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It’s hard to know what to make of the Coronavirus pandemic and our response to it. But if I was one of Donald Trump’s advisers (which I wouldn’t be – I’d get fired in about 20 minutes…), I would encourage the President to use this opportunity to explain something to the American public. We’ve had a couple of government shutdowns in recent years, when our ‘leaders’ couldn’t agree on a budget. For the most part, nobody noticed. Life carried on as usual for most of us. Democrats tried closing public parks for a while, hoping that somebody might notice that the government had shut down. But it really didn’t matter all that much.
But now, due to fears of a contagious disease, the private sector has shut down. This is different. When the government stopped spending money, they had to tell us to be sure we knew. But when the private economy stops – when private individuals stop doing business and stop spending money – we, by God, notice. So Trump could just explain, “When we shut down the government, nobody noticed. But when the private economy has a setback, it can be catastrophic to hundreds of millions of people around the world. As long as our private economy is working, everything will be fine. So we should consider cutting anything that limits the private economy. Anything including government. Simple. Let’s use some common sense here.”
Now obviously, it’s more complex than this. Everything has pluses and minuses. For example, empty airports have negatives (the economy has shut down) and positives (nobody is watching CNN anymore). I’m not suggesting that all government is bad and all capitalism is good.
But still, this is a great opportunity to highlight the difference between the importance of government and the importance of capitalism.
A host can live without the parasite, but the parasite cannot live without the host. The private economy, obviously, is the host.
Government is the parasite.
This should be pointed out right now, when it’s particularly obvious.
The negatives of the Coronavirus are horrifying. But perhaps there may be positives, as well. Perhaps we might learn something…Published in