1% rise in unemployment leads to an additional suicide for each 100,000 people. If unemployment increases by 5%, that means some 16,500 additional suicides. A 10% increase would mean some 30,000 additional suicides.
The rate of drug addiction could be as much double for those who are unemployed. That is in comparison to those who are employed full time. With large increases in unemployment, the number of drug users also rises dramatically. A 1% increase in the unemployment rate could mean a 3% rise in opioid overdose deaths and more than a 6% rise in emergency room visits.
We have not seen this kind of damage before… especially self inflicted
Among Americans between the ages of 50 and 75 the unemployed are 35% more likely to suffer a heart attack. Supply chain disruptions jeopardize the health and lives of patients facing health risks other than the coronavirus. To be blunt the human toll will be very real from job losses, business bankruptcy, and other forms of economic fallout.
There are approaching 20 million Americans with cancer or survived it. Another 30 million with heart disease, 34 million with diabetes, and 35 million with chronic lung disease. Together, nearly 20%, that’s one in five Americans are being treated for these ailments. What happens when they cannot get medications and treatments thanks to the economic lockdown? If just one in 1,000 of these people dies because they cannot get their medications. If just one in 1,000dies because hospitals cannot take them in, that is another 75,000 deaths.
Economic shutdown is a supply chain shutdown. If we allow it to occur it will be like nothing that has ever been seen before. People will die from the coronavirus. It is personal tragedy with heartbreak attached to it. Americans are right to be worried.
Donald Trump has likened himself to a “wartime president” fighting this invisible enemy. Being smart and reasonable about the costs and benefits of every strategy decision is critical. We must win the war. Making ourselves weaker is not how we do that. Americans need to unite against the common enemy. That is the coronavirus. We need less separation and working together. It is time for some perspective on government imposed shutdown.