Who Will Be Allowed to Die: Granny or the Economy

Gary North (www.garynorth.com), June 18, 2020

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about coronavirus deaths. It reported that of 116,000 fatalities from the coronavirus, about 50,000 of these were residents of nursing homes.

This means that 43 governors shut down their states’ economies and wiped out the jobs of at least 20 million Americans and maybe 30 million in order to save the lives of 50,000 people who were going to die anyway within a couple of years.

Of course, nobody puts it this way. That’s the way I put it.

Granny was going to die anyway. She and her 49,999 peers were not in the economy. Their departure from this mortal coil did not leave any economic evidence of the fact that they left. It would’ve been noise.

Pandemics kill people. They especially kill old people who were going to die anyway. It kills them a little earlier.

America was sent into a frenzy by epidemiologists and virologists who said that this pandemic was going to kill tens of millions of people, or it might not, but we need more testing, which we never got, because we don’t really know, so lockdown the economy.

The 43 governors took away our freedoms. They confined people in their homes. They destroyed tens of thousands of businesses. Congress then responded by a $2.3 trillion bailout. It’s going to spend another trillion dollars, and maybe even more. The economy has suffered the worst setback since the Great Depression. For what? The lockdowns didn’t do the 50,000 residents any good. They died anyway. Maybe the lockdowns saved another 25,000. Nobody knows. Nobody will ever know.

So far, politicians have wiped out the economy in order to save people who were in nursing homes. But 66,000+ have died anyway. The worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, although it may flare up again. But, for now, it’s about 1,000 people a day who die from it. That’s a lot of people, but people die for many reasons. We don’t know how many will die if the economy is completely opened up. We are not going to find out, for this reason: the economy is not going to be opened up to where it was in February. It is going to stay partially locked down for the rest of the year, probably most of the next year, and maybe permanently. We don’t know.

We also are not told how many of the 66,000 dead who were not in nursing homes were above age 65. Most old people aren’t in nursing homes. They are walking around. Anyway, they used to be walking around. Then they were locked down. My guess is that if the study that revealed that 50,000 residents of nursing homes died also covers the ages of those who died who were not in nursing homes, the results would show that an abnormally high percentage were over 65. Now they won’t have to go to nursing homes. Their families will be able to save the money. That has to be worth something to the overall economy. But, of course, no governor is going to go public with this assessment. It is not politically correct. Too many old people vote.

What we do know is this: the pandemic has been a minor affair statistically. It was nothing compared to the pandemic of 1918. What is not a minor affair is locking down the American population. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their source of income. They are kept on the dole by the new American welfare state. There are locked in their homes, and governments are paying them money that governments don’t have to keep them in their homes.

The economic absurdity of all this should be obvious. The pandemic threatened mainly granny, and granny kicked the bucket anyway. So did 50,000 of her peers. I would call that a failed policy.


The policies remain partially in force. If there is a resurgence of the coronavirus, will the American population allow another series of lockdowns? I don’t think so. I think any governor that attempts it is not going to be reelected this fall if he is on the ballot. I think Americans have had enough. I could be wrong. But the voters do have the ability to get even. Governors are aware of this.

The voters are now in a better position to do a cost-benefit analysis. The economic cost of a return of the lockdowns will be horrendous. The cost of doing nothing will be bad for granny and her friends in the nursing homes, but the prognosis for them is bad anyway. They are not long for this world. That’s why they are in nursing homes.

The chief fatality of the coronavirus has been the idea of a balanced federal budget. That idea was in the intensive care unit before the coronavirus hit. It is now on a ventilator. Its next stop is the morgue.