Obviously, Democrats love to use the coronavirus panic to convert citizens to their ideology.
Now, they’ve gone as far as to suggest socialism is the coronavirus cure. Or at the least the antidote.
In fact, today, The Daily Telegraph published an article titled: ‘There is no alternative: we are all socialists now in the fight against coronavirus.’
This is a joke, right?
Apparently not, but disclaimer. This article was written by Tom Harris. And, if like me, you have no idea who that is, here’s what Google tells us:
Thomas Harris is a journalist and former Scottish Labour Party politician. He was a candidate in the 2011 Scottish Labour Party leadership election, but effectively admitted defeat on 10 December a week before the result was declared
This outrageous article pointedly claims this pandemic will only be solved by massive government intervention. In fact, it’s time we all get on board with leftism if we don’t want coronavirus to get us!
Sadly, articles like this will only multiply in coming day. In fact, AOC just made headlines when she accused Trump of using coronavirus to “further his agenda of tax cuts.”
And if we’re thinking a free market might be the fastest route to a cure, such free-thinking is discouraged.
Consider these words from Harris:
But in the words of one of Mr Johnson’s predecessors, there is no alternative. Yes, he will suffer criticism for loosening the purse strings after the fashion of Gordon Brown in 2008. But Johnson has already proved himself comfortable with the reputation of being a born-again Keynesian: spending on capital projects to create jobs and boost the economy in targeted regions may be, at first glance, a Labour policy. But Johnson doesn’t care so long as the policy works.
Breitbart weighs in on Harris’ work:
Don’t you just love the arrogance of that ‘so long as the policy works’? Harris is not even attempting to persuade us — just stating ex cathedra – that a successful outcome for a massive Keynesian spending splurge is a given, something we no longer need even to bother questioning any more.
Economist Kristian Niemitz’s satirical point is well made:
Coronavirus proves that we URGENTLY need to do X.
X, as it happens, is one of my hobbyhorses that I’ve been banging on about since 1986.
But that’s not the point.
— Kristian Niemietz shamelessly politicises stuff (@K_Niemietz) March 11, 2020
And it’s not just leftists who are coming up with this statist guff.
Here’s a tweet from a former senior UKIP politician:
I’m in favour of massive state (taxpayer) intervention to save the economy. It’s a must. But it will be the 2nd time in 12 yrs. So I hope what emerges afterwards is a greater respect for the public realm and an end to dumb jibes about Govt always being the bane of wealth-creation
— Patrick O’Flynn (@oflynnsocial) March 17, 2020
“It’s a must”.
Oh well, if you say it like that, guess it must be.
And let’s not skip over the Obama comparisons.
In another example of this massive nonsense, Nick Timothy, chief advisor to Theresa May did a little slogan stealing.
This paragraph made me particularly nauseous. It’s essentially a riff on Barack Obama’s similarly revolting, disingenuous, overweeningly statist ‘You didn’t build that’ slogan on the 2012 campaign trail.
From a leftist like Obama it was bad enough. But from someone wearing the conservative label — what was Timothy thinking when he wrote this bilge?
No business has ever built its success alone. Their goods are transported by road, their workers are educated in schools, and their customers are part of sophisticated networks that include the private sector, public sector and charities. Often firms’ intellectual property originated in public institutions. Far from operating in a vacuum, all businesses rely on a strong society, with good government and moral virtues, like honesty and integrity.
These siren voices urging expanded government — and more reckless spending of OUR money — are dangerous, really dangerous. Coronavirus will pass. Our economies will recover. Pump-priming them now is just insane, especially when we’re all physically incapable of going out and actually spending money. But we will as soon as we can.
No Ordinary Time
Clearly, this coronavirus panic attack is affecting our country like nothing else in modern history. And to deal with it, we need a new kind of game plan.
Breitbart points to this “very sensible piece” by economist Ryan Bourne:
This, though, is no ordinary downturn. Economists and commentators who talk about it as such, pushing the same-old “fiscal stimulus” arguments for encouraging spending to “protect the economy,” are not just wrong right now, but dangerous.
The first implication of coronavirus economics is that a sharp slowdown in activity is necessary to contain the virus, because it represents the social distancing required to reduce its spread. While usually a reasonable proxy for economic health then, GDP is temporarily useless as a metric of social welfare. We should ignore it.
Second, ensuring this pause in activity does not do longer-lasting damage should be our key objective. We want this to play out like a bad agricultural season, or an extended “Christmas week” – with a Nike-tick recovery or, given some spending will never occur, a V-shaped rebound that redistributes activity over time.
Both these points mean policy success should be judged not by short-run GDP, but ability to mitigate distress among vulnerable households and businesses, preventing business failures or mass layoffs in viable firms, or severe hardship for those without significant savings or employer benefits. We can judge longer success by assessing the path of GDP over 1-2 years.
Obviously, coronavirus will run it’s course. Just like ebola and the swine flu did. But unfortunately, this over-panic will take decades to recover from. I imagine that if we wipe out the mom and pop sector of our economy, those ramifications will lead to fundamental changes absorbed over several generations. And that idea should be far more nerve-racking than catching a little virus.