It’s An Ill Wind…

Maybe the President will be right, and by the fourth quarter, the economy is humming along. Everyone will be back to work and spending as if nothing ever happened. The 30+ million unemployed were just on an extended paid vacation. That’s one scenario. It’s the one most hope proves to be true. Of course, maybe not so many go back to work. Their old jobs and employers no longer exist. A negative wealth effect rules out discretionary spending. The media highlights continuing deaths among the at-risk. As a result, many are still reluctant to go to a restaurant or get on a plane. It’s hazardous to travel. Children and their parents realize they lost a year of education. They’ll never get it back. Maybe people will be unhappy.

When things aren’t turning out as well as hoped, we ask what went wrong and why? Remember, the Iraq invasion was supported across the political spectrum until it wasn’t. As things went awry, people felt misled. Was it mishandled? They wondered why they wasted so much money and resources? The lives that were lost. There were revisionist answers. Will this be how the Covid-19 epidemic lockdown plays out? Will, the voices of opposition, drowned out during implementation suddenly have a megaphone? Saying “I told you so” is always satisfying to many. If we experience a slow climb out of a steep hole and people realize their pain is the result of a colossal overreaction, they will be looking for someone to blame. Remember, the last two presidents claimed to have opposed the war from the beginning.

As it was in the Iraq War, both our major political parties, with a few individual exceptions, backed the lockdown. Both parties joined in the most massive peacetime spending orgy in history Common cause explains why there is so little criticism from politicians or their media allies. The President makes the unsupported claim he saved millions of lives by his underwriting the lockdown. The only discernible Democratic criticism of his actions is he isn’t maintaining it longer, and he needs to spend more. They agreed on the shut-down and that they would throw money at it.

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