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Random Thoughts

Scared of what is not dangerous

We’re now reaping what we have sowed. Anti-bullying, participation trophies, helicopter parents, no keeping score, no more valedictorians, safe spaces, cancel culture, and on and on and on. We’ve been softened to the point where we are scared of things that aren’t dangerous. We have met the boogeyman and he is us.

Imagine if an insurance actuary was so scared of something that she graded it 1,000 times riskier than the data showed. This might be a career-ending mistake. This is exactly what people have done regarding COVID-19: making decisions on fear and not data.

According to CDC data, 81% of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States are people over 65 years old, most with preexisting conditions. If you add in 55-64-year-olds that number jumps to 93%. For those below age 55, preexisting conditions play a significant role, but the death rate is currently around 0.0022%, or one death per 45,000 people in this age range. Below 25 years old the fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.00008%, or roughly one in 1.25 million, and yet we have shut down all schools and day-care centers, some never to open again! This makes it harder for mothers and fathers to remain employed.

realclearpolitics.com
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Random Thoughts

LA Times finally wakes up and realizes that collapsing economies do more harm than viruses

How are the United States and other developed nations supposed to help when we’ve shut down our economies? As many fathers scream at their children, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

Born and raised in Brazil’s drought-ridden northeast, she moved with her partner to Rio de Janeiro in 2018, in search of work. He was hired as a janitor; she began selling meals on the street, and soon they were bringing in $280 a month — enough to start saving to one day build a house back home.

The novel coronavirus pushed that dream out of reach. Lima, who has diabetes and heart problems, putting her at higher risk of dying if she contracts the virus, stopped working once the pandemic took hold in her sprawling slum, known as the City of God.

Now it seems that if the coronavirus doesn’t kill her, hunger may.

“We have to pay the rent, and we don’t have the money,” said Lima, 48. “I haven’t even been able to buy beans.”

The economic devastation the pandemic wreaks on the ultra-poor could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself.

The United Nations predicts that a global recession will reverse a three-decade trend in rising living standards and plunge as many as 420 million people into extreme poverty, defined as earning less than $2 a day.

As for the 734 million people already there, the economic tsunami will make it harder for them to ever climb out.

LA Times
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Random Thoughts

Boston University Failed AOC

She is so poorly educated. It’s unconscionable that she received a degree from Boston University. They should refund her money or shut down the economics department if this is the kind of nonsense they teach.

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Random Thoughts

Letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune

I just fired off this letter to the editor. Hopefully it gets printed and people don’t try to string me up for having lack of compassion for my fellow man. I just think that everything the American people and the federal government are doing is far in excess of what was required. Here is the letter.

Just about every step the federal government and the American people have taken to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak has been an unnecessary over reaction and will be more damaging to a greater number of people than those steps are meant to protect. Furthermore, the rush to cast aside free market principals in favor of central government control is disturbing in the speed in which it’s taking place as well as in the lack of resistance from the public and across well known pundits.

From all the reporting to date, about 80% of people that get infected experience little to mild symptoms. So mild in many cases that they don’t even know they have it. 15% get more serious symptoms that are the equivalent of a bad flu. The remaining 5% may need hospitalization but less than half of that are serious enough where they may die. The high risk group are those over 60 and those with compromised immune systems.

The advice for the majority of the population to stop their lives and hide will not do anything to stop the virus. In fact, this behavior may only stretch it out over a longer period of time. The proper advice is to have those in high risk groups take necessary precautions to protect themselves. 

Unless there is more than the public is being told with this virus it does not appear to be lethal enough for the government to shut down the US economy. I don’t want people to die. But I also don’t want to see businesses die and lives destroyed all across the country. Lives that otherwise would not have been tremendously affected by this virus. Instead of concentrating the response where it needs to be we’re spreading out the misery across all sectors of life. 

Our panic reaction is like amputating both legs in order to stop gangrene on one foot from advancing to the rest of the body. Will it fix the problem? Yes, but at what cost?

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Books Random Thoughts

The relevance and prescience of “Free to Choose”

I just finished Milton Friedman’s book “Free to Choose”. This book was published back in 1979 when the country went through one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression (Seems to keep happening doesn’t it?). Comically Friedman had the opinion that socialism had been adequately relegated as a failed ideology but what he failed to foresee is the Millennial Generation. He did not know that the parenting philosophies of the Baby Boom Generation would bring back the cycle of socialist utopian ideas.

Given the current state of the nation and the opinions of people under the age of 35, I doubt Milton Friedman is discussed much in political science or economics classes in high school or universities. He should be. This book should be in every curriculum.

The final conclusion in the book says it all.

The two ideas of human freedom and economic freedom working together came to their greatest fruition in the United States. Those ideas are still very much with us. We are all of us imbued with them. They are part of the very fabric of our being. But we have been straying from them. We have been forgetting the basic truth that the greatest threat to human freedom is the concentration of power, whether in the hands of government or anyone else. We have persuaded ourselves that is is safe to grant power, provided it is for good purposes.

Fortunately, we are waking up. We are again recognizing the dangers of an overgoverned society, coming to understand that good objectives can be perverted by bad means, that reliance on the freedom of people to control their own lives in accordance with their own values is the surest way to achieve the full potential of a great society.

Fortunately, also, we are as a people still free to choose which way we should go — whether to continue along the road we have been following to ever bigger government, or to call a halt and change direction.

Milton Friedman – Free to Choose

Consider the democrat presidential candidate debates that just occurred this past week. How many of them stand for personal AND economic freedom? Every single candidate wants more control over your life and your wallet. Sure, it’s all in the guise of doing good things for the “middle class” and the “poor”. But that’s the danger. Centralized control over the distribution of wealth only leads to abuse. Human beings are fundamentally flawed that way.

That’s not to say anything is better on the republican side either. They want to do the same thing through different means. The budget deal that just passed the house and senate is proof that few republicans are interested in restraint with our tax dollars.

We need to ask ourselves what has the ever expanding government done for us? Has it liberated us to pursue happiness? Has it made life better? With all the money we spend on war, on education, on the environment, on subsidies for business and the poor have we ever seen an improvement? It seems to me the larger government has grown and the more money we spend on all these things have only made things worse. Maybe it’s time for a change in direction.

Amazon link to Free to Choose