Let’s Put COVID-19 into PerspectiveJon Morrow
The answer to any emergency that suppresses productivity is NEVER to print more currency.
As an economist with a compromised immune system from cancer treatments that has had COVID-19, I believe I have some provenance in making the above assertion.
There is this thing in economics called the LAW OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND. It is a law that has been rigorously tested and has never been disproven, It is not a theory. When you have a falling demand for labor and a rising supply of currency – the currency becomes devalued. At first it may seem like a great thing but when the market catches up we will see a devaluation of our currency.
The best and most proper way to stimulate the economy is for the government to use its own cash reserves on hand- which will of course reduce the overall budget for the United States.
Congress will have to exceed the productivity expectations that were in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in order to pay for the stimulus that would be paid out from cash on-hand.
The government could accomplish this in a number of ways.
The government has a tremendous amount of land – especially in America’s southwest. They could sell this land as is or it could improve the land and make a tremendous profit off of it. Prison labor, immigrant labor, could help to boost our productive output similar to how the WPA worked under Roosevelt (of course this would all be voluntary labor as I am not advocating a return to slavery). This could be accomplished through irrigation by building some nuclear power plants and building roads and infrastructure – much like how the Tennessee Valley Authority increased the property value and productivity of many states.
Another way they could increase productivity is for Congress to repeal several job killing measures – a big one in particular is to allow rare-earth mining, another is to allow drilling in ANWR, another is to allow drilling on the continental shelf.
More than 1,000 deaths have been linked to the Coronavirus. The bailout currently is for $6 Trillion dollars which puts a value on each current death of $60 Billion. We know that the death toll will climb.
Let’s say the Coronavirus causes deaths to rise 500 times – to 500,000 deaths.
That would be $12 million per person for the value of each death. Most people that can afford life insurance only value their life at a $million – using that figure we could reduce the stimulus by a factor of 12.
We more than likely could still reduce deaths for far less money than $6 Trillion. We could just pay a $1million death benefit to family members that have a loved one die from COVID-19.
To put this in perspective – more than 600,000 people will die of cancer this year. Next year – guess what another 600,000 people will die from cancer. Over the last 40 years we have spent only about $200 Billion fighting cancer or about $5 Billion per year.
We will spend 1,000 times what we spend on cancer research in a year -or- 25 times the amount of money that we have ever spent on fighting cancer.
Now, let’s look at the opportunity costs that we could do to make our world a better place to live.
- For about $45 billion we could commercialize new nuclear technology that consumes nuclear waste.
- For $1 trillion we could replace all of our electric generation sources with new nuclear sources and greatly lower our electricity costs, lower the amount of nuclear waste, and greatly reduce air pollution and if you are worried about greenhouse gas emission – we get rid of all that from electric generation as well.
- For another $1 trillion dollars we can put a plasma gasifier at every landfill and eliminate burying our wastes and recycle everything and produce fresh water.
- For about $6 billion we could re-start mining rare earths, refining them here in the United States and start making our own electronics rather than buying them from Asia.
- For about $80 billion we could commercialize nuclear powered space flight and put a base on the moon and mars. This could make traveling to Mars only take a week instead of months.
- For another $20 billion we could commercialize extraction technology for coal ash to produce aluminum and other high strength light-weight alloys from coal ash….making the United States independent from foreign nations for vital light weight high strength alloys.
For about $2.5 trillion we could reach full employment in the United States and create millions of good paying jobs just through priming the productivity pump. $2.5 Trillion could allow us to change the face of the world and reach for the stars. Instead, we – as Americans – are more than likely use this money to buy Chinese products at Walmart and on Amazon and empower China. We will have bailed out their economy and devalued our currency.
I believe we need to take more extreme measures to protect those most likely to get the virus in the most populated areas and have a much more hands off approach for those areas that are not densely populate and may not have those that are at a high risk of morbidity or death.