The ‘false debate’ is not the discussion that considers the enormous human cost of suppressing economic activity – it’s the discussion that pretends there is no such tradeoff.
One in six working Californians has applied for unemployment insurance since mid-March because of the California government-imposed lockdown in response to the coronavirus. The massive amount of job and business losses is something this state hasn’t seen since… 2010-11 when unemployment hit 12.2%.
With some of the people of California complying with stay-at-home orders, many more are demanding to be set free to get back to work, and back to life in America.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is ignoring important science, despite claiming the science will determine his decisions. He instead deferred to politics and appointed a star-studded Task Force of 80 elite Californians that reads like a who’s who of the California Democrat Party, and is telling Californians to stay home indefinitely, or until he and his Tom Steyer-led task force decide when California is back in business.
This isn’t going well in California and other states whose governors refuse to let people get back to work and life… despite the science.
There are protests planned in many states including California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Delaware and Maine.
A big protest is planned in California on May first at the State Capitol.
The average age of death from COVID is 79½. White House coronavirus task force member and Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said 9 days ago the U.S. government can reopen the country in 3 weeks and the U.S. “can’t operate out of hysteria.”
Dr. Carson says that 98 percent of all coronavirus cases will recover.
At this point, the question Gov. Newsom should be asking is ‘How do we assess the overall cost to everybody in terms of loss of quality of life [and] loss of well-being as well as the fact that lives are being lost?’ as Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer did, Jacob Sullum at Reason explains.
“The economic cost, Singer notes, goes far beyond the immediate impact on people forcibly deprived of their livelihoods:
We need to think about this in the context of the well-being of the community as a whole….We are currently impoverishing the economy, which means we are reducing our capacity in the long term to provide exactly those things that people are talking about that we need—better health care services, better social-security arrangements to make sure that people aren’t in poverty. There are victims in the future, after the pandemic, who will bear these costs. The economic costs we incur now will spill over, in terms of loss of lives, loss of quality of life, and loss of well-being.
I think that we’re losing sight of the extent to which that’s already happening. And we need to really consider that tradeoff.
The Cost of the Shutdown
With unemployment comes a host of other problems including depression, spousal abuse, addiction and suicide.
The longer the lockdown, the more business will fail and the more job losses will become permanent. A tsunami of federal bankruptcies is inevitable.
Students are missing months of education despite the fact that children almost never die from coronavirus.
As California Globe reported last week, a recent Stanford study found that the death rate from coronavirus infections is 0.2% or less.
The risk is even lower for individuals below 60 who do not have pre-existing health conditions.
It appears that a large proportion of California coronavirus deaths are coming from nursing homes, but the state has not published the data needed to confirm this.
The First Amendment guarantees our freedom of religion and assembly, and there is no public health exception.
Many hospitals are reporting they are being told to count every death as coronavirus in order to receive more federal funding.
There is indeed a tremendous loss of quality of life and loss of well-being, especially as this virus has become more politicized even as the numbers are dropping.
But think about this: As I wrote in 2016, “Destroy the middle class in America, and Socialism takes over—economic growth is killed, people turn on each other, free speech is attacked, the government grows and becomes more tyrannical, and individuals are not treated equally under the law.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?