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Nationalist Pundit

America First and Always!

Pandemic Economics

The Senate failed to pass a Coronavirus relief bill last night.  Senate Democrats and Republicans are squabbling over details.  Somehow, the proposed $1.8 Trillion dollar plan has less economic relief than the $1.3 Trillion dollar package proposed by the Trump White House.  Over in the House, Nancy Pelosi vows to put forward her own version, further complicating and delaying assistance to the American People.  Some of the points being bickered over are the amount of direct payments to citizens to help them through the pandemic crisis.  Also, details like whether or not there will be one or two such payments, as well as whether support to corporations will allow to be used for stock buy-backs.  While this goes on, there is now much chatter about whether or not the Coronavirus response is doing more harm than good.  That the potential harm to our nation's economy is worse than the potential of 2 to 4 million dead Americans should restrictions on social gatherings be lifted.

 

The argument comes down to classic risk assessment.  Is the current 15-day social distancing plan really working to blunt, or flatten the curve of disease spread?  Or is it just harming the economy, leading us down the path of a recession, even a depression?  Given that more routine flus kill 25,000 to 60,000 annually with seemingly little impact on our economy, even with upwards of 50 million or more catching such flus. We know that just the annual 'Super Bowl Monday Flu' costs the country some $100 Billion dollars just from people taking one day off or wasting much of the workday chatting about half-time shows or reliving key sacks or touchdown passes.  

Some economists are predicting a possible unemployment number of 20% within the next month or so.  Perhaps sooner.  Other predict our GDP to drop by 25% or more.  Hopes that the economy will recover quickly once the Coronavirus pandemic burns out are less than a certainty.  Indeed, medical experts vary on how long it will take for the outbreak to end.  Some believe that while it may be suppressed by our current actions, the disease will linger for months, perhaps 12-18 months, with possible additional waves of epidemics to follow later. 

So, is it worth the risk to stand by and have some 40-50 million people to become infected and 2 to 4 million deaths resulting?  Just to keep our economy churning away at regular speed?  Or, does it make more sense to at least try to minimize the death toll and infection rate and allow the economy a short-term decline?  Is that strategy too full of hope rather than hard facts?  Is the argument that the cat is already out of the bag and will run amok regardless of what we do until an actual vaccine is developed the rational one?  President Trump is between a hammer and an anvil on this one.  His critics will attack him either way.  Ruining the economy or allowing millions to die will cost him reelection.  Of course, the current plan might work, stemming the Coronavirus enough to give our healthcare system the ability to manage infected cases while minimizing the effect on the economy.  We may have an answer sooner than later, as Trump assesses the situation daily with special attention by this weekend.  Then, a decision will be made as to whether more time is needed than the current 15 day shutdown period.

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