Costly corona crusade

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George Hasara – Columnist

In saner times, (not to be confused with the insaner times we are now living in), there was this thing known as cost-benefit analysis. In other words, do the benefits of an action outweigh its drawbacks? Is it worth the cost? The cost of the corona crusade was fraudulently underrepresented with dubious claims of live-saving benefits based upon rigged computer models. Hey, you don’t want to kill grandma do you?

The lockdown was promoted as if we would be taking off a few snow days from school that could be made up in the summertime. No big deal. Plus, what fun to designate one type of enterprise “essential” while another could be banished to the bowels of business purgatory. A very god-like type of power especially in light of the churches being shuttered.

In a matter of a few weeks, 30 million-plus workers were no longer workers. Congress quickly cobbled together a $2 trillion stimulus bill to paper over self-inflicted seismic cracks in our economy. Most of the money went to the usual suspects of banking, big corporations and back to the government itself. The politicians did learn a lesson from 2008, because this time around, “hush money” of up to $1,200 per recipient was doled out to the common folk. 

Added to the mix of “stimulus” is a $600-per-week “bonus,” if you will, for standard unemployment benefits. For most workers, this makes it more profitable not to work. It’s hard to imagine how incentivizing non-work is going to stimulate the economy. However, the United States government is broke. The money injected to provide “stimulus” will be digitally counterfeited printed, diluting the worth of existing currency. 

The United Nations World Food Program is warning that the planet is at risk of widespread famines “of biblical proportions” due to the financial distortions created by the coronavirus-inspired shutdowns. The WFP estimates that the number of people at risk of starvation in 2020 will increase by an additional 135 million worldwide. Currently, India alone has 7,000 souls perishing daily from starvation. And, unlike viral infections, it’s already known exactly how to prevent those deaths. The simple answer is food. Starvation is a slow painful process but you’ll never see the daily death totals scroll across your screen. There’s no political value in it.

Meanwhile, back home, decreasing prosperity and social isolation are a very real health risk. In this country there are an estimated 160,000 “deaths of despair” per year, which are made up of suicides, fatal drug overdoses, and alcohol-related diseases. Which direction do you think those numbers are headed? Yet another cost not calculated. 

I believe that we were already in a precarious economic situation prior to 2020, headed for a major recession or depression. The near-global lockdown however has hamstrung the world’s economy in a similar way a runner is hobbled by a charlie horse. Maybe he can still run, but it’s definitely bad news if the race has just started, and it’s a marathon. We need to get better at making cost-benefit decisions and soon. There’s a long, rocky road ahead.

Contact George at georgehasara@yahoo.com.

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