AP featured image
President Donald Trump kisses the American flag after speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2020, at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

I like to listen to talk radio. I learn a lot and once in a while, I even snag a good idea for one of my articles. Not too long ago I happened to catch the David Webb show (Sirius XM 125) when a caller (Frank) mentioned one of my favorite people, Thomas Sowell. He brought up one of Sowell’s best thoughts. From the man himself

I’ve often said there are three questions that would destroy most of the arguments on the left.

The first is: ‘Compared to what?’

The second is: ‘At what cost?’

And the third is: ‘What hard evidence do you have?’

These are all great questions…especially in our current situation. Taking our cue from the great Sowell, we can apply that thought process, with a small twist, to help us deal with the Wuhan Virus. Compared to what? What hard evidence do you have? At what cost? Who pays? And, what happens next?

Let’s start with the expected death toll if we don’t Do Something!! If we don’t Do Something!! lots of people are going to die! Really? Compared to what? Our annual flu kills between 30,000 to 70,000 people every year…and we have a vaccine for that. Right from the CDC website, we see the top ten annual killers in these United States.

* Heart disease: 647,457
* Cancer: 599,108
* Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
* Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
* Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
* Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
* Diabetes: 83,564
* Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
* Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
* Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

Read: Leading Causes of Death

As you can see, once you eliminate the falsely reported Wuhan fatality stats, this scourge from China wouldn’t even crack the top ten. It’s pretty sorry that the government felt it necessary to redefine what constituted a Wuhan Virus fatality because the numbers were coming in way lower than expected…which brings us to;

What hard evidence do you have? And, it’s partner, What evidence are you missing, dismissing or flat out ignoring? Right from the beginning, the one piece of hard evidence we were missing, was the “denominator” in the Mortality Rate fraction, Total Fatalities divided by Total Infections. This adventure started out with recognized scientific authorities claiming a mortality rate upwards of 7 percent! Then as I predicted in my nightly, now weekly, Wuhan Virus Updates, the U.S Estimated Mortality Rate would come down to below 1 percent.

Read: U.S. Wuhan Virus Nightly Reports

The reason? Increased testing was able to officially record more infections, thus raising the denominator. Of course, Fatalities are a lagging number from infections, so over time, Fatalities went up and then started to decline. Right about that time, the Federal government gave encouragement to the practice of inflating fatality numbers by some localities and states.

Partially offsetting this, were a number of new studies, (you know, hard evidence?) that the denominator was a lot…I mean a lot bigger than originally thought. We are talking about somewhere between 50 and 80 other people infected for each one who has been officially recorded. That puts us right at or below the Mortality Rate for our annual flu, less than .1% It appears that most of the decisions were made without the most important pieces of hard evidence. Go figure.

At what cost? Who pays? These two kind of go together, so I’ll address them here. What was the cost? In dollars? We wiped out trillions in stock value in a matter of days. Those stocks are what comprise people’s retirement accounts and pension funds.

Who pays? Retirees…the folks who are having to draw on those funds now for living expenses, are having to sell 5-10 times the number of shares they normally would have to pay their monthly bills. This took years off the expected lifespan of those accounts.

We put untold small businesses…out of business.

Who pays? Not only the owners whose blood sweat and tears went into building those businesses, but also their employees who might not be fortunate enough to be able to “telecommute.” These are the folks (we’ve all been there) who if they walked out in the morning and were presented with four flat tires, would be financially wrecked for 6 months afterwards. That’s who pays…and the list goes on.

In order to create bed space for an expected throng of Virus patients, we stopped elective surgeries and other outpatient procedures.

Who pays? Hospitals are now laying off doctors, nurses and other support staff and some are closing their doors…permanently.

Who pays? We will, when we do open back up and have to drive an extra 50 miles for a procedure and have to wait 2-3 months for a scheduled opening, because we attempted to increase our capacity to deal with an expected threat and ended up diminishing it going forward.

I have no doubt that you, my readers could each provide several other examples of “who pays,” in the comments section…without a whole lot of repeats either. Who pays? Who indeed.

So, what happens next? Do we just flip the switch back on and pick up right where we left off? Not lately. I believe President Trump when he says our economy will make a rapid comeback. However, that does not offset all the losses we will have to make up, just to get back to where we were a mere few weeks ago. But that’s not the most serious part.

What happens next, as we analyze our response to this train wreck? What lessons do we take away? Is this going to be the standard battle drill from now on? If our “betters” determine that in “our best interest” they will need to lock us up, abridge our right to assemble or worship…is THAT the take away? I surely hope not. I would hope that this is not some sort of rehearsal.

Finally, what was the benefit? What did we get out of all of this? I don’t have an answer to that. I’m not sure anyone truly does. If we don’t have that answer…if we cannot define or scope it with metrics, then I would submit that by definition, the cost was too high.

Mike Ford
Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters. 
Read more by Mike Ford