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Are We There Yet?

If you are a parent and ever took a road trip with your children, I’ll bet that you’ve heard this phrase more times than you care to remember. Impatience is the constancy of childhood. Children can’t wait until they’re old enough for…..well, just about everything that they see adults doing. For a child, sitting in a car for more than ten minutes not “doing” something is boring. Back then we didn’t have super SUVs with video screens or iPads, we had Game Boy. Our kids ripped through that in about twenty minutes.

It takes maturity to learn patience; adolescents seldom do; most college students lack that; and young adults often fail and make poor judgements, not thinking things through before they act.  This is not a knock on any generation, it’s just one of life’s lessons we need to learn on the way to maturity. The problem for American society is that we have stunted the intellectual and psychological growth of our younger generations for quite some time now.  I say “we” because as a society we have lost historical perspective that informs us of the empirical reality of consequences resulting from poor judgement. This has been going on for quite some time, so it’s not just a current phenomenon.

It is an accepted historical axiom that every civilization and society has within itself the seeds of its own destruction. If that’s true, then the corollary should be that as humanity progresses it should be able to root out those seeds to provide a more stable and lasting society. It’s also an empirical reality of history that the more that societies create compulsory structures, i.e. other than those that evolve naturally through the civil evolution of the population, create distortions that lead to some kind of conflict, whether that is environmental, economic, political, etc. that provides for decline and eventual collapse.

It was Alexis de Tocqueville who observed that when voluntary and private associations are allowed to flourish, they become a natural and integral part of society that can not only compliment political institutions, such as governments, but even provide functions without the need for governmental participation at all. Further, they become in effect the means for resolving dissent through civil discourse, provide for an equitably meritorious allocation of resources and a natural evolutionary social experimentation without the need for governmental coercion. This in turn creates societal cohesion and confidence even during periods of governmental chaos.

This idea was not a new revelation to the Founders of our Republic as they were well aware of the evils that were plaguing European nations and sought to construct a political system that would protect the essential liberties necessary for that stability and permanence. What they failed to do regarding slavery was a source of conflict that eventually led to a form of collapse called civil war and continuing civil strife to this day. The test for American Society is how we will resolve this issue going forward.

But because there is confusion among Americans as to what liberty and its attenuating rights are, there is an impediment to resolving conflicts. We seem intent more on changing the past rather than ensuring our liberty for the future.  One of the most glaring examples of this is the corruption of free speech. It is of no small concern that this trend has become imbedded in our educational institutions, nearly all of which in various degrees are regulated by government. It is common practice to have students and teachers disciplined, expelled or fired for expressing ideas contrary to whatever majoritarianism is extant at the time.

This corruption of one of our most cherished liberties, an explicit right stated in our constitution, provides an insight of a phenomenon so contrary to Alexis de Tocqueville’s empirical observation. Historians call the study of societal collapse “collapsology”; while the term may appear a product of modern linguistic invention, it has been around for quite some time. It entails a multidisciplinary approach as there are many factors that can lead to this, but one that is in the realm of sociology, i.e. principally political science and economics, is within society’s ability to avoid; to repress a peoples’ natural right to express themselves, even if that expression is repugnant to others in society, will lead to polarizations and conflicts that will surely be the cause of that society’s demise.

While there are natural phenomena over which humans have no control, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, that have contributed to societal collapse, understanding and respecting the natural rights of everyone should not be a difficult thing to do. However, history has shown that time and again the draw of power has proven to be stronger than the mutual respect required for a civil society.  The Roman Republic fell in to despotic imperialism, spawning the chaos of the Middle Ages and its varied monarchies. While the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman, it was an absolute monarchy. The French Revolution resulted in the First Republic, which quickly devolved in to despotism similar to the monarchies before it. All during these periods war, famine and plague were the results of just plain really bad judgements, culminating in the Great War, the supposed war to end all wars, a war to preserve democracy; of course it proved nothing of that kind but the source of even greater despotism in Europe and Asia, and also the Americas. There again poor judgements led to economic collapse, societal stress and conflicts, culminating in another world war with even worse atrocities, all contributing to conditions so inimical to a society Alexis de Tocqueville described.

There were many types of repressive regimes that evolved between these two catastrophic world wars, but what they all had in common was the growth of statism, of large all powerful and encompassing governments. They were all forms of socialism from the Marxists communism of the USSR to the gang tactics of the National Socialist Party. In America we had the New Deal, which really was not all that new, just another form of Democratic Socialism.  As A.E. Samaan once said “Democratic Socialism is simply totalitarianism that allows you the illusion of a voice in the matter.” It really doesn’t matter if the form of despotism comes from the ballot box, a coup or devolution from freedom to serfdom as the results are the same. 

Actually, the best way to describe the type of socialism that has prevailed in the US is to understand what Benito Mussolini, in discussions with his star pupil Juan Peron, described as the kind of socialism we have today when he said “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Now we should not be thrown off by the word “fascism”, a term all too often thrown around modern American politics without any understanding of its origin or nature. The term is derived from an ancient Roman symbolism, possibly passed down from Etruscans, representing a magistrate’s power and jurisdiction. Fasces were a bound bundle of wooden rods around an axe, carried by Lictors who were a magistrates body guards. Magistrates, such as Praetors, had both judicial and executive powers, i.e. judge and executioner. Easy to understand is negative derivation.

Often the term is reserved for what is commonly assumed to be a “right wing” phenomenon, when in reality any political party in power can manifest such tendencies.  Here again the right versus left spectrum is such a badly contrived political analysis. As George Orwell so eloquently stated, the real political division is between statists and libertarians; he would have said liberals if we were referring to 18th century political science, another indication of the fluidity of definitions in modern times.

Let’s go back to education in America. In 2017, about 44.4% of adults over 25 years of age had an associate degree or higher; 16.3% had some college education but no degree; 28.8% were high school graduates; 10.4 percent had less than a high school education. In polls taken regarding basic economics, about a third of those under middle age had little to no concept of what that was, and less than half of seniors fared better. When asked if capitalism was a result or a cause of freedom, overwhelmingly few answered correctly. When asked about what was the equivalent term to describe the time preference of money, pitifully few even understood the question. When asked what made for a store of value and a reliable medium of exchange, even less had a clue what that meant. So when we hear that more and more young Americans are in favor of socialism, an invented and compulsory system of societal relationships that has failed time and again, we should understand the lack of basic economics that informs them, an obvious failure of our educational system.

History has shown that socialism will always fail because it is not concerned with the creation of wealth, only the redistribution of it. This is done because socialist confuse compassion with compulsion. In his Second Treatise of Government, John Locke wrote that an individual “…seeks out and is willing to join in society with others for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name, property.” Where in America today do students even hear the name John Locke, let alone what he wrote. It is doubtful that they even know who Adam Smith really was.  They are likely to hear he was an evil economist promoting selfish capitalism, when in fact he wasn’t even an economist, but a moral philosopher and sociologist.

It does not serve the state well to have students learn what makes for a truly civil society as that undermines the power of the state. How many students have ever heard of Walter E. Williams, recently deceased, but certainly a contemporaneous economist of Klugman and Samuelson, but seldom given much exposure academically despite the fact of his status as a Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University. Understandably he can’t be in much favor with progressives when credited with his statement that “What our nation needs is a separation of business and state as it has a separation of church and state. That would mean crony capitalism and crony socialism could not survive.” Notice how he included both cronyisms as he clearly understood the essence of Mussolini Fascism.

Now how does this all relate to the title of this blog?  Well as we have traveled the road of our own history, we have made judgements to take a course toward socialism. Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressivism helped set the stage for the Wilson administrations during which the Federal Reserve and income tax were created, all contributing to America’s ability to participate in the obscene conflicts spawned by European and Asian imperialism, together with some of our own militaristic adventures. “Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant.” James Madison wrote in the Federalist; he was well aware of tyranny’s insatiable hunger for more and more power and that crises provide cover for that. It’s not a coincidence that the 20th Century was an era of constant conflict and strife aided by this phenomenon.

Americans did not consciously veer toward socialism. Politicians did not explicitly propose such ideas; what they did is argue for the power to protect people from themselves. They often cited the preamble to the constitution as proof that the Founder’s intent was for the Federal government to “…promote the general Welfare,… “. As the primary author of the constitution, Madison clearly stated in his many contributions to the Federalist Papers that the preamble is only an introduction and it does not define government powers or individual rights. He also made clear that the intent of the welfare clause was not a means of benevolence but a means test that a tax is only legitimate if it is for funding clearly enumerated powers stated in the constitution. Further, that charity is not a legislative power.

In more current times, the American economist F.A. Harper expressed the concept of charity toward others more in keeping with Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations when he stated that “Assistance given voluntarily is truly charity; that taken from another by force is not charity at all, in spite of its use for avowed charitable purposes. The virtue of compassion and charity cannot be sired by the vice of thievery. All told, the process of political charity is about as complete a violation of the requisites of charity as can be conceived.”

It has become about as close to an axiom of government redistribution policies that very time there is some kind of redistribution of wealth, the funds distributed are reduced by the inevitable parasitic nature of bureaucracies. This phenomenon was well expressed by President Reagan’s summary of such economic policies when he noted that “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Regarding any dissent toward such policies, what have you heard? I’m not referring to the partisan practice of the party not in power, such as currently the case with the Republicans, criticizing the tax and spend policies of the Democrats, as their concern about debt only seems to arise when they are not in power. Notice that during the Trump administration, not only was such an outcry absent, but they created the largest deficit to date. True the Democrats will definitely exceed that greatly, but that does not make the Republicans a financially responsible party.

On the issue of dissent, free speech is not an important issue to either of the two main political parties, and both have embraced Mussolini’s methodology by making corporations, specifically media as regards free speech, their instrument of repression. Direct government intervention would surely result in obvious constitutional challenges, but “private” entities have no such restrictions under the constitution. While Trump’s posts on social media are repugnant to most Americans, Facebook’s policies are clearly censorship and Americans should object to that.

One of the most obvious tools that government has to “influence” the private sector in this and other issues is the tax structure. In a recent interview by Joe Wiesenthal of Bloomberg Markets, economist Stephanie Kelton, a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University, and a leading expert on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), and a Senior Fellow at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research, was a guest. MMT has as one of its principal tenets that governments should print as much money as they want because deficits don’t matter, which she made clear on the show. Wiesenthal, being a fairly intelligent interviewer, asked the obvious question, i.e. “If we don’t need to worry about deficits, why do we have taxes?”

Great question, and Kelton’s answer, while grotesque, was also very insightful. What she basically said was that taxes are still required because “….they remove dollars from our hands, so we can’t spend them,….”; so while taxes make people poorer, they provide more power for the government as taxes can be used to punish certain people by redistributing their money for doing things she finds contrary to what the government wants them to do. Sounds like something right out of Mussolini’s play book.

Now consider what has happened very recently since the new administration took office.  We have proposals for trillions of dollars in programs, some described as “infrastructure” while only a fraction is for that, much of it for further social engineering. To pay for this, we will have increased taxation, further money printing, Federal Reserve “accommodation”, i.e. buying assets and artificially depressing interest rates, etc. When confronted with the growing alarm about inflation, we are told not to worry, it’s only “transitory”. When faced with the jobs reports show a slowing of new jobs and a criticism that related programs are counterproductive, the response is we need more of the same. When business complains that the increased unemployment benefits motivate a stay at home attitude among workers, the government goes in to denial mode. When the dollar dives due to MMT practices, we are told no big deal, we will get more of the same.

In recent reports from various economists who study monetary policies, alternative currencies and precious metals, it was noted that the assumptions regarding the US dollar were woefully out of touch with reality.  Take for example the government noting that the US still has gold reserves larger than any other country at some 8,500 tons. That was true, if you ignore what China has been doing for quite some time now. While their central bank still has less reserves than the US, they have three other institutions that have separate reserves, but still under control of their government, at an estimated total of some 20,000 tons. What is also noted is what China intends to do with all that gold. These same experts have been paying attention to what the Chinese have opening stated is their intent to not only put their currency, the yuan, on a gold standard, but also make it a digital currency. It’s understandable why many of these currency economists predict the end of the USD as the world’s reserve currency or preferred settlement currency for international trade.  China also encourages its citizens to own as much gold and Bitcoin as they can. Yes, China plans while the US and Europe keep drinking the cool aid of MMT.

Now what’s curious of course is why the US government even bothers with gold, or cares about reserves at all given the policies since FDR and Nixon that essentially killed the US gold standard. In reality, the gold standard has never really gone anywhere; it’s still with us, just in a different form.  While an ounce of gold is always just an ounce of gold, it’s the currencies that have changed, i.e. become weaker.  Note that when FDR thuggishly declared it illegal for Americans to own gold, it was set at $20/oz; as of today, it’s more than $1,800/oz, or in other words the USD has depreciated more than 90% of its gold standard value, and falling rapidly.

So when we are told that the new proposed taxes will only affect the rich and corporations, realize that the real, yet stealth but most insidious of taxes, i.e. monetary inflation, will affect us all, and that kind of inflation is not “transitory”, unless of course you believe that the US will cease MMT, pay down its $30T debt, balance the budget, cut spending, and restore a monetary standard for dollar stability; now that would be fiscally responsible, but forgive me if I just don’t see that happening any time soon.

So to all Americans who profess their desire for America to travel the failed route of socialism, sadly I think we’ve arrived, and neither the journey nor the destination is any fun. I’m at the point politically where I am agreeing more and more with the Polish political scientist Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewsk, who observed that “A libertarian is someone who graduated from thinking that there are problems with the state to realizing that the state is the problem.”



“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tsu

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. Mark Twain

Twain was not saying that we should welcome death, but that obsessing about it to the point of fearing it more than living makes you fear life itself. He encourages us to live life to the fullest so that we have no regrets, not about what we have done, but what we haven’t.

Have we become fearful of living? Is the threat of death that is pushed in our face daily with this pandemic, or the ever present political polarization, identity politics and cultural fragmentation made us so fragile that we rail against anyone who does not think, or even worse, does not act as we are told? Do we place more value on directives issued by bureaucrats, intellectual elitists and media gurus than the right of everyone to express their own opinion, or act in what they consider their own best interests?

Yes, with a pandemic wear a mask in public, keep clean, avoid large gatherings, and do so because it’s hygienically intelligent, but not because of fear. Don’t get caught up in identity politics and cultural right think out of fear, that opioid preventing awareness that you are your own person. This is true regarding all aspects of living, as only you can, or should, make decisions about what is best for you. It is said that love and hate are two sides of the same coin; wrong, its fear and hate. Courage and love are two sides of the same coin, and if you have courage, you will find joy in living, not fear of death. Fearful men live without joy, and therefore without love.

An old Chinese proverb wishes that we live in interesting times, and we certainly are as we have reached a cultural crisis. We are at a point where we need to understand the existential differences between the philosophy of liberty and that of its opposite, the philosophy of fear, and its other side of the coin, hate.

We need to not only understand this, but to make a choice. You need to be awake to that, but not “woke”, that pitiful zombionic state of “progressive” culture that seeks a “protected space” from anyone who may think or profess ideas contrary to our own, or worse, live them. This is the culture of fear, which leads to the hatred of all those that, for whatever reason, do not share your beliefs, and have the audacity to live their own lives. They are to be called out, ridiculed as ignorant products of an oppressive society, unworthy of consideration and therefore “canceled”. What malicious mind conceived the idea that a human being can be canceled? What ever happened to the love, peace and harmony of the 60’s and 70’s? OK, so I’m showing my age, but at least I’m here to do so.

Please, trust me on this, I’m not pleading that we all just get along, I’m saying we damn well better if we wish to live in liberty and peace. It’s not all that hard, we used to do that. We respected diversity of beliefs, free expression of ideas and alternative life styles. We valued individuality, actually practiced live-and-let-live, be cool, Let’s-Go-Mets!….well maybe not that, after all I’m a Yankee fan.

But seriously, where did we crash over the guard rails of a civil society?  When did we go tribal in our societal behavior? Well ask yourselves this question – are you an African American, a Latino American, an Asian American, a White American….why not just plain American? Are you a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender….how about none of your damn business! Even more, are you a Republican, Neocon, Democrat, Liberal, Libertarian, Conservative, Progressive, Socialist, Green… about this one – do you love your country, and the Republic for which it stands?

Who are you anyway? Are you afraid of admitting to any of these labels?  Maybe that’s a good thing; after all if you’re not a can of soup or a box of detergent on a grocery shelf, then who needs labels? Consider what Mark Twain once said: “The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.” Well you don’t need to think about the day you were born, you had little to do with that, but do you know why? I think it’s just to be whoever you want to be, not to live life in accordance with the opinions or wishes of others.

The alternative is you become an intruder on the rights of others, a parasite of their industry, a master of whom you make a slave to your own welfare; whichever it is your fear of living on your own brings you to the sociopathic alternative of a culture of fear. Oddly enough, it is a state of mind wherein you are more frightened than you would ever be harmed, more a victim of a fearful imagination than from any injury in reality.

Liberty offers no protected space, no guarantee of success, no avoidance of reality.  It offers only what you already have, and that is yourself. Liberty only guarantees an opportunity, and that is to make the most of yourself as you can.  There is no equality to anyone else (except under the law) as comparisons are not what liberty is about. It is an absolute; you are absolutely on your own to be whatever you can make of yourself.

There is a catch though and that is with liberty comes the responsibility of the consequences of your actions.  Does that put fear in your heart? Why, because you could make a bad decision? Well that’s life, and you have to live it to enjoy it, but so what if you make a bad decision, its called experience; good news, with experience you get to make good decisions. There’s a great life lesson that experience is better than education because with experience mistakes are all your own, but with education you carry the mistakes of others, at least until you get over them. Remember that thing called courage?  Well it’s not the mistakes you make that matter, it’s the courage to learn from them and move on.

Make no mistake about liberty, it’s damn hard to live life being yourself, but understand that the most common cause of depression is not being who you are. Depression is a state of despair, of fear, and that’s no way to live. Some people who suffer from depression do so out of fear of what others think of them, but then consider which would be better, to be hated for who you are, or loved for whom you’re not? What a horror it would be to live your days not knowing who you are.

There’s another thing about liberty and being who you are that may put fear in you, and that’s the fact that there are no guaranteed plans for success since you have no way to know what the future may bring. Man is a social animal and will always have exchanges with his fellow man in all aspects of life, but there’s one immutable guiding ethical principle, and that’s to never initiate aggression. In order to be yourself, you must respect the natural right of all men to own themselves, their life, their liberty and whatever they make through their industry. Everything else comes from this essential natural law, but not a plan for success. Life is a journey in to the future, which by definition is unknown. Funny thing about the future, unlike the past it never ends, and that’s what makes it so wonderful. So be a fearless traveler, you have nothing to lose and all of life to gain.

As Lao Tsu said some two and a half millennia ago “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

Silence of the Damned

With so much protests going on about us, why is there relative silence about the suppression of free speech? Such silence will surely damn America like a cancer causing the destruction of our cultural and social values. As Mark Twain said “The truth hurts but silence kills.”

What is it about Edward Snowden that scares the NSA so much?  After all, what he released seven years ago is already in the public domain, and much of it disclosed what should be deemed illegal activities by that organization to begin with.  He was a true whistle blower, and the American people should embrace him as a hero, not a traitor. His actions were a protest against our government’s obscene surveillance and invasions of privacy of Americans. I think exposing that scares those that are up to no good.

Amazingly Trump is considering pardoning Snowden.  That is likely motivation due to his feud with the intelligence community regarding his dealings with Russia and the Ukraine, but you take whatever good comes along and pardoning Snowden would be a good thing.

Snowden had supporters in Congress, such as Ron Paul, who stated “My understanding is that espionage means giving secret or classified information to the enemy.  Since Snowden shared information with the American people, his indictment for espionage could reveal, or confirm, that the US Government views you and me as the enemy.” That’s a chilling insight we need to seriously consider.

Snowden was charged under, among other statutes, the Espionage Act of 1917.  That was a shameful law that was meant to silence protest about the US entry into the Great War; the most shameful episode was the acquiescence of the Supreme Court in Schenck v. United States. Schenck was protesting through the distribution of pamphlets, the same publication medium as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense during the American Revolution. The Courts twisted logic in finding against Schenck was a repudiation of free speech if there ever was one. We currently face a tsunami of forces against free speech.

Politically we face the likely revision to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Oddly enough the original purpose of that legislation was to restrict free speech on the internet that was deemed “obscene”, but it also included this section which protected social media as an open public platform against law suits about what someone may publish that anyone found offensive. Now both Democrats and Republicans want to change that as they seek to silence free voices that may criticize them.

Academically there’s the very troubling phenomenon on college campuses where opinions expressed by students and faculty that fellow students and teachers find offensive often results in censorship, suspension, firing and expulsion. How can institutions of higher learning not support free expression, the very essence of intellectual development?

Socially, we are not doing much better.  Consider for a moment the Antifa movement, which openly espouses that the very concept of free speech is a tool of “liberal” suppression.  The term liberal here does not refer to a political spectrum of modern politics but that of the Enlightenment. That the acronym Antifa stands for Anti-Fascism is another Bizzaro World reversal of our times. Also be aware of the “woke” movement which seeks to suppress any free expression that someone finds “threatening”; well there’s a slippery slope that can’t lead to anything good.

The mass media has not been very helpful here; they are supposed to represent an essential element of democracy as a free press but in fact have deteriorated into political advocacy contrary to objective journalism. This failure aids in polarization and provides an open door for interference from bad actors like Russian and Chinese agents. The effectiveness of those actions increases in the absence of reliable information.  

Soon we will see political debates as a lead up to the 2020 elections. It’s troubling that both major parties are actively working to prevent the inclusion of third party candidates, even initiating law suits in that effort. This is not an encouraging development in support of free speech. Americans have a right to hear from all those seeking public office and a true democratic process requires an informed electorate.

Regardless of your political position, keep in mind that free of speech is the foundation of liberty which provides you with the right to even have a political position.  A lack of support for free speech is a silence that will damn that right to an empty phrase.


It’s been a while since I last posted on my blog, but it has been time well spent catching up on so many things I should have done well before the pandemic, as I’m sure is the same for many of you.

I hope you are all doing well, and that includes not panicking over COVID19; the real pandemic that it causes is stress. As my long time doctor has told me, the ultimate cause of poor health long term is stress.  

While I don’t believe our administration for a moment regarding this pandemic, I find all those that are indulging in panic, especially the talking heads in politics and the media, to be irresponsible, causing undue stress.

We need to keep our eye on the long run, an aide to which is a look back in history.  Consider a century ago when the worst pandemic of modern times, known as the Spanish Flu, hit the world just as the Great War came to an end – timing is everything.

The world population at that time was about 1.8B.  Total cases are estimated at about 500M, and deaths at about 50M.  This provides some perspective given an infection rate of 27.7% and a mortality rate of 10% of cases, equivalent to 2.7% of the world population; staggering statistics.

Not to minimize COVID19, but comparatively we currently have a world population of 7.8B; as of today total infections are at 14.3M, and deaths at 603K.  That’s an infection rate of .18%, and a mortality rate of 4.3% of cases, equivalent to .0077% of the world population. This mortality rate is close to SARS, while MERS was a staggering 34.4%.

While we can contribute the lower rates to better disease protocols, clearly COVID19 is the lesser of the modern era viral epidemics; here are some things to consider that fed in to this panic:

  1. Much of the early market sell-off came from large institutional investors like pensions, hedge funds, and investment banks, which represent the majority of investment and employ algorithmic trading platforms that automatically move with headline news. We saw this before with MERS and SARS, two earlier Coronas, but not to this extent; that the media creates headlines that can cause such panic was clear.
  2. It didn’t help that the FED cut rates drastically as that only added to the panic.  Besides, I doubt interest rate cuts cure diseases, has not really helped economically except to keep Zombie companies afloat a little longer, lower debt service for the Federal Government, and feeds Wall Street frenzies, but this definitely hits fixed incomes really hard and does little for the average American worker.
  3. Stimulus programs sound good, but only work short term and ultimately cause capital dislocations away from productivity; the long results will definitely cause panic.
  4. The Fed’s practice of monetizing debt will only extend the recovery period as it did with QE in the 2008 Financial Crisis; professing an “all-in” policy is actually a sign of panic, essentially admitting that all you can do is react to whatever comes about, which is no policy at all.
  5. It only adds to the panic to hear people discount concerns based on false and irrelevant information in the face of simple statistical evidence. When Trump said that he didn’t know that people could die from a virus, it was very disconcerting to find out his own grandfather did! This kind of stuff from the leadership level does not instill confidence.
  6. Medical experts and history tell us that COVID19, which is particularly contagious, will spread out everywhere, which is true, it’s what viruses do, so I have little faith in containment plans; they may help “flatten the curve” in the short term, but ultimately this virus will run its course.
  7. What we need is testing, which not only provides reliable statistical information, but critical analyses and medical protocols for treatments and to help develop a vaccine.  Would you believe that with all their hype the media failed to report what MIT published, i.e. that the FDA had initially disallowed local laboratories to conduct testing and required specimens to be sent to the CDC? Finally under intense congressional pressure with the release of MIT’s report the FDA relented on February 29th and changed this policy. What was the FDA thinking getting in the way of medical science? Dumb question right, it’s what they do.
  8. The predictions by experts of millions of Americans dying from COVID19 caused some states to lockdown businesses, depriving many from livelihoods without which they could not live; such panic mongering is even more lethal than the virus itself, but why do we not hear more about the gross miscalculations?
  9. The hyperbole about vaccine development is causing both euphoria and panic; we need a measured analysis for some clarity on this critical issue.

The list goes on, but I will follow what my doctor of 40 years told me – keep clean, keep good health habits, follow hygienic protocols and don’t panic as that creates stress that will definitely make you sick…..and live your life.

And from my financial advisor, don’t look at your retirement plans for about a year, that will definitely stress you out.

Looking For America

It was the late 60’s. It was a time of strife, a time of the civil rights and anti-war movements, a time that tore at the fabric of American society, raising conflict between patriotism and moral indignation, racism and rights, older and younger generations; it was a time of turbulence.

In such an environment a bunch of us CCNY college kids embarked on an adventure that in looking back bordered on insanity. One summer we took off in seriously challenged cars, with little resources, on a journey across America. There was no real plan accept a general route to go South, then Northwest, then Southwest, then North again along the Pacific coast, and then East toward home. This caravan of young devil-may-care wanders sometimes split up, often got lost, but always kept the faith that this journey was the right path, the way to better know our country. We were city kids who knew nothing beyond our home, but we had a desire to understand a country that in many ways baffled us.

Some nearly four months and 15,000 miles later we definitely had different perspectives, but perhaps were even more baffled than before. How, we wondered, was this country held together? The diversity, complexity and sometimes contradictions of such a huge place seemed as if we had passed through different countries.  However, through it all we also felt a commonality with everyone we met, seldom experiencing hostility of any kind.

Looking at all the polarization, conflict and violence in the country today, I would not now take that journey again. The bridges that would not burn then are now destroyed as the country devolves into one cataclysmic event after another, a dystopia so prevalent that I don’t know if I could find that America of my youth again. The strife for civil rights, a movement so established as non-violent, principled in liberty and equality before the law by people like Martin Luther King Jr., has been replaced with demagogues calling for the violence plaguing many cities and towns across the country, met by various white supremacists just waiting for an excuse to exacerbate the situation in to even more hate and violence. 

Maybe it’s the maturation into family and parenthood, but I suspect that even if I was not blessed with any of that, I wouldn’t do it again.  It’s not the lack of a sense of adventure as that has thankfully never left me. In recent years past my wife and I would travel to Europe, rent a car and found the best way to get to know another country is to get lost in it.

Rather it’s a sense of loss that the America I knew in my youth is gone, and likely will not be coming back anytime soon. It’s not just that things have changed that disturbs me, but that people seem lost. I hear complaints from my generation that millennials have no sense of purpose, just entitlement.  But these are our children who we sent to universities, exploding the higher education population exponentially, but we never bothered to understand that we created institutions that provided the corrosive misconceptions that led to a state of delusion, negativity and hostility. Understanding that helps explain what Mark Twain meant when he said “I was educated once; it took me years to get over it.”

While there are many elements to the devolution of American society, its roots are as old as the nation itself.  That the Founders began without living up to the very principles they espoused was evident in the existence of slavery, a delusion that would inevitably cause a bloody Civil War and social conflict to this day. The miseducation that racism is just if in the interest of a greater good it is a means to equality is also a delusion, a denial that evil regardless of intent is still evil.

The belief that economics is a tool and not a natural phenomenon of human society creates the delusion that equality of means can be achieved through coercion, a misconception that capitalism is a cause as opposed to a result.  As Milton Friedman once explained “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

There are other elements in the educational paradigm that have created in much of our society misconceptions of what liberty is, and a rejection of the humanism from which it arises. To believe in liberty is to believe that every individual has the right to pursue their own interests, even if you find those interests to be contrary to your own, or even to someone else’s interests. It is the freedom to even make your own mistakes as long as you accept the consequences.

This is what has changed from the America of my youth. But even more that just these misconceptions perhaps is the attitude that those that disagree with these delusions do not have in fact the right to do so. Gone is the spirit that you can disagree with what someone says, but defend their right to say it. This loss of belief in liberty was recently expressed well in a statement by the American economist Thomas Sowell on a recent tweet:

“Too many people today act as if no one can honestly disagree with them.  If you have a difference of opinion with them, you are considered to be not merely in error, but in sin. You are a racists, a homophobe or whatever the villain of the day happens to be.”

Perhaps this is the main cause of our societal ills, the willingness to demonize, dismiss, and cancel someone because you feel threatened by something they represent or say.  This polarization of Americans into competing camps of right-think, and the delusion that they have the right to use coercion to establish the dominance of their beliefs, either through violence such as what we see on the streets of our cities, or by political will through what we call democracy in voting politicians to power to legislate for your positons or against those of others, is the essence of anarchy and authoritarianism.

This growth of statism is a symptom of a society in trouble of losing its civility and sense of good will to its citizens, and yet it’s odd that you hear the opposite from those that propose that the state can be the solution. The late Murray Rothbard expressed this best when he said “Irony is a statist calling an anarchist a threat to society.”

What Americans need to do is take a big time out, readily doable in a pandemic, and get to a quiet place of mind and think about a positive approach to life, devoid of fear and its companion hate, to understand that the pursuit of happiness is a right, not a guarantee and never a justification to impose your beliefs on your fellow man. Perhaps then we can find America.

Democracy Is Not Liberty

If you disagree with this assertion, you need to understand that democracy is a political system, as in a form of government, whereas liberty is a state of human existence. Unfortunately any form of government, democratic or otherwise, can impose oppressive restrictions on liberty.

This is an important concept of political and sociological science; in the context of current American politics and society it’s an existential issue. No government actually gives you liberty as it’s something you are born with, and therefore no government, no matter its political system, has the right to take it away. Actually governments have no rights, only the powers its people give it, and therein lays the existential issue.

So apparently the political solution would be to protect against a government oppressing liberty, right?  Better yet, define why government is even necessary to begin with; after all, if government is the main threat to liberty, the obvious solution is not to have one, right? Well anarchists have used that argument for millennia, but I believe that would also raise an existential issue, specifically how do you protect against coercive threats, external or internal, to liberty? 

So to distill the many arguments for and against government we come down to the issue of coercion, which is inherently evil because by its very nature it seeks to reduce the individual to nothing more than a means to achieve the goals of someone else, like a thief or a group such as a political party.

Now take the last example since we are talking about politics and liberty. What difference does it make if the coercion is a product of a dictatorship or a democratic mandate? This is not an argument against government; it’s an argument against coercion.  The true and only justification then for government is to protect all its citizens against coercion, both foreign and domestic. Using force against invasion of your country or invasion of your home is self-defense.  A government that Initiates force against another country or its own citizens is therefore by definition oppressive.

In the democratic process it is assumed that the rule of the majority is necessarily a good thing, as it is and expression of freedom; that is a false positive in defense of liberty. If something is wrong, it does not become good because the majority say so. If the majority votes to entitle them to something they have not earned, then it is of necessity at the expense of someone else who has consequently lost that measure of liberty.

In a truly free society, the concept of what is a greater good is not a justification for the use of coercion, whether by dictate or mandate. Currently we are bombarded with the nonsensical proposition of social justice, an excuse for the use of coercion to create equality in all things; it is the most corrosive phenomenon against liberty, yet it is the sacred cow of those that consider themselves “Progressive”, an oxymoronic label considering it is actually regressive. Do Progressives realize that their proposition destroys liberty, the very essence of what it means to be human and an individual?

What does equality in the context of social justice even mean? If it means that we are all equal before the law, great; apparently that is not the case as it proposes that all humans are equal in all things. Such a concept is contrary to humanism; we are all individuals and not some homogenous entity. To reduce humanity to such sameness creates a dystopia antithetical to liberty. 

Politically such a phenomenon, if enacted by mandate, proves Floyd Arthur Harper’s warning that “The citizens of a democracy have in their hands the tools by which to enslave themselves.”

This News Is Not New

Recently major media sources have been reporting about the huge rise in bank deposits as if it’s some new phenomenon.  More intelligent, informed and principled economic and financial analysts have been telling this story for decades, and increasingly since the Great Recession and the QE it spawned.

It should surprise no one that the majority of the huge stimulus issued by the UST and the Fed has found its way to the major US banks, who in turn cater to their large corporate clients.  Couple that with record low interest rates and you have the recipe for fattening the hogs even more while the average American sees little of this largess.

Granted there are the $1,200 stimulus checks to families and the $600 add on for unemployment benefits, the former that does little and the later that disincentives going back to work, but these are for political cover more than real economic benefit.  In reality, this spending out of empty pockets is only possible given the existence of fiat (fancy word for fake) currencies that can be manipulated to expand the money supply.

And what are the banks doing with all this cash? Well unless you are one of their big corporate clients they deem capable of ever paying back a loan, you will not be on that bread line, so much of it remains in the vault as reported, at least digitally.

And what do those banks and big corporate clients do with these loans (some under PPP will not even have to be paid back) provided at mandated depressed interest rates?  Well given the fact that, at least on paper, they are not supposed to use any for stock buybacks, they can use it to build their balance sheets and use other earnings to do exactly what they have been doing – buybacks.  Why spend money to grow a business to supply goods and services in an economy with little demand?  So who benefits from such a scheme – the rich corporate heads that get even richer, while most Americans get even poorer. Yes, there is income inequality in America, but not for the smoke and mirror reasons we are told.

Keep in mind that it was governments who created lockdowns.  While the correct response in a pandemic is high hygienic protocols, canceling the means for livelihoods is a death sentence to an economy and many of its citizens in ways yet to be seen, and you will see, hear and read about that with increased frequency.  Every emergency spawns opportunities for those intoxicated with power.

This is not capitalism, this is cronyism, the elitist club pass-time of the power and money elite in government and business playing the same old game.  While their talking heads in media and academia point the finger at capitalism and spout redistribution policies as a cure all, the same elite snicker in their soup, cheer the right think pundits on while they get fatter, literally by the day now.

If this sounds cynical please forgive me.  I am losing faith that there are few if any financially and morally responsible people in power any longer.  I am neither a Republican nor Democrat so this is not a partisan rant, but a cry of despair that we are so far gone that the burden of debt created by policy is not falling on those responsible, but those least able to shoulder it. In fact, it is our children, grandchildren, and likely even our great grandchildren and yet to be born who will actually bear the cost of such irresponsible and larcenous behavior.

So when you hear and read about the never ending and unresolved debate about how much even more stimulus we need, understand that those shouting the loudest and promising the most are the least to be trusted.


Bunker Mentality 4

All actions, including policies decided with COVID19, have consequences; if not intended, they were never considered or were unforeseeable. Early on there were conflicting reports, some saying that there was no real issue and others portending the end of the world.

From the medical perspective, the intent was and is containment of the contagion with careful hygiene and avoiding physical proximity, treatment of the afflicted and hopefully a cure and vaccine. These are medical protocols and should not be conflated as policy. The medical industry does not have political power, they are advisory only.

From the civil perspective, people reacted reasonably well without mandate and practiced the various measures advised, but most did not go into a bunker until forced by edict.

From the political perspective, there were two reactions, chaotic and draconian, with open conflicts among various levels of government as to who had authority, federal, state or local. There were demands from each on the others while at the same time declaring their own powers.  There were strident edicts demanding the closure of just about everything.  There was panic, hubris, snarky denunciations and mindless directives, but there was little composure. Absent rational debate, there was virtually no consideration of anything but the desire to create a perception of doing something.

From an economic perspective, establishing hygienic protocols was essential, but to place a country in house arrest is not just inhuman and likely illegal, but effectively puts it in a depression. To make matters worse, the government expands an already bloated financial system with even more debt in the name of relief and stimulus, proving that they learned nothing from past failures.  

Science is a broad and multi-discipline field. It is the role of management to seek as much information across all disciplines in order to derive a plan addressing what is known and that serves not just the present, but the future. What we got instead was a fractured environment of power grabbing bureaucrats, some elected, some not, laying out their turf. 

This is hardly new in the US history of pandemics. Similar behavior can be found with the Spanish Flu. It was not a coincidence with the end of the Great War, but likely because of it.  As the Doughboys came home from the sodden infested trenches of Europe, they brought this with them.  It did not originate in Spain despite the name of the Flu.  Spain was a neutral country during the war with the least censored press, and reported early news of the virulent influenza; it killed around 20-50M worldwide, more than the 17M in the war. The wide range of reported deaths was due to a lack of reliable data, typical then as it is now. The origins are guessed as the UK, France or China, all unproven as is the reason for its devastating potency. What is agreed is that pestilence historically follows war, and the Great War was the worst in history up to that time. While reactions ranged wildly in the US from lockdowns in St. Louis to virtually nothing at all in Philadelphia, the short term results varied accordingly, but the long term effects of the flu were the same everywhere.

Political intentions can be benign or self-serving. With COVID19, most states decided that medical preparedness, an informed public, and avoidance of devastating impacts to citizens’ livelihoods, would in the long run best serve everyone; most US states took this course.

Then there are governors that took the draconian approach with lockdowns. Some of these governors were well intended without self-serving motivations.  Then there are those like Governor Whitmer of Michigan stridently shuttering everything in sight; even with the few businesses she allowed to operate she actually dictated what could not be sold from gardening goods to American flags. 

So what motivated this later group to act so dictatorially? It was Rahm Emmanuel, COS for Barack Obama, who told him during the MERS pandemic, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”  Even a better indicator with COVID19 comes from Joe Biden’s savior, House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, telling Democratic Party leaders that COVID19 presented “…a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” On the back of these miseries they see opportunity?

Now as we hear about the plans to end the lockdowns, more and more Americans are beginning to question if not protest these policies, and not just because of money; it’s about something more basic called livelihood, a long term consideration.

I don’t subscribe to the “Plandemic” conspiracy theory, at least not based on what we know at this time.  True that the virus appears more and more chimeric with its accelerating mutations, but that does not necessarily mean it was intentionally released like some biological warfare on the world.  China is a pretty bad actor, but are they so sociopathic to commit such an act on themselves? 

More likely the trail comes back to the NIH who were conducting chimeric experiments on viruses until Congress voted a moratorium on such research; undeterred they outsourced and funded the research to Wuhan China where lax oversight is to blame. It’s disturbing that the NIH is persistently advocating against the moratorium.

Surely there’s room in the news for more about this just as much as the Trump tweets about injecting or ingesting toxic chemicals. Why instead are we bombarded with such meaningless bromides like “We are all in this together” and “We are one”? We are none of those things; we are human beings who should not be locked up and deprived of our lives and livelihoods.

Such an agenda is more befitting a Fascist dictator than a Republic, toxic to its political, economic and medical health. We can only conclude that those that advocate such policies have not let this crisis go to waste, but have taken the opportunity to satisfy their addiction to power, craving ever more control over the American people.


Bunker Mentality 3

Before we proceed to discuss consequences of the COVID19 policies, we will list certain facts that have been reported relative to these consequences:

  1. As the economy is “allowed” to reopen, there will be an increase in the infection and death rates; inevitable given the nature of contagious diseases, and even more so a chimeric virus.
  2. The current infection rate is estimated at 20%, but likely much higher; it is estimated that as many as 143K Americans will die by August, but again could be more.
  3. The rapidly mutating virus is now affecting children and with different symptoms than adults; yet another indication that we are dealing with a chimeric virus.
  4. The unemployment rate, already unprecedented in American history, will likely rise; even if we reopen now there are many jobs that will not come back soon, if ever. 
  5. Assuming one of the two main political parties wins in November, we will not have an improvement in leadership, partisanship, polarization or civil discourse.
  6. None of the drastic financial manipulations of the Federal Reserve, or federal government in general, will improve any of the above, and will actually make things worse. Most of the relief money is going to the usual suspects like large corporations and Wall Street Banks. Main Street, as in the Financial Crisis, is Tuesday’s child.

Perspective is needed when considering what governments usually do when confronted with problems; Ronald Regan clearly understood that when he said “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”  Creating “money” out of thin air is not an antidote to disease or economic ills.

We can see now some of the consequences taking shape:

  1. We are in a greater depression than the Great Depression; a recession was coming anyway with the credit bubble (See earlier post, “The Perfect Storm”); COVID19 policies just pushed the metrics into depression territory.
  2. The financial instability will be greater than 2008; the expansion of credit, given the trillions of dollars just created with key strokes, is actually even more debt, placing a burden on Americans that will crush them for even a longer period of economic hardship, likely into future generations.
  3. While these relief and stimulus policies sound huge, the bulk of it goes to the usual government cronies like banks and corporations, little to Main Street to alleviate a moribund economy, and driving equities into even higher unrealistic and unsustainable evaluations.
  4. When the unemployment benefits, including the augmented Federal funding, eventually run out, and that will be soon enough, people will be left with little to no means of support, and no health benefits to rely on, creating a health crisis greater than COVID19.
  5. The food supply chain will be severely impaired, creating malnutrition, adding to the health crisis.
  6. There will be increased crime and civil unrest, endemic in such crises, further impacting health.
  7. Governments have seized powers by decree; they have been doing so over a long span of time since the turn of the last century, but now at a steroid like induced rate, eroding even further our civil liberties. Power mongers love the “opportunities” crises provide.
  8. Politically there will be even further polarization and partisan extremism, adding to an environment ripe for authoritarianism.

The study of economics evolved from sociology.  Many people don’t realize that early works like those of Adam Smith and David Ricardo were studies in sociology, principally focused on the interrelationships among people and their livelihoods. These works gave rise to the creation of the discipline known as economics. Essentially, from a sociological perspective, suspend those relationships and you effectively destroy livelihoods. Plagues have been a part of all human history and have had critical impacts to the economic wellbeing of man, but when you suspend the ability to make a living, you are destroying the means to live and recover. Plagues do kill so people will die, but life goes on…..provided it is not suspended.

While we have discussed how long term consequences were not considered, next we should look at what was unintentionally or even intentionally disregarded or dismissed, and what this informs us regarding that.


Bunker Mentality Part 2

Applying what was discussed in the prior post to the current pandemic, a list of what is known:

  1. The EIS (Epidemic Intelligence Service) of the CDC expressed concerns back in 2014 about chimeric laboratory experiments by the NIH with viruses.  Amazingly in the course of the next few years Congress became aware of and legislated for a moratorium on such experiments. I say amazingly because Congress is often myopic regarding such issues.
  2. The NIH however was undeterred and outsourced such experiments in the “…cause of science.” It should be noted that the outsourcing was to laboratories in Wuhan, China.  There is much conjecture as to what these experiments were or what was produced; some journalists are still investigating but such efforts in China are seldom productive, and lately the same can be said here in the US.
  3. Again the EIS reported that this virus was with us much earlier than initially thought, perhaps as early as late November. Oddly enough the CDC ignored their findings, and the WHO went on to praise China’s efforts in combating the pandemic despite evidence to the contrary.
  4. The administration and its various agencies apparently went along with the CDC and the WHO, allowing air and sea traffic between Asia and Europe well into February and March.
  5. As we became more aware of the spread of this virus, governments went into panic mode, essentially locking down many US States in efforts to contain (flatten the curve) the spread, which we were told was by aspiration.
  6. In the above, please note that the EIS was more concerned about the spread of this virus as they had found sufficient evidence to indicate that it was airborne, making it extremely ubiquitous; essentially, there’s just no stopping it considering that the air is literally everywhere. This raises the likelihood, which is becoming statistically apparent as testing becomes more prevalent, that there are far more people throughout the world who were infected; this includes those infected who are asymptomatic, or recovered even if they were unaware of being infected, or seemingly immune.
  7. We heard early on the concern that we had a shortage of ventilators, which at the time was justified given that the virus attacks the respiratory functions; fortunately with increased supply and falling need we avoided that crisis, at least for the moment.
  8. However, the death rate of those on ventilators was about 88%; the efficacy of that treatment is now in doubt by many doctors.
  9. The virus’ death rate is dominantly with the aged and/or those with underlying chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, immune disorders, emphysema, cancer, etc.
  10. As of today, the US has reported 1.2M cases. It should be noted that on testing, the positive rate is about 20%, indicating that the virus is indeed everywhere despite the lockdowns, which likely contributed little in flattening the curve.
  11. The deaths due to COVID19 and the seasonal influenza appear about even at 65K; please note that 73K was reported but a significant number reported as CIVID19 were in fact due to other causes, but counted as COVID19 simply because of detected infection. 
  12. The death rate for COVID19 continues to fall from about 4.5% early on to about 2% now; that will likely continue to fall as testing increases. Note that the death rate for seasonal influenza is about .1% based on approximately 50M cases. It is noteworthy that the death rate for SARS was 9.6%, but even that pales in comparison to MERS 65%.
  13. There are confirmed cases of medical staff being directed to re-document prior death certificates, i.e. from whatever was initially recorded to revisions for COVID19, or to document the cause of death as COVID19 when it was apparent that there were other causes.
  14. The FDA disallowed the use of testing kits available worldwide, and up to late February, the use of laboratory facilities for test analysis other than CDC and related agencies, presenting unacceptable obstacles to securing the public health and obtaining viable statistics.
  15. The two leading causes of death in the US remain heart and cancer diseases, accounting for 1.25M people annually. The fastest growing disease in the US is diabetes, which now is the cause of more than 83K deaths annually and growing.
  16. Economists divide the American population into quintiles. Of these five groups, the lowest includes those at or near the poverty level.  The next two up the ladder are considered low-mid middle class; the next group is considered mid-upper middle class, and the top group upper middle to rich. These are generalizations and various government agencies, private institutions and  economists define them and assign attributes variably; however, the lower two quintiles and a majority of the third, approximately 52% of Americans, carry the most consumer debt, making them highly vulnerable to negative economic conditions.

There are many more things we can list that governments should have taken into consideration as it deliberated what actions could be taken to combat COVID19, but let’s just look at what is listed compared to what they did:

  1. Seek and make sure you have the all information from medical and intelligence sources; this was not done or they would have been aware of the EIS reports, informing them more intelligently and completely as to what they were dealing with.
  2. Provide early warnings to the public; while criticism abounds how the administration failed back in January to heed the advice of the CDC, the fact remains that the EIS reports talked about late November.  Where was the CDC and the Who at that time?
  3. Avoid panic as this leads to dire consequences, like hoarding essential goods, migrations to outlying areas, violence, etc.; while some Governors like Cuomo preached against panic, it’s not what they practiced.  Being fed the end of the world posturing of the CDC and the mass media, they jumped on the band wagon of draconian policies with lock-downs.
  4. Inform the public of just how serious the virus is comparatively, meaning that they should be aware of greater threats to life that we deal with all the time without the need to resort to drastic measures; never discussed, and instead we were told to be prepared for deaths in the millions.
  5. Keep the public truthfully and completely informed of all the facts, not just those that support whatever actions have been taken; never happened as politicians only spoke to whatever they perceived supported their policies.
  6. Define sensible hygienic measures and protocols, and adjust these as more information is available; started out well enough given what was known with social distancing, masks against aspiration, etc. made some sense, but then again little changed, except for the worse with lock-downs. Discovery of rapid mutation, indicating chimeric characteristics, the EIS reports for airborne migration, the uneven distribution of cases around the world, etc. apparently provided no insights for reconsideration.
  7. Help coordinate and expedite the supply chain of medical supplies and equipment; never happened. Consider the pathetic open conflicts between federal, state and local governments on supply chains.
  8. Do not allow beauocracy to stand in the way of medical science, i.e. expedite and do not obstruct; the behavior of the FDA and CDC should be viewed as criminal negligence.
  9. Avoid draconian measures that suppress the life, life years and livelihood of Americans; given the 32M Americans now out of work, worse than the Great Depression, it’s hard to think of more Draconian measures than what was done.  The long term destruction of American lives with the loss of their livelihoods affecting diet, health care, etc. will be far greater than whatever this pandemic will ultimately bring. 
  10. Take into account the long term consequences of any actions over the perceived short term benefits of measures, especially any that seem to provide more of a political cover for “… having done something.” Consider the total health of Americans, including economic and psychological, both of which affect life expectancy, and do so with consideration of long term consequences; again, this is not what politicians think about as their horizon seldom goes beyond their term of office.

The failure to see the pandemic coming to the US despite the early warnings became the focus for blame, and not for solutions. When they chose to act they did so in a panic without sufficient knowledge of the problem, and in true bunker mentality mode grasped at the apparent ready solution to hunker down, coercively isolating everyone without consideration of the consequences. Those that objected were derisively labeled stupid, insensitive, selfish…and so on. The government became all knowing, the mass media bought into it, and the detractors received the vitriol that contrarians usually do.

It is becoming apparent that the long term consequences of the actions taken may be even direr than originally anticipated, which we will discuss next.