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The Great Reconciliation?

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What is the best way to reconcile the results for these three polls? How good is the following heuristic? The resources you spend mitigating a problem should be directly proportional to its overall severity. — Bryan Caplan (@bryan_caplan) August 18, 2020 Medically speaking, how bad is coronavirus compared to flu? — Bryan Caplan (@bryan_caplan) August 17, 2020 How much time, inconvenience, and resources should we spend fighting coronavirus compared to flu? — Bryan Caplan (@bryan_caplan) August 17, 2020 I’m tempted to just say “cognitive dissonance.”  The effort heuristic makes great sense, and the medical estimate seems about right.  But that in turn implies that past and current coronavirus efforts (public and private) are grossly excessive.  Indeed, do we

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What is the best way to reconcile the results for these three polls?

I’m tempted to just say “cognitive dissonance.”  The effort heuristic makes great sense, and the medical estimate seems about right.  But that in turn implies that past and current coronavirus efforts (public and private) are grossly excessive.  Indeed, do we even spend five hours per year fighting flu?  If so, why should we spend more than twenty five hours per year fighting coronavirus?  But almost no one feels comfortable with that relaxed attitude, hence the dissonance.

Bryan Caplan
Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. Bryan Caplan blogs on EconLog.

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