Coronavirus

As Bastiat Would Say, Peer Past the Obvious With Pandemic Policies

Don’t forget the unseen costs of government actions.

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This week marks the 219th birthday of the great 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat. It's the perfect time to talk about his famous essay, "That Which is Seen, and that Which is Not Seen," published in his book, The Law. This timeless work remains an essential guide to thinking about policymaking.

In that essay, Bastiat writes: "In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause—it is seen. The others unfold in succession—they are not seen: it is well for us if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference—the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen and also of those which it is necessary to foresee."

Oh, how I wish we would have remembered to earnestly account for the unseen effects of policies put into place during this pandemic that will pop up in its aftermath.

Take, for example, the massive amount of additional debt the federal government has imposed on future generations of Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. That which is seen is the money flowing from the federal government to the unemployed, to those taking leave due to rescue money given to businesses during the pandemic. While we might be aware in the abstract that there is an accompanying rise in U.S. government indebtedness, that which is not seen is the increase in taxes that must be paid by future generations. Nor do we see the slower economic growth that will be caused by the need to pay off this debt.

Even less obvious are the unseen effects of making permanent the supposedly temporary creation of federal paid-leave entitlements. While it's easy to point to all the advantages of such a move for the 35 percent of women who didn't have any such benefits pre-COVID-19, it's more difficult to see the lower wages and employment that will result. Also hidden from our vision is the increase in employment discrimination fueled by this policy: When governments arbitrarily increase employers' costs to hire certain groups, fewer members of those groups get hired. The academic literature is clear that such legislation inflicts very real negative effects on women.

Also harder to spot are the unseen effects of rent-control legislation. Such regulations exist in states and cities nationwide, though it wouldn't be surprising to see more such policies implemented in this crisis's wake. The benefits are easy to see. The rules promise to make housing in high-value rent markets more affordable for middle- and lower-class families. But once such legislation is implemented, reality kicks in.

We see rents going up more slowly than they likely would have otherwise. When paired with eviction protections, this policy gives an illusion of control to tenants who were already in rental homes when the regulation was adopted. What is unseen, however, is significant. Rent-control statutes reduce the incentives for property owners to supply their facilities as residential housing, and they make it less attractive for developers to build rental housing. Rent control even diminishes landlords' willingness to maintain the quality of their units. The final result is less and lower-quality housing for ordinary people.

There are also seen and unseen effects from the lockdown put in place to control COVID-19's spread. The seen effects of the policy are millions of people limiting their interactions with others as a protection from a virus that has killed many. The unseen effects of this policy are, among other things, the rise of depression, drug overdoses, and suicides; a decrease in diagnostics for other lethal diseases (which will lead to more deaths); the educational impact on children cut out from school; and the long-term economic devastation.

Peering past the obvious in order to get a more complete picture is what adults do when running their lives and managing households or business affairs. It's what good economists do when analyzing public policies. And it's what Frederic Bastiat did with unmatched skill and style more than two centuries ago. Unfortunately, it's not what most politicians tend to do today.

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  1. I think everybody has some small gut feeling that “there is always a price to pay”, but I remember when I first heard the phrase “the seen and the unseen”, it solidified into something more, like a bolt from the blue. One of those turns of word that are so obvious once you hear them, but were invisible before.

    1. I think everybody has some small gut feeling that “there is always a price to pay”

      Yes, but they think someone else will be paying.

      1. More like they demand someone else to pay.

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  6. Then there is the seen, but ignored.
    Classic fascism leaves the ‘ownership’ of the means of production in the hands of corporations, but then uses laws and regulations and “suggestions” to the corporations to control the people.
    The immediate and long term effect of the total economic shutdown is to eliminate small businesses, and individual operations in favor of large corporations, as well as acceptance of more government control by executive action instead of legislation.
    The rest of the proof is left as an exercise for the reader.

    1. Exactly!!

      And Exhibit A is Obamacare. It has all the features of fascism including price and product controls.

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  8. Don’t forget that the enormous spending could lead to the Fed getting spending powers to print money. It’ll be MMT without the cantaloupe.

    The day we locked down I told my wife ‘the cure will be worse than the disease.’ and ‘good luck re-opening because to do so, you’re gonna have to close down the inner-fears unleashed.’ Like a Lovecraft story.

    The idea was so over the top it shocked me. That we took such a drastic measure made me skeptical from the onset because the messages were ALREADY mixed at that time. Alas, given the novel nature of the virus, I was willing to give the credentialed classes a chance.

    But as a friend (a portfolio manager for a public institution) and I were talking, if it lasts 30 days (60 max) we should be ok. I spoke that very day of what I thought to be foreseeable fall outs: Bankruptcies and stress just to name a couple. Shortly after that it was obvious that list was going to grow right to one that angers me to no end: Child abuse. But b that time people had been whipped up into a frenzy of fear.

    The fear projected onto kids is another fall out. This one, as noted, gets me so pissed off I could wring the neck of supporters of the lockdown and politicians. There’s ZERO reason to not open schools up FULL STOP in September. No masks, no social distancing. We taught the kids a bad enough lesson as it is. Forget the pseudo-science and kabuki theatre. Shut the frick up Karen and do the right thing.

    Sadly, six months on, here we are. Still relying on stupid, broken projection models, mandatory masks in some places and ‘strongly encouraged’ in different places, and all too disturbingly ready to lockdown again while still listening to public health officials who don’t seem to evolve with the flurry of data and literature that seem to all point towards this thing not being anywhere near as bad as first thought and acting more and more in line with the flu/pneumonia/cold with a spicy coriander kick.

    Scientific Progress goes ‘Boink’ as Calvin & Hobbes once said. It came to screeching grinding halt via numbingly stupid numbskulls – and we all know who they are.

    When I tried to bring up Bastiat’s dictum as well as the need to consider the trade-offs, another friend damn well took my head off screaming blind emotional rubbish that had become an empty virtuous talking point of ‘saving granny’ and that the economy is ‘just money’.

    I had to unpack the economy isn’t just ‘money’ and that it is made up of PEOPLE. We’ve agreed not to talk about it from that point on.

    He continues to ‘follow the science’ which I think he’s actually just following orders.

    What a mess we’ve put ourselves in.

    1. No matter how honest the intentions are, appeal to authority is still a fallacy, which is an identifiable error in critical thinking, i.e. not scientific.

      ‘Follow the Science!’ is a political statement and not scientific at all; a rallying cry to people who want to communicate their support for a position, but don’t actually want to make any effort to logically support the arguments in favor of that position. The recent essay from the climate scientist admitting that the Green Scare is a complete fabrication is a perfect example.

      The point at which I gave up trust in ‘experts’, btw, was when actual polar bear experts came out and basically said ‘I don’t know WTF you guys are talking about, polar bears are flourishing’ and was simply ignored because a single image of a starving bear tugged at heartstrings. The media’s subsequent ‘98%’ blitz, which the study behind has absolutely no scientific merit, drove the nail in the coffin of my trust in scientific authorities.

      Oh, and the goddamn bees. That bees are dying off is a complete fabrication. Why does it continue to get so much traction?

      1. BTW, honey bees in North America are an invasive species. Pure environmentalists should be happy to see them die.

        1. “Pure environmentalists should be happy to see them die.”

          This should apply to all species.
          The anti-Christian/Jewish/Islam cabal claims to follow Darwin, but never, ever, allows his conclusions to occur.

          1. The level of ignorance here about stuff you should have learned in middle school is staggering. Darwin’s conclusion? What the fuck are you talking about? Is it somehow good to let natural selection take its course regardless of the effects on the human species?

      2. So where do you get your information about the world if you have dismissed all expertise and don’t trust science? Do you wander around aimlessly unsure of everything, or do you perhaps appeal to other authorities, in the media, say?

        It’s not a fallacy to defer to experts and science when you have a scientific question. This is not an exercise in formal logic, it’s life. And you’re going to get people killed if you continue to trust fringe rightwing blogs and the like over experts.

        1. There’s an over reliance on the credentialed class and it seems to me it’s a lot easier to get ‘three little letters’ next to your name now.

          I do defer to experts just not the ones you follow or the ones in politics. There are plenty of them on the Internet.

          They just happen to be the sort who call bull shit on Covid and stuff like climate change.

          1. What are they experts in? Being wrong? You are making a mockery of Western civilization and you apparently don’t know what expertise even is.

            1. I don’t even understand what you’re talking about.

              I bit on your initial carrot but like usual you threatened to pull us down a rabbit hole of circular logic.

              In this SPECIFIC case, we’re being il-served by public health officials. It’s turning out masks and social distancing are inconclusive tools yet the people who are charged to understand these things still foie it upon people despite us being able to pull out the literature and seeing the truth.

              There ARE experts that are doing the right thing and speaking out.

              We’re listening to the WRONG ones. It just so happens they’re in government and power. They’ve been laughably inconsistent and wrong from Day One. If they had any integrity they’d resign.

              1. Do you think experts are people who tell you what you already want to believe?

                Except to the extent that much is still unknown (which doesn’t give you the right, and I can’t believe I have to explain this, to substitute your own personal beliefs), you’re just wrong on masks and social distancing. You’re probably also wrong on asymptomatic spread. You’re choosing to be optimistic because that’s what your political team has conditioned you for. That is not the same as consulting reliable sources of information and tweaking your beliefs to fit the evidence.

                1. Nope.

                  The body of evidence is showing the opposite of what you claim.

                2. Well, what did Dr. Niels Ferguson’s modelling of COVID-19 fatalities tell us about projected US and GB fatalities? What about his earlier modelling of Swine Flu?

                  It’s a good idea to choose your experts carefully.

    2. If we have put ourselves into a mess, perhaps we have simply expected too much from people.

      We reveled in the Enlightenment, and for a while both leaders and masses both at least talked up the advantages of freedom and autonomy. We created institutions and policies designed to give people unencumbered–and unguided–lives. And we enjoyed the material success that came with social and economic opportunities.

      But how many people really value freedom? How many will abandon autonomy in favor of safety and security, to satisfy tribal urges, to fulfill some utopian vision of a managed society, or just to escape responsibility? What portion of humanity, on any given day, are just speaking and acting in response to deliberate manipulation by others?

      1. We’re basking in the after glow of a once great civilization. That’s all.

        Put it to you this way. Hugo wrote ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ as tome about the fall of great architecture.

        He wrote the book in 1831.

        /Lon Chaney glare.

      2. Nobody wants autonomy. Not you and not anybody else. It barely makes any sense to talk about human beings as individuals. Put an individual on an island and see how long it takes for him to go insane.

        I like alone time as much as the next person, and it just so happens that alone time is the solution to our problems right now. But everything we do is a collective pursuit, and that includes the libertarian regime you’d like to impose on everyone else.

        1. I believe you have intentionally conflated being autonomous with being anti-social or perhaps even misanthropic.

          One nice thing about a “libertarian regime” would be that people who prefer to lick jackboots (perhaps including you?) could do so as much as they like – they just wouldn’t be required to.

    3. What shocked me the most was that politicians thought they had the right, the authority, the power, and the duty to shut down whole sections of economies, and to do so by executive order, on a whim, without legislatures or courts having any say. It turns out they just had to do it, and everybody fell in line. A few courts have rebuked them a little, occasionally, and that’s about it. The legislatures haven’t put up even as much fight as a ventriloquist’s dummy.

      If you had asked me before all this, I would have laughed. Even FDR had to use the legislature mostly, at least after the fact by a couple of days, and he did get knocked around by the courts for a while. Now — not a whimper.

      This may not be as fascist as Hitler and Mussolini, it maybe be spread over the states provinces and cities, but all that really means is a bunch of lower level Hitlers and Mussolinis. It shows how far down the authoritarian path society has gone. I am still a long-term optimist and short-term pessimist, but the boundary between the two has been pushed out.

      1. And just when you thought you’d think, ‘no way people will buy into it’ comes the mask edicts where they easily fell into line with simple empty slogans as “be courteous’ and ‘wear masks, save the economy’.

        I laughed but realized only a couple of us were laughing in the room.

        1. “We’re all in this together”. The first time I saw that meme, all I could think of was the movie “Brazil”, and now somehow life was imitating art. It’s been a source of amazement at how easily people are led by fear. Real, actual data is out there, but most folks would rather be in a panic.

          1. “We’re all in this together courteously following the science virtuously wearing masks and keep a safe social distance to save lives and the economy that the government telegraphs to us via chemtrails and mind machines.”

          2. Brazil is the comedy version of 1984.

    4. “another friend damn well took my head off screaming blind emotional rubbish that had become an empty virtuous talking point of ‘saving granny’ and that the economy is ‘just money’.”

      I have a few of those friends too.

      1. I have a few in my family – including granny (my wife) – who are absolutely reveling in the lockdowns. It provides justification for their self righteous hectoring.

  9. Perhaps “unintended” is in the eye of the beholder.

    When they get over their panic, a majority of Americans may say they did not mean for businesses to fail and close, for an invasive surveillance state to expand, for comprehensive rules and regulations on public behavior, or for a new system where each day some authority announces what is allowed and disallowed.

    But it does not require a tinfoil hat to recognize that some people view these effects as desirable and fully intended.

    1. 1. It’s for your own good.
      2. If you are not doing anything illegal, why does being survielled, tracked and randomly stopped and questioned by mall cops a problem?
      3. If you don’t like it here, leave.

      1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

        ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

        1. I think a tyranny sincerely exercised for the bad of its victims is worse.

          1. No, because those tyrants will have limits. The self righteous have none.

            1. Hitler had limits?

              1. He didn’t kill Brits, French, Italians, etc, except the Jews and some handicapped. Your kind kill all, given the chance.

              2. And Hitler had a self-righteousness in favor of racial purity.

              3. Scared, you pathetic piece of shit? Crawl in a hole and stay there.

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  11. Day after day it becomes more and more clear to me just how much of the DEATH PLAGUE2K19 crisis is never going to go away. The emergency orders imposed in late March and April had expiration dates. The new ones do not. Welcome to the brave new world of the endless emergency. The constant crisis. There will never be another second when the threat of this plague or that boogeyman disease will not be used as an excuse for some permanent draconian imposition on public life. Restaurants, as a retail concept, may well simply cease to be. Americans may be prohibited from traveling to Europe… forever, further reducing our options for escape when this country inevitably craters itself.

    And the worst part about it is there’s nothing to hope for. You can’t vote for anyone to stop this madness because the madness is so wildly popular. You see the world metaphorically burning and no one wants to stop it. Everyone is dancing around the pyre and the only thing you can hope for is that a sweet meteor of death will finally obliterate the world and end this terrible experiment called Life.

    1. Well, that’s depressing.

      1. Movie theaters are already gone. I’m imagining some scenario in the far flung future of 2035 when some young person somehow manages to see My Dinner With Andre and has no idea what is going on. Why and how were these images recorded? What are these people in the images doing? Never even being able to penetrate to the layer of what they are even talking about but simply denied at the door of understanding for lack of knowledge of what either movies or restaurants are.

        1. Can someone bring me a lemonade and a hug?

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            1. Death by snu snu.

    2. It is a turning point I couldn’t even conceive of before, that mere executive orders could cripple an economy so quickly and thoroughly.

      The only bright spot is that states and cities have to have balanced budgets and they have destroyed their tax base. Something’s going to give, and I don’t think the public is up for doubling taxes.

    3. The voters can set an expiration date on the second Tuesday in November.

    4. “…the DEATH PLAGUE2K19 crisis is never going to go away.”

      It will be milked for all it’s worth, but there’s another Chinese Swine Flu teed up and ready to go as a replacement. The die is cast. In early December 2019, Dr. Fauci announced that the flu season would be one of the worst, and the press and public largely ignored him – 70,000 or so flu deaths got a “meh” reaction. It will be a damned long time before that normality returns. Fear is far too useful a social engineering tool.

  12. The surgeon general actually said the “mask is an instrument of freedom.” And if we comply like good little boys and girls some time in the future, at the discretion of our leaders of course, we may be allowed to do things again that give us the illusion of freedom. With lots of rules and caveats of course. That’s some real 1984 double speak nonsense right there. People have been wearing masks indoors and outdoors pretty much everywhere for months. Even before the government started advising it. Same way people were staying home and social distancing without being told. If these measures were so damn effective the facts would support it. And if mask wearing is the key to our freedom from lockdown, then WHY THE HELL can’t we do what we want if wearing them? This is not about keeping people safe anymore.

    We know who’s at risk and how to keep them relatively safe, since the entire concept of safety is just PC crap. Most of the people who are really afraid have minimal risk and have never known any real hardship. I hope they still feel safe when the government checks stop.rolling in and staying home waiting for food delivery is no longer an option. I have an acquaintance who quit his job just as they were reopening because they expected him to be onsite more than once a week. “But…but the CDC recommends we work from home.” The CDC has been so wrong about so much. And they are a government entity that doesn’t have to produce anything or be profitable. The fact that people think their employer should pay them to sit at home until they feel safe is absurd. This fool actually thinks the economy will be fine and settled in a few months before his unemployment benefits run out. Until then hes going to relax and think about what he really wants to do with his life. We are surrounded by boobs and rubes.

    This is about control. De Blasio is saying indoor dining is closed indefinitely in NY. Kenney is saying Philly won’t move to green phase until at least August 1. Newsom is cockteasing business owners into bankruptcy. When people start giving orders.with no clearly stated end, the time for concern has passed. I’m not scared of this virus. I’m scared of a future standing in line waiting for rations and living in a tent under a highway. I didn’t work my behind off to get out of the south Bronx just to be pulled down into poverty by the ridiculous decisions of people who have yet to miss a taxpayer funded paycheck since this fiasco started. And that’s where we are heading. And anyone with at least one working eye and half a brain could have seen all the unseen consequences of this months ago.

    1. To deny and deprive someone from their right to a living is an egregious attack on liberty and civility. It’s immoral too.

      If these punks stop people from living then they should lose their pay as well if this public health issue is such a threat to the collective.

      What the SG said is even more nefarious and evil considering just a couple of months ago he said they’re useless.

      It’s 1984. And those Mayors are crushing the economy DELIBERATELY. They’re using Covid as cover.

      I don’t know how it can be done but mass civili disobedience must happen.

      1. Civil disobedience AFTER Trump is re-elected, please. Otherwise it will hurt him.

    2. I have a friend who thinks the same way but different.

      He was upset because his company wasn’t take his health seriously. That is, they weren’t sending him PPE’s to do his job.

      He’s been at home working and never lost a financial beat and has supported the lockdown.

      The sad truth is people like him have to lose their jobs in order to understand ‘the unseen’ of their thoughtless actions.

      I thought for sure by summer reason would have come back but I’m afraid now we’re seeing the true end game (which many of us saw from the onset). Flatten curves. overwhelming the system, all that jargon were just scams to string us along.

      There is ZERO reason. None. To be in lockdown still.

      There has to be a way out of this IRRATIONAL stupidity.

      1. I’m here in the DC Metro Area, so I’m surrounded by government workers and contractors. The people who have been working from home and maintaining their income have been the loudest proponents for the lockdown. They have no skin in the game, and no reason to challenge the status quo, as they’re free to spend their time on their brand-new Peleton rather than suffering through the commute here.

        We never should have locked down. Even given the benefit of the doubt and erring on the side of caution, it was apparent within a week or two that this was not the apocalypse that the doomsayers were shilling.

        1. And they’re the first ones to pat themselves on the back for a job well done and for having carried such a heavy burden.

          Meanwhile, it’s been so hard them they’re water skiing enjoying life.

          Wooo, keep it locked down!

          My friend knows all this and all he can muster is a disingenuous ‘yeh that’s too bad and tough’ and you know he’s dying to say, ‘but….the science…’

          It’s been pretty tough for me seeing that from him. He’s a super person but I can’t get down with this thinking.

          1. My friend is the same way. Any time the conversation turns to the very real consequences of all this panic and how many people are suffering as we speak so the pro-lockdown crowd can feel safe inside their bubble of privilege and comfort, his response is always some version of “that’s awful” or “that’s a shame.”

            What’s awful is the tyranny of the terrified. What’s a shame is politicians are so hyped on their own koolaid that they are now blatantly threatening to take away our freedom (they are now using this term freely and without fear of blowback) and destroy peoples livelihoods on the basis of hypothetically saving our lives.

            Gov Wolf said wearing masks and social distancing “must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening.” WTF. I’m a grown ass woman. It’s also super ironic and hypocritical that a man who went marching with protesters supposedly in solidarity with those BLM nuts without a MASK is telling me, a black woman, that my freedom to have a life that matters is contingent upon his mandate.

    3. You should be scared of bread lines. You should also be scared of having a tube shoved down your throat by someone who graduated medical school on Zoom. Are the people who inhabit these boards really all young and healthy and trim? I’ll put money that this is mostly a higher risk group.

      Hospitals are at capacity in Houston. We already had the oldies under lock and key. Stop blaming the usual suspect (Demon rats!!eleventy!) and start blaming the virus. I realize it has no agency and you can’t shoot it, but if you keep agitating for more virus instead of less, then you can go ahead and blame yourself for the state of the economy.

      1. Hospitals always operate at or near (or over) capacity. Acting like current hospital capacity is an indicator of anything is true grade-school level insight (sort of like how social distancing was inspired by a 15 year old’s science project). The “we’re going to overwhelm the hospitals!” bunk was a scam from day one. Hospitals were already overloaded and all they did by canceling all elective surgeries so the ‘Rona patients can have a medical facility more or less all to themselves is create another capacity crisis as soon as they reopened. People haven’t stopped having cancer or arthritis Tony. They also haven’t stopped having heart attacks or pneumonia. All that stuff is piling up like you wouldn’t believe. Thanos could snap his fingers and wipe out all coronavirus today and for the next six months all the hospitals would be overloaded at 150% capacity.

        And people will die from lack of timely medical care that could have saved them.

        1. Exactly. It amazes me that we have the most expensive healthcare system on the planet and since the beginning of the pandemic few people have questioned that the hospitals have barely enough beds nationwide for less than 5% of the population and not enough ICU beds for even 1% The system works on the premise that almost all people are relatively healthy all the time and dont require inpatient treatment. So basically any illness or injury that impacts more than a small percent of the population simultaneously at any given time will overwhelm the system.

          When natural disasters hit a certain area and a bunch of people get seriously injured the local hospitals hit capacity quickly. People who need live saving surgeries die waiting for a surgeon to finish performing another life saving surgery on some poor soul who beat them to the operating room by a few minutes. People in rural areas with no nearby hospitals die all the time from illnesses and accidents that could be treated because they cant get to a hospital in time. That is life. You want to live in fear of death go for it, but dont tell me I have to do the same indefinitely so you feel safe.

          1. You don’t get to choose to put other people at risk because you think you’re a tough guy.

            1. The lockdowns put people at risk. You put yourself at risk if you go out into crowded bars, etc. It’s all up to you ( or should be).

            2. I’m not a tough guy. I’m a strong woman and I’ve survived enough tragedy and hardship without the government’s help or really anyones help for that matter. Therefore, I have earned the right to decide what risks I’m willing to take. I dont have the luxury of sitting at home and collecting a check while bingeing on Netflix until the govt says it’s safe. I’ve been working harder than ever these past few months just to survive. Cant remember the last time I had a full day off. So yeah I’m getting a little pissed at people sitting on their asses telling me I’m selfish for being concerned about my future and the future of those who cant just sit home and wait it out indefinitely. I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of losing everything I’ve worked for and not being able to support myself and my child. Funny how my landlord still expects rent every month, the utility companies aren’t saying “where all in this together,” so dont worry about that light and gas bill. And the supermarket isnt giving away food.

              1. Nobody’s asking you to stop being selfish, until the point at which you intend to do others harm.

                1. Fuck off; your health is your responsibility, not mine.

                  1. You don’t seem to think you have any responsibility at all.

                    1. Scared, you pathetic piece of shit? Crawl in a hole and stay there.

            3. “You don’t get to choose to put other people at risk because you think you’re a tough guy.”

              No, I choose not to wear a mask since I’m a moral agent.
              Scared, you pathetic piece of shit? Crawl in a hole and stay there.

              1. You choose not to wear a mask because you’re an idiot who falls for every bit of lame culture war nonsense shoved down your throat by rightwing media. You’ve never had an original thought in your life. You would eat your own shit if Tucker Carlson told you it made you more civilized than the immigrants.

                1. Scared, you pathetic piece of shit? Crawl in a hole and stay there.

        2. Yes people are dying of heart attacks when they otherwise wouldn’t be, because we have a pandemic we didn’t have before. Why point are you trying to make? Lame meaningless semantic semantic bullshit?

          1. Dying because the media and some politicians scared shit out of people and they are afraid (or forbidden!) to seek medical care.

            It’s not the virus, it’s the response that is at fault.

          2. Scared, you pathetic piece of shit? Crawl in a hole and stay there.

      2. The Texas Medical Center, for example is at 97% ICU capacity, well above the typical 70-80% rate. However, I did not find information on _why_ that is the case. In Florida, hospitals have been found to be using ICU beds for non-critical COVID cases as a means of ensuring isolation. In other states, increased ICU bed occupancy is in significant part due to an increased load of patients who are there as the consequence of a flood of “non-essential” treatments which were forbidden during lockdowns.

        Got links which break down the current distribution of ICU bed usage in Houston, preferably with comparative data from prior years?

  13. The essay nicely sums up the virtues of socialism.

    Yes, still looking. I’ll get back to you when one is found.

  14. Society, controlled by the corporate run media, including Reason.com, is about hysterics. Nothing from now on will ever be reported rationally again. The weather channel doesnt just report weather, they insist we’re all going to die. Everything is a hair pulling, chest beating mass hysteria.

  15. There is only one way out of this and it is the one that governments instinctually choose because it benefits them –

    get ready for third world level inflation.

  16. One thing that’s amazed me is the lack of medicines (antivirals) for Covid-19. Our unwillingness to try medicines in various stages of development has left us with nothing to treat people with in the hospital. Early on there was a push for more ventilators. But ventilators don’t cure people. All they do is postpone death while you (hopefully) have something to stave it off. Since we had (have) nothing to stave it off there was little or no sense in focusing on ventilators. But that’s what Andy Cuomo was screaming about so that’s what we did.

  17. There was no need for more economists after Bastiat.

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