FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2020
Contact: Steven Nekhaila,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

 

COVID-19 Measures May Pose Greater Risk Than COVID-19

If we’re not working, how are we going to pay taxes to raise money to hand out to people who aren’t working?

 

KEY WEST, Fla. –  We live in challenging days of late. Pandemics, and rumors of pandemics, have us on edge. Grocery stores picked clean. Hospitals filling. Travel increasingly limited. Sources of income dry up. What do we do? How do we get by?

State and federal officials responded in the only way big government seems to know. Restrict trade and commerce. Borders are now closed to many. Curfews have been imposed. Bars, restaurants and other private businesses are ordered closed. Thousands of paycheck-to-paycheck workers now have no paychecks coming in. Unemployment claims mount.

What then, is government’s response to that fiscal pandemic it created? Print more money and hand it out. Hand it out to huge corporations; hand it out to you and me. Where does that money come from? You already know the answer: you and me. But then if we’re not working, who’s going to pay taxes to raise money to hand out to people who aren’t working?

Answer: No one. The federal deficit grows as quickly as the presses roll.

How did we get here?

By all reliable accounts, COVID-19, often known as “coronavirus,” has the potential of serious impacts among some groups – those over 70 and those with compromised immune systems. Since the first few dozen cases were reported by Chinese medical officials last December, there are more than 300,000 confirmed cases world-wide according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s 0.005 percent of the world population. Of those infected, about 16,000 have resulted in fatalities, about 4.5 percent.

In the United States, more than 35,000 cases of COVID-19 have been identified so far since January, about 0.008 percent of the population. Of them, almost 500 resulted in deaths or about 1.5 percent of all identified cases. In Florida, the numbers of reported cases are about 1,200 cases, 0.005 percent of the population. Of those, 13 resulted in deaths, slightly more than 1.7 percent. These numbers are increasing rapidly as testing becomes more available.

Any illness, let alone those leading to death is tragic. Tragic for family, friends, co-workers and classmates. The so-called “Spanish flu” of 1918 (which actually began in Kansas,) infected 40 percent of the world’s population and killed an estimated 50 million people. Indeed, every year, “the flu” will kill more than a half-million people worldwide. The mosquito-borne Dengue fever infects 50 to 100 million people every year, killing about 2.5 percent of those who are treated. Untreated, it can kill up to 20 percent.

It goes without saying for most of us that when there’s any contagious disease going around, we need to practice common sense. Wash your hands, stay away from sneezing people, practice safe sex, wash your hands again. Admittedly, some people need to learn these basics and government and media can play an important role with recommendations and updates.

Where are we now?

But the real illness that will kill the US economy and perhaps many people, are measures to restrain “non-essential jobs and commerce” in the guise of public protection. Even Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a Trump loyalist, announced last week U.S. unemployment could rise to 20 percent, worse than the 2008 recession. It’s important to remember those unemployment numbers won’t rise because folks are out sick, but because government created them.

The Stock Market has already crashed well below 2008 levels. Indeed, during President Trump’s press conference last Thursday, the Dow Jones dropped throughout the entire broadcast. After a brief surge, it plummeted again. The same thing happened the next day. Investors don’t trust Washington to respond rationally and thoughtfully. Nor should we.

Where do we need to be?

Responsible adults can slow the spread of a disease, but taking away their rights and our jobs will not. Such steps will only worsen the alarm. They make day to day existence even more challenging than it already was for many. Smart people stay home if they are sick or afraid of becoming sick from others. Careless people won’t. Smart people will know there are careless people out there and will take responsible actions to protect themselves and their families. That’s the job of every individual. Not the government.

Libertarians espouse a world where folks are free to make smart choices and careless ones. Should careless acts endanger others, then “community” can step in with guidance. This is individualism, not statism that we have now. It is the natural way of things.

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

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