COVID-19: Government Ineptitude

In my last post (Novel Coronavirus COVID-19) I emphasized the need to not panic over the spread of this virus, that most of us are going to be fine without a lot of problems.

I hope, though, that I conveyed the proper concern about how serious this virus is, that you didn’t come away from it thinking that my own lack of panic somehow meant that I wasn’t taking it seriously, and that you shouldn’t either.

Believe me, I am taking it seriously.  I’m following CDC guidelines, and more – and you should, too.  Fortunately for me, I *like* staying home.  And we already have several weeks’ worth of toilet paper, thank you.

But there’s a lot of vitriol and invective over how our government – and particularly the President – have handled this crisis.  Some of it is deserved.  Some of it is not.

Understand that Government – not just ours, but all governments – are large, unwieldy machines with acres of red tape that simply cannot turn on a dime, indeed can’t even slow down without several miles of braking.  They cannot react fast enough to natural disasters we see coming, how do you expect them to move even faster for an unexpected crisis like COVID-19?  And our government is fractured by extreme partisanship – party before country – so any move includes some partisan facet to inflame the other side of the aisle.  The good of the people be damned…

Anyway, before I go down that road…  We do need to hold government’s feet to the fire on this kind of thing, on all levels, local, state, and federal.  Emergency preparedness, and all that.  But we must also take into account the limitations caused by the inherent inertia of big government when they have to react to an unexpected crisis.

It’s normal and expected – indeed, it’s something we want – when government tries to calm its subjects, keep them from panicking.  It’s a pity we have a President who may be the least articulate extemporaneous public speaker in our history – but there’s no denying he was trying to keep us calm.  You’ll also note that as time passed and experts weighed in on the seriousness of the situation, the rhetoric changed and concrete steps were announced.

Sure, the barn door was closed after the cows got out, but that’s what happens with big government inertia.  I’m not saying it’s right or that we shouldn’t hold them accountable, we absolutely should.  But we also shouldn’t expect much else.

But if you really want to lay blame at government’s feet over this, start with China.  They silenced the first doctors who raised the alarm in Wuhan, preventing the rest of the world from learning of this virus until it escaped those confines.  It may not have made a difference in the long run, but it delayed the other responses all the way down the line.

Our government entities have learned a lot from the events in other countries as well as from our own experts, and you can see it in the bans on public gatherings and travel restrictions.  All professional sports seasons are on hold, all college championships canceled (which is a crying shame, since the graduating seniors will never have another chance to play; there are no make-up games for them).  Weddings, concerts, theaters, all shut down.  Schools are closed for 2 weeks or more.  All these things are being done because of what we’ve learned from other countries, where COVID-19 is running rampant, and we’re listening to genuine infectious disease experts on the best methodology to prevent infections and slow the spread.

This is a good thing.  We just need to be sure that we don’t get too comfortable living under the government-imposed restrictions that we allow them that much control over our lives when this crisis has passed.

Let me say one other thing:  trust nothing you read on Facebook or other social media outlets.  It’s all one-sided and ignores key facts, and Facebook’s filters aren’t entirely trustworthy, either.  For example, the Fed applied a 1.5 Trillion Dollar (let’s see, that’s $1,500,000,000.00) stimulus to shore up the markets.  OMG, they’re printing money!  That could cover every outstanding student loan!  Nobody’s asking how that will be paid for!  Another GOP plot against us!

Took me less than three minutes to find this article in the Atlantic that sheds a little more light on the subject, and it took that long because I read a couple others that said basically the same thing:  Atlantic Article

I’m not a big fan of the Federal Reserve system, but scan through that if you think that $1.5 Trillion actually came out of the annual budget the way some commentators (and politicians) want you to think.  Please, do your research!

And the GOP objection to Speaker Pelosi’s bill had nothing to do with the virus relief it was supposed to be about – it was the riders she tried to slip in.  Look it up for yourself.  We shouldn’t allow unrelated items to be placed in any legislation, but to try it on a bill like this is reprehensible.  Now that they’ve hammered out the deal, everybody is patting themselves on the back for being so bipartisan…  Where are my boots when I need them…

Be smart – follow the guidelines.  Don’t pay attention to the numbers and percentages – they’re wrong, and it won’t be until this is far behind us that the true statistics will be known.  The projections are just being used to maintain the panic, so don’t fall for it.  Take the precautions.

And don’t panic.

Live Long, and Prosper.

spock salute2

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