How Much Does Dr. Fauci Really Care?

 

Dennis Prager spoke the hard truth Monday morning: Dr. Fauci is a lifelong government employee with a salary and benefits package perfectly insulated from the economic consequences of his words. He has absolutely no skin in the game. If Dr. Fauci truly believes it is necessary to put hourly workers, waiters, bartenders, and small businesses out of work, destroying them economically, then let him and the head of the CDC ante up.

Dr. Fauci’s easiest path is completely shutdown of our economy, doing maximum damage to people who were just starting to see real success and a brighter future. He can claim noble motives, even as he seeks to avoid blame for early failures. Words of concern and supposed sympathy tripping off a career bureaucrat’s lips ring hollow and are bitter to those he ruins.

So, President Trump needs to put this to the coronavirus crew immediately, giving them the chance to volunteer giving up their salaries until the federal guidelines no longer limit American jobs. Then, if they push back, he needs to drop it on them in front of the cameras. Let’s all see their real faces and real positions when they are made to live with the real consequences of their words.

We have already seen Dr. Fauci tripped up on his own words today. He pushed for schools to be closed, but then stumbled over himself as a real reporter asked why daycare centers would be open, since the reason for shutting schools applies to daycare. He finally acknowledged the obvious and left the microphone with “we’ll look at that again.”

President Trump can do this in the context of virtuous examples from professional sports, where team owners are promising to keep paying people who work their home venues, to protect them from the consequences of stopping games. This is the way Americans respond to hard times. Rudy Gobert has already pledged over $500,000 to his home arena workers and others. He is the NBA player who was the unlucky first to be found infected. Here in Arizona, one of the two major utility companies just announced they will not shut off anyone’s power or charge interest until this government made economic catastrophe ends. Time for Fauci to put his paycheck where his mouth is.

If Dr. Fauci and the rest of the crew face real economic pain right now, and suddenly have to worry about paying bills in the months ahead, then they will be motivated to truly act in the real public interest. This may not change their recommendations, but it will certainly go a long way towards buying them credibility with a public they lecture and chide about being serious. This is of a piece with governors ordering restaurants and bars closed, while keeping their party’s primary election on schedule for this week. Everyone can see the obvious contradictions. Those governors should lead by example.* Their salaries, along with Dr. Fauci’s should all go to direct economic relief for the smallest businesses and most economically vulnerable workers.


* President Trump was too sharp to fall for a White House press-member asking him to call on governors to postpone elections. This would immediately turn into claims of dictatorship and plans to cancel the November election, when the latest coronavirus might be back.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Caryn (View Comment):

    This is extremely unfair to Dr. Fauci, one of the nation’s true public servants. He is in a no-win situation and is doing his best to balance competing needs. It seems like all of the precautions have been over blown. Seems. The problem with public health is that the people in charge are only noted for their failures. So, yeah, there tends to be error on the side of caution when something new comes on the scene, because you can be sure he’ll be crucified if the death toll climbs (of course…flu deaths are being ignored, but that’s the media and political world in which he and President Trump have to function). It’s all well and good for the armchair epidemiologists–those with not a jot of scientific training but plenty of arrogance (yes, you, Dennis Prager)–to second guess the experts and suggest that they personally pay the salaries of the affected public.

    And the rest of you piling on? Really? Fauci is 79 years old and could have retired ages ago on rather a comfortable pension, I’m sure. Think of that. He’s working the hours he does for the small difference between what he’d get fishing in retirement and his actual take-home. I’m very fine with whatever he’s being paid (around $400K), because he’s more than earned it and because he could have been making a lot more in private practice or industry, but has continued at NIH for decades. Public servant. Yes, there are still a few.

    I am with you! As someone who spend 25 years working in public service, this smacks of saying everyone who works for the government is bad and selfish. 

    I am really offended by this thread. Nice to know how little all of you think of me and the people I worked with.

    • #31
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Franco (View Comment):
    I think the people, including Trump, who say the economy will come roaring back from this are spectacularly wrong.

    Based on your much greater information than they have I guess?

    I guess so, since you seem to know so much about what a horrible person I am, for daring to work for the government in healthcare. 

    • #32
  3. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    This is extremely unfair to Dr. Fauci, one of the nation’s true public servants. He is in a no-win situation and is doing his best to balance competing needs. It seems like all of the precautions have been over blown. Seems. The problem with public health is that the people in charge are only noted for their failures. So, yeah, there tends to be error on the side of caution when something new comes on the scene, because you can be sure he’ll be crucified if the death toll climbs (of course…flu deaths are being ignored, but that’s the media and political world in which he and President Trump have to function). It’s all well and good for the armchair epidemiologists–those with not a jot of scientific training but plenty of arrogance (yes, you, Dennis Prager)–to second guess the experts and suggest that they personally pay the salaries of the affected public.

    And the rest of you piling on? Really? Fauci is 79 years old and could have retired ages ago on rather a comfortable pension, I’m sure. Think of that. He’s working the hours he does for the small difference between what he’d get fishing in retirement and his actual take-home. I’m very fine with whatever he’s being paid (around $400K), because he’s more than earned it and because he could have been making a lot more in private practice or industry, but has continued at NIH for decades. Public servant. Yes, there are still a few.

    I am with you! As someone who spend 25 years working in public service, this smacks of saying everyone who works for the government is bad and selfish.

    I am really offended by this thread. Nice to know how little all of you think of me and the people I worked with.

    I think you should reconsider “all of you,” but this is one area where the membership (which sees some things with almost unanimity) has a fairly broad range of opinion.  It’s undeniably a conservative value to prefer smaller government, and I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the federal leviathan is a big negative.  So we start there and there will be a number of shades of where to draw the line on government input, expertise, and workers.

    • #33
  4. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    I think the people, including Trump, who say the economy will come roaring back from this are spectacularly wrong.

    Based on your much greater information than they have I guess?

    I guess so, since you seem to know so much about what a horrible person I am, for daring to work for the government in healthcare.

    Chill out dude. Who said you were a horrible person?

    The information I have is that 5 trillion just vanished, AFTER  they’ve spent all the ammunition they had to stop the bleeding. Shutting down our ENTIRE economy for two weeks is bad enough, now it looks like at least a month. This is unprecedented. And you think they are going to throw even more gas on the fire by admitting it? 

    Perhaps people who work in healthcare for the government need to take more classes in economics and not automatically believe politicians?

    • #34
  5. jeannebodine Member
    jeannebodine
    @jeannebodine

    Hoyacon

    ……..

    These are good points, but Fauci’s lack of skin in the game isn’t really the issue, is it? The issue is “trusting” Fauci within his area of expertise, and recognizing that it’s up to someone else to filter his comments through an economic lens. And that would be the case whether Fauci had skin in the game or not.

    I agree – I don’t think it’s a matter of skin in the game. I believe his and others’ expertise should carry a lot of weight but there are so many more critical components of this situation.

    San Francisco and surrounding counties are basically putting their residents under martial law. You’re confined to your house except for what the government considers to be essential activities such as grocery shopping and visiting a doctor. You’re NOT allowed to go to work unless your work is considered essential, again as deemed by the government. None of this will apply to the homeless, of course, it would be heartless to keep them under lock and key, right. I just heard NJ is establishing a curfew in effect from 8 PM to 5 AM.

    Has our nation ever been under onerous restrictions like this? This is not American. Have at me for being heartless, reckless, whatever you want but I find this abridgement of our freedoms egregious and not to be tolerated. Once out, do you actually believe this genie can be put back in the bottle? It can’t and won’t. This way lies tyranny.

    • #35
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    This is extremely unfair to Dr. Fauci, one of the nation’s true public servants. He is in a no-win situation and is doing his best to balance competing needs. It seems like all of the precautions have been over blown. Seems. The problem with public health is that the people in charge are only noted for their failures. So, yeah, there tends to be error on the side of caution when something new comes on the scene, because you can be sure he’ll be crucified if the death toll climbs (of course…flu deaths are being ignored, but that’s the media and political world in which he and President Trump have to function). It’s all well and good for the armchair epidemiologists–those with not a jot of scientific training but plenty of arrogance (yes, you, Dennis Prager)–to second guess the experts and suggest that they personally pay the salaries of the affected public.

    And the rest of you piling on? Really? Fauci is 79 years old and could have retired ages ago on rather a comfortable pension, I’m sure. Think of that. He’s working the hours he does for the small difference between what he’d get fishing in retirement and his actual take-home. I’m very fine with whatever he’s being paid (around $400K), because he’s more than earned it and because he could have been making a lot more in private practice or industry, but has continued at NIH for decades. Public servant. Yes, there are still a few.

    I am with you! As someone who spend 25 years working in public service, this smacks of saying everyone who works for the government is bad and selfish.

    I am really offended by this thread. Nice to know how little all of you think of me and the people I worked with.

    I think you should reconsider “all of you,” but this is one area where the membership (which sees some things with almost unanimity) has a fairly broad range of opinion. It’s undeniably a conservative value to prefer smaller government, and I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the federal leviathan is a big negative. So we start there and there will be a number of shades of where to draw the line. IMO, that’s really the foundation for some of the thread

    Sorry “All of you busy saying people in service don’t care”.

    Sure, it takes all kinds. Including those willing, apparently to write off everyone in service. I served proudly for 25 years taking care of the least of the least and I went to bed damn sure I was doing good in the world. How many people here quick to condem have had jobs which were a lifetime of service? Of course, since it was government job, I guess I cannot claim service, not to the folks fast to condem. 

    Oh, and now my wife is a permit clerk. Yep! Here in the Stephens Household we aim to tell people what sort of buildings they can build! The Tyranny! And of course, since she has the job, we can assume she is some sort of mindless, souless monster who delights in stomping on the liberty of builders who would never, ever, not in a million years cut corners and screw over customers. Because as we know, everyone in the private sector is pure.

    • #36
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Consider: If the various quarantines were *not* put in place….and it turned out that the virus reached Italy levels here, or even worse…then the economic damage would surely be *far* worse than what it will be from the measures that are currently being taken.

    • #37
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Unsk (View Comment):

    Talk about over-reaction, essentially in six Northern California Counties all non-essential businesses are to be shut down for three weeks:

    From Zerohedge:

    ” Six Bay Area counties announced a virtual public lockdown in the face of the rapidly expanding coronavirus pandemic aimed at slowing transmission of the deadly COVID-19 respiratory disease.

    Health officers for Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and the city of Berkeley, which has its own independent public health authority, announced the new “shelter in place” restrictions Monday amid a head-spinning flurry of new limits on public gatherings across the state and country.

    “Temporarily changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer. “The Health Officers from the largest jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay Area are united and we are taking this step together to offer the best protection to our respective communities.”

    The announcement involves a legal order from the health officers of those counties directing their respective residents to shelter at home for three weeks beginning at midnight March 17. The order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. The order will be in place until April 7 and could be amended to end later or sooner, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Monday.

    The order defines essential activities as necessary for the health and safety for individuals and their families. Essential businesses allowed to operate during the recommended action include health care operations; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals; fresh and non-perishable food retailers (including convenience stores); pharmacies; child care facilities; gas stations; banks; laundry businesses and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence.

    (Governor)Newsom on Monday was expected to announce new protections for renters who fear losing their apartments as shutdowns put them out of work. There governor is also expected later today to clarify his latest order.”

    They are putting millions of people out of work for three weeks. Think about that. It is estimated that two thirds of American families live paycheck to paycheck. The Democrats of course want to put the burden on business because they like all the delusions commies they are think that there is a bottomless pit of money that these greedy small business people who are hoarding it away from their rightful owners the government bureaucrats.

    In the bill making it away through Congress, which is another RINO sellout, Conservatives need to hang really tough and make it very clear that any burden borne by small business like mortgage payments on the apartments the Dems want landlords to give away to renters for free will be borne by the government, optimally the jurisdiction imposing this order, or their will be hell to pay.

    Yep, my biggest supplier is in the Bay Area, and we just got the notice that they will be shut down for three weeks.  That will not kill our company, but will make it much more difficult to ship product to our aerospace customers on time, and ruin our ratings with multiple just-in-time customers.  Our company is starting mandatory temperature-checks for all employees tomorrow.  Our plant remains open, and I am arguing with my supervisors to let me continue to work onsite instead of from home. So far, I am winning.

    • #38
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Franco (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    I think the people, including Trump, who say the economy will come roaring back from this are spectacularly wrong.

    Based on your much greater information than they have I guess?

    I guess so, since you seem to know so much about what a horrible person I am, for daring to work for the government in healthcare.

    Chill out dude. Who said you were a horrible person?

    You did. Because it is clear you dont’ think anyone in government services can be doing it for any but negative reasons. It is all right there in the OP.

    The information I have is that 5 trillion just vanished, AFTER they’ve spent all the ammunition they had to stop the bleeding. Shutting down our ENTIRE economy for two weeks is bad enough, now it looks like at least a month. This is unprecedented. And you think they are going to throw even more gas on the fire by admitting it?

    Perhaps people who work in healthcare for the government need to take more classes in economics and not automatically believe politicians?

     

    • #39
  10. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    A different situation and a different agency, but may be illuminating:  it’s pretty clear now that the Boeing 737 Max should not have been approved by the FAA.  Now there is probably a danger of *too much* conservatism in future approvals, with damage to the aircraft industry and the overall economy.

    How would you like to be the FAA person who will sign his name to the reissued airworthiness certificate for the 737 Max?

    • #40
  11. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    I don’t agree that medical professionals should take salary reductions or with some of the other proposals made in the OP. But the point stands that Dr. Fauci and others might be over-focused on, and over-celebrated for saving lives with no other factors considered.

    As I said, if doctors were in charge of reducing traffic fatalities we’d have 35mph speed limits, and who could complain without being told you are encouraging people to drive recklessly resulting in tens of thousands of fatalities.

    • #41
  12. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Postponing any election requires a measure of trust. I’m not sure such trust exists for governors of many states.

    • #42
  13. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Franco (View Comment):

    I don’t agree that medical professionals should take salary reductions or with some of the other proposals made in the OP. But the point stands that Dr. Fauci and others might be over-focused on, and over-celebrated for saving lives with no other factors considered.

    As I said, if doctors were in charge of reducing traffic fatalities we’d have 35mph speed limits, and who could complain without being told you are encouraging people to drive recklessly resulting in tens of thousands of fatalities.

    I know it was just an example, but I see a difference between doctors making recommendations about speed limits, and doctors with expertise in infectious diseases making recommendations about steps that may lessen the spread of the disease.  In the latter case, the recommendations are at least presumably a function of the expertise.

    • #43
  14. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Franco (View Comment):

    The information I have is that 5 trillion just vanished, AFTER they’ve spent all the ammunition they had to stop the bleeding. Shutting down our ENTIRE economy for two weeks is bad enough, now it looks like at least a month. This is unprecedented. And you think they are going to throw even more gas on the fire by admitting it?

    I think the administration knows that many parts of the economy, if not the whole of it, will be shut down for more than two weeks, won’t admit it, and have some sense of the devastating collective and individual economic toll–yet is still choosing to make that trade-off.

    Apart from praying the administration is wrong, each state and local government should evaluate whether they have the option to be less sweeping in their interventions. In places where combined containment (tracking down infected individuals and their close contacts) and mitigation (closures) can still take place, perhaps they can afford to have briefer, narrower, more targeted shutdowns. But with the failure in early and aggressive testing, the US blew its chance at containment. No way it gets out of this situation without mitigation-type policies.

    • #44
  15. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Let’s try this on a smaller scale.  I’m an Undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security.  I have information that a major American city is at risk for bioterrorism, and may be so for up to two weeks.  The information is very credible, but not a certainty.  If accurate, the number of deaths could approach 100,000 (many more sick), with an incredible stress on first responders, hospitals, and medical professionals.  I’m receiving recommendations from the field that drastic measure need to be taken to minimize commerce and those coming in and out of the city.  It’s essentially my call, but I live nowhere near the city, and I know little about how the economy really works.  I have no skin in the game, but I know my stuff in terms of bioterrorism measures.  My decision is obvious, right?

    • #45
  16. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Franco (View Comment):
    But the point stands that Dr. Fauci and others might be over-focused on, and over-celebrated for saving lives with no other factors considered.

    Isn’t it the job of the political leadership to consider these other factors and meld them into a successful policy?

    • #46
  17. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    But the point stands that Dr. Fauci and others might be over-focused on, and over-celebrated for saving lives with no other factors considered.

    Isn’t it the job of the political leadership to consider these other factors and meld them into a successful policy?

    Yes, but they can’t, because the media will crucify them. They have Trump right where they want him. This is a media-driven panic that’s exploding out of hand. The media and journalists directly benefit from the panic and they want to take Trump out. He’s forced to play along and take absolutely 100% precautions, otherwise it’s President Biden ( or Hillary).

     

    • #47
  18. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    It’s little consolation, but I hear that in my area (Houston / Harris County) many places are hiring delivery drivers on the spot because there’s such high demand while people are avoiding crowds. It’s not much money, but might help some squeeze through a few weeks of umemployment. I assume it’s a nationwide trend.

    • #48
  19. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Franco (View Comment):
    They haven’t quantified suicide rates resulting in people losing fortunes, or just overall depression, domestic violence from prolonged periods of forced confinement, deaths and injuries from riots, possible political strife putting the future of the entire nation at risk, and just a myriad of unquantifiable exigencies resulting in massive economic upheaval. 

    How do you know they haven’t?

    • #49
  20. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Caryn (View Comment):

    This is extremely unfair to Dr. Fauci, one of the nation’s true public servants. He is in a no-win situation and is doing his best to balance competing needs. It seems like all of the precautions have been over blown. Seems. The problem with public health is that the people in charge are only noted for their failures. So, yeah, there tends to be error on the side of caution when something new comes on the scene, because you can be sure he’ll be crucified if the death toll climbs (of course…flu deaths are being ignored, but that’s the media and political world in which he and President Trump have to function). It’s all well and good for the armchair epidemiologists–those with not a jot of scientific training but plenty of arrogance (yes, you, Dennis Prager)–to second guess the experts and suggest that they personally pay the salaries of the affected public.

    Getting back to Clfford’s original post, I like Dennis Prager immensely and he is one of my very favorite conservative pundits, but he has one enormous personality flaw.  Prager is very filled with himself and his accomplishments, and on occasion he gets on his high horse and indignantly denounces something that he has little knowledge or information about.  I really don’t know anything about Dr. Fauci’s competence or motives, though I suspect he is naturally getting caught up in the paranoia sweeping the nation, like everybody else. 

    I’ve listened to and read so much by Prager that I think I can spot when he is ranting about something out of his field of expertise.  Granted, there is a real problem with politicians and others in power who do not have to live by the rules they set for others, but I’m not sure this is one of those cases.

    • #50
  21. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    I don’t agree that medical professionals should take salary reductions or with some of the other proposals made in the OP. But the point stands that Dr. Fauci and others might be over-focused on, and over-celebrated for saving lives with no other factors considered.

    As I said, if doctors were in charge of reducing traffic fatalities we’d have 35mph speed limits, and who could complain without being told you are encouraging people to drive recklessly resulting in tens of thousands of fatalities.

    I know it was just an example, but I see a difference between doctors making recommendations about speed limits, and doctors with expertise in infectious diseases making recommendations about steps that may lessen the spread of the disease. In the latter case, the recommendations are at least presumably a function of the expertise.

    Yes and no. Yes, they know how infections spread. But you actually don’t need to be an MD to know the basics. And you don’t need to be a physicist or a highway patrolman to know that  traveling at ‘excessive’ speeds causes an increase in fatalities. But if your focus is purely on saving lives – a noble thing, and doctors are charged with , and make their business out of saving lives – then the decisions might not be in the best interests of everyone all things considered.

    • #51
  22. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Franco (View Comment):

    He’s forced to play along and take absolutely 100% precautions, otherwise it’s President Biden ( or Hillary).

     

    Then he’s not a political leader; he’s a political follower. But that’s not Fauci’s fault.

    • #52
  23. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    He’s forced to play along and take absolutely 100% precautions, otherwise it’s President Biden ( or Hillary).

     

    Then he’s not a political leader; he’s a political follower. But that’s not Fauci’s fault.

    I’m not blaming Fauci for anything. I’m merely pointing out that he has a narrow and perhaps overly-valued focus: saving lives. 
    As to Trump’s position , I don’t see it as his fault. I would blame the media and Democrats for creating this environment of demonization and hatred. Trump really has no choice.

    My only hope is that after two weeks they start to open everything up, either from a preexisting plan or from realizing the alternative is even worse.

    • #53
  24. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    They haven’t quantified suicide rates resulting in people losing fortunes, or just overall depression, domestic violence from prolonged periods of forced confinement, deaths and injuries from riots, possible political strife putting the future of the entire nation at risk, and just a myriad of unquantifiable exigencies resulting in massive economic upheaval.

    How do you know they haven’t?

    Judging from their press conferences – and I’ve watched every one – they haven’t touched on these issues and have even downplayed them. 
    Are you implying that the calculus of lost lives versus these other, quite dangerous realities is an easy call?

    • #54
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Oh, and now my wife is a permit clerk. Yep! Here in the Stephens Household we aim to tell people what sort of buildings they can build! The Tyranny! And of course, since she has the job, we can assume she is some sort of mindless, souless monster who delights in stomping on the liberty of builders who would never, ever, not in a million years cut corners and screw over customers. Because as we know, everyone in the private sector is pure.

    Government workers are OK, but I’m not so sure about the kind of government workers who expect to be loved and revered for their services, rather than loathed. (I’m saying this as someone whose employment put him into a quasi-government category, since I was getting paid in large part by tax dollars. I’ve thought about it for many years, and never held it against anybody that to them there was an unsavory stigma associated with getting paid with tax dollars.)

    • #55
  26. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    The thing you should also remember is that Dr. Fauci does have skin in the game.

    He already knows, without any doubt, that the Democrats will be coming after him all during this process, and will jump on him with blood in their eyes once all is said and done. His living, his reputation, and quite possibly his life are all in the balance here.

    So yeah, he does have ALL of his skin in the game.

     

    • #56
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Let’s try this on a smaller scale. I’m an Undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. I have information that a major American city is at risk for bioterrorism, and may be so for up to two weeks. The information is very credible, but not a certainty. If accurate, the number of deaths could approach 100,000 (many more sick), with an incredible stress on first responders, hospitals, and medical professionals. I’m receiving recommendations from the field that drastic measure need to be taken to minimize commerce and those coming in and out of the city. It’s essentially my call, but I live nowhere near the city, and I know little about how the economy really works. I have no skin in the game, but I know my stuff in terms of bioterrorism measures. My decision is obvious, right?

    I should hope that it is not your call. You should make your recommendation to the administration, which will balance your recommendation against other concerns that are not in your area of responsibility. 

    • #57
  28. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    They haven’t quantified suicide rates resulting in people losing fortunes, or just overall depression, domestic violence from prolonged periods of forced confinement, deaths and injuries from riots, possible political strife putting the future of the entire nation at risk, and just a myriad of unquantifiable exigencies resulting in massive economic upheaval.

    How do you know they haven’t?

    Like @Franco, they would have said so as part of convincing us that driving the American public into bankruptcy and depression is a reasonable alternative to a viral infection. We hear only one side of the risk equation. 

    • #58
  29. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    Politics is messy.  When it comes to making difficult decisions, untangling personal and political incentives from objective cost-benefit analyses can be tough.  That’s one reason conservatives want to err on the side of freedom.  Limit the decisions that are made centrally (and politically) for us.  Limit the decisions that require coercion.  Don’t give elected officials the responsibility to make impossible decisions or the temptation to slant such decisions for the sake of votes, campaign contributions, or a bit of good press.

    The libertarian position is to let people decide whether to take risks and go into crowded bars, restaurants, gyms, and theaters or to avoid risk and self-quarantine.  Simple and logical.  The problem comes when my actions put others at risk.  If we get spikes of tens of thousands of patients – of whatever age – all needing intensive care and respirators at the same time, we will overtax our facilities and our personnel.  If that happens, people will die who could have been saved.  If we can lower the height of the spike by self-isolation, fewer people will die.

    On the other hand, lowering that spike will cause a lot of people a lot of financial hardship.  What’s the balance?  Who gets to live and who dies?  Who keeps her job and who loses his?

    There’s an old joke about an immigrant who got off the ship at Ellis Island and punched the nearest guy in the nose.  When he was brought before a judge, he protested, “I thought people were supposed to be free in America!”  The judge replied, “Your freedom ended where that man’s nose began.”

    So, in the case of the corona virus, where does my freedom end and your nose begin?

    There seem to be a lot of people in this thread and on Twitter and TV who are sure they have the answer.  I’m sure I don’t.

    • #59
  30. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    it’s up to someone else to filter his comments through an economic lens. And that would be the case whether Fauci had skin in the game or not. 

    Politically speaking, in this current toxic environment, there is no such person.

    • #60
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