Reality bites—HARD

My brother called yesterday to say he’d been listening to the radio a bit, and Limbaugh sounded like he was in a near-panic. I checked the transcript, and it looks like he had it right.

Rush is a pretty smart fella, you know.

How can anybody sane be anything less than scared and outraged and mortified that 22 million people have been thrown out of work over something that may end up killing fewer than 50,000 people? It is unprecedented. And yet there are people who want to maintain the circumstances we are in. And it boggles the mind.

It befuddles the mind. It is so counterintuitive to Americanism. We cannot go on. Trump is gonna be announcing his reopening plans, and already Governor Cuomo has announced that he’s gonna get a consultancy group in there to work on competing ideas ’cause he doesn’t want to be bound by whatever Trump’s plans are.

Fine. I’m struggling for ways to break through, to permeate obviously existing great walls of resistance that some people have. Some people, when you start criticizing government, they just tune you out. They’re not interested in it. But this can’t go on! I can’t believe it has gone on this long. I can’t believe… In one way, I can’t believe the American people haven’t arisen in outrage over this yet.

Except the numbers don’t back it up. When you look at the reported infections and the reported deaths and then you look at the model projections, we started with 2.2 million — what a great way to scare people — then it was a hundred thousand, then it became a hundred thousand to 240,000, then last week was going to be the apocalypse.

And it wasn’t.

And now the modeler who has yet to be right — no personal criticism intended, just factual analysis. The modeler who has yet to be right is gonna revise his numbers downward again today to fewer than 61,000 projected deaths by August. There ought to be a lot more death than this. “Well, no, Rush, because we have been practicing social distancing and we’ve been flattening the curve.”

We are destroying people in a number of different ways. The idea that we’re saving people by destroying the U.S. economy is… It’s a nonstarter. It’s absurd. The idea that we can somehow save people by continuing a policy that destroys the U.S. economy — and it will. Let me tell you something about when I was growing up in the fifties and sixties.

My parents and grandparents’ most formative experience in their lives — in other words, the thing that was the top of the list in the way they raised us, the values they attempted to instill in us — was the Great Depression. My dad was born in 1918; my mom in 1928.

His parents never forgot it.

It shaped everything they did the rest of their lives. They had to put up with a lot of other things too. They had to put up with World War II, Korea. They had to put up with the rise of the Soviet Union and the Cold War threatening to wipe us out and imprison their grandkids. They had a lot on their plate, and the Great Depression was the formative thing because it was so horrible.

And as parents, they were doing everything they could to shield and protect me and my brother from having to go through it. It was the worst thing in their lives. And that’s where we’re headed, if this goes on. We are headed to Great Depression. All we need is a 30 to 40% contraction in this economy. We’ll hit Great Recession territory first and then depression, if this doesn’t stop — and the idea that there are people advocating for this!

But I’ll never forget the fear of the Great Depression my father had. I’d be snarky. “Dad, come on. I wasn’t alive. I don’t care how much you tell me about it, I can’t relate to it. I didn’t experience it.” I was like every kid. “Come on, Dad.” We’re sitting there in our night comfortable home, and we’re driving around. The thought of a Great Depression was the last thing in the world I could even conceive of.

So I’m snarky about it. He said, “Son, you better hope that you never have anything like that happen to you. You better hope you never live through it.” It was that bad for the people who did — and we’re headed for it, and we’ve done it to ourselves. It is not that our economy is falsely created. It’s not that our economy is a house-of-cards sham. It’s not that capitalism doesn’t work.

We are doing this to ourselves — and it’s amazing how quickly. Three years to revive an economy, create roaring circumstances. It took less than two months to wipe it all out. Twenty-two million people filing for unemployment compensation — 22 million — and the idea that there is not an angry outcry from all over the world that this must stop?

That outcry had better happen, because this… We’re beyond now saying this is unsustainable. This is untenable. This is cataclysmic. We’re in the midst of a self-created disaster that we could fix (snap, snap, snap) at the snap of our fingers. We could begin the process of reversing this tomorrow — we could do it May 1st, we could do it April the 30th, we could do it April 21st — and there are forces arrayed against doing that.

I’m in complete agreement with all this…right up until Rush asserts that we could fix all this “at the snap of our fingers.” In fact, I very much doubt—once our “leaders” took the unprecedented, stupefyingly arrogant step of shutting nearly everything down in leg-wetting terror over a virus—that restarting the economy with a hearty “Hey presto!” and a cheery wave of the government magic wand was ever even possible.

I hope and pray I’m being overly pessimistic about all this, mind, but my belief is that it’s way too late to do much of anything now. And whatever we DO attempt isn’t going to make a hell of a lot of difference anyway. In their supreme hubris, our “leaders” have meddled in matters that are much too big for them. Now, as I said last night, we’re all on the express train to the hurt locker. Unfortunately, there ain’t no brakes on this runaway ride, either.

We have made the biggest mistake in history. There will be hell to pay for it. Should it turn out that I’m wrong, nobody will be more ecstatic about it than I will. But I don’t think it’s the way to bet.

3 thoughts on “Reality bites—HARD

  1. “We have made the biggest mistake in history.”

    Yep. And we did it on purpose. And not enough stood up against it. I am hoping that I’m wrong about the result, but I’m afraid of what is coming. It doesn’t look pretty and you can’t just throw a switch and restart the economy.

    If everyone went back to work tomorrow, they will not be spending and with a consumer driven economy, we’re screwed.

  2. Imagine if we didn’t protest as loudly as we did and are still doing.

    Not one single politician was going to ease up on the Panic Porn when so many on the Right were on board with the whole sham.

    If we didn’t speak up we’d be looking at Lockdowns for a year! Then it would be Game Over. At least if we open now we have a shot at it, although I’m as worried as you.

    Keep closed through May or June and it would be impossible to fix.

  3. He missed a couple of steps, Mike…

    First it was “1-1.5% of the U.S. population!” (3.2 to 4.8 million)

    Then it dropped to 2.2 million-ish. Then to 1-1.2 million-ish…

    Then to (IIRC) 600,000 or so. Then… you get the drift.

    The first drop was when I started smelling a cooked rat. When they’re adjusting their models and cooking their numbers right off the Chinese bat, you know something is hinky – even if it’s just GIGO on the models.

    Other than that – and it’s a small “that” that doesn’t make a difference to Rush’s points, I suspect that Rush may be right. We’ll have to see: there’s still a chance that we can get past this without major damage* to the economy and distribution.

    * Major damage = worldwide Great Depression 2022 followed by WWIII.

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