E.J. Antoni and Casey Mulligan, writing in the Wall Street Journal, report on collateral damage unleashed by trusting governments with greater powers to respond to Covid-19. A slice: The Biden team and Democrats in Congress were warned repeatedly that the March “stimulus” bill would shrink employment by five million to six million because of the rewards for not working. Three months later the evidence is clear: The stimulus bill stimulated unemployment, not employment. More than a million jobs are waiting to be filled in the construction and manufacturing sectors, but these industries have gained almost no new employees over the past two months. These are high-paying blue-collar jobs. Who decided that suffering and dying from cancer is a more acceptable fate than suffering and dying
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Don Boudreaux writes Some Covid Links
The Biden team and Democrats in Congress were warned repeatedly that the March “stimulus” bill would shrink employment by five million to six million because of the rewards for not working. Three months later the evidence is clear: The stimulus bill stimulated unemployment, not employment.
More than a million jobs are waiting to be filled in the construction and manufacturing sectors, but these industries have gained almost no new employees over the past two months. These are high-paying blue-collar jobs.
Yet come the hour and the target, yet again, has been changed. When the first lockdown was called, in March 2020, it was supposed to be a case of maintaining social distancing for three weeks so that we could prevent A&E units from being overwhelmed. Then it became a case of suppressing the virus until we had a vaccine. Then we had a vaccine and we were asked to lock down until it had been rolled out among vulnerable groups. That was achieved, on schedule, in the middle of February, but no, we had to stay locked down until the over-50s – who had accounted for 99 per cent of deaths – had been offered at least one jab. That target was reached in early April. But now we are being asked to wait until the entire adult population has had at least one jab.
Will that be enough? No, of course not, because we will still have Covid infections – the virus has become endemic. Yet government ministers have become so obsessed with daily movements in new infections that it is hard to see how they will ever accept even a modest rise in cases. The excuse for further delay is that the delta – or Indian – variant is more transmissible and, it is claimed, more likely to land us in hospital. But is it? While the number of new infections has more than trebled since the low in early May and daily hospitalisations have approximately doubled from the low point in May. Never mind that serious illness is nothing like tracking new infections – the number of patients in hospital and the number of people on ventilators are each up by less than a third. What seems to be happening is that larger numbers of people are being admitted for short periods, with the result the NHS is far less likely to be overloaded – which of course was supposed to be the whole justification for lockdown in the first place.
The world has probably changed forever due to the West’s decision to follow China’s lead in adopting lockdown to control Covid-19. This draconian policy that was never part of liberal democracies’ pandemic planning but came to be seen as an inevitability after Beijing pursued it. China, in the words of Prof Neil Ferguson, “changed people’s sense of what is possible in terms of control”.
Once again, we may be about to witness the power of seemingly innocuous events. For many, Boris Johnson’s decision to postpone freedom day to mid-July will seem like a commonsensical measure if the time is used to accelerate vaccinations. But I fear what he has agreed is much more significant than that. Will this really turn out to be a minor delay on the long road to freedom? Or will it instead prove to be the first step down a dangerous path that ends with lockdown restrictions continuing in some fashion indefinitely?
In Britain, we tend to believe that moderation will always prevail. Yet, in crises, it tends to be ideologues rather than pragmatists who gain momentum. Mr Johnson has for months been locked in a vicious cycle of seeking a middle ground, before relenting to those who favour extreme caution.
The Prime Minister still does not seem to fully appreciate that he is increasingly fighting not just a pandemic, but an ideology. This is not simply a case of a few overzealous modellers. The interests of the two most powerful movements of the moment, environmentalism and global health, are converging. Eco-warriors have attracted attention for unapologetically eyeing the collapse in aviation as an opportunity. Less appreciated is the fact that infectious disease specialists have been warning against the dangers of globalist capitalism and mass travel even longer than the green lobby. The window of opportunity to challenge their drastic, deglobalising remedies is closing. Even if the Prime Minister wanted to, with so many citizens terrified, and a middle class zoomocracy facing few risks to its material comfort, he will struggle to mount a challenge later down the line.
Our preoccupation with Covid has caused — or perhaps exposed — a significant shift in public attitudes towards life and death. We’ve come to see death as something that should be prevented even in old age, no matter the cost to our way of life, and held the Government responsible when it isn’t. We’ve placed insufficient emphasis on the long term impact of lockdowns on young peoples’ lives (from poverty, lost opportunity, loneliness, online harms) and focused far too narrowly on the short term impact of Covid on the longevity of older people….
We do not live just to avoid death. The meaning of our lives does not come principally from their length, but from our relationships, our responsibilities, our successes and our failures. Death, especially in old age, is a normal part of life and, while of course every death is a sadness, it does not follow that we should sacrifice those things that make life worth living for the sake of a short increase in longevity.
The human cost is incalculable, never mind the financial catastrophe. A colleague tells the story of a Liverpool hotel manager breaking down in tears on the reception desk when the last lockdown was announced at short notice.
A Government which is always banging on about tackling a ‘mental health’ crisis clearly gives not a fig for the mental torture it is imposing on small business owners.
Not to mention the debilitating anguish caused to those who have been callously denied life-saving treatment for everything from cancer to heart disease — and even refused appointments with their GPs — as the NHS diverted all hands to the Covid pump.
By the way, Richard Littlejohn, in the piece linked just above, uses Texas as an example to expose the absurdity of the refusal to end the Covidocracy’s reign in Britain. He’s correct to do so. Since statewide Covid restrictions were lifted in Texas on March 2nd, Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in that state have all fallen steadily. As of yesterday (June 14th), the seven-day average of Covid cases in Texas was a mere 16 percent of what it was on March 2nd.)
‘Covid Anxiety Syndrome’, an epidemic in its own right, and made possible by the constant flow of naked propaganda campaigns terrifying its victims into hysteria, has ensured that lockdown restrictions are accepted by enough of the electorate.
What the G7 leaders fail to recognise is that the same is true for the rest of society. Social life, business and creativity are all being sacrificed to Covid theatre, even as the threat from Covid recedes. It would be impossible to calculate the vast number of ideas, inventions and creative leaps that would have otherwise emerged in the past year or so were it not for bans on people mixing informally. Spontaneous interactions, chance encounters and rubbing up against each other are what drive society forward. But these kinds of interactions have been effectively banned for all but the most powerful people on Earth.
All of the G7 nations have instituted lockdowns and social-distancing rules of some form over the past 15 months. And in all of these countries, high-ranking politicians and public-health officials have been caught, in their private lives, breaking the very rules they devised for the public.