ACF PoMoCon #12: Plague Politics


Pete Spiliakos and I talk about politics in the age of the plague–what’s so insane about supply-side economics, what it means to think politically and prudentially, what the common good requires, and how to understand our weaknesses that we may deal with them. Fear is good, seriousness is required, preparing for the crisis unfolding, and planning for overcoming it is the sequence we need to go through. Pete and I have praise for Tucker Carlson and Sen. Tom Cotton, and a lot of criticism for everyone else.


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  1. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad

    Do you think the president shouldn’t have the daily pressers? 

    I like listening to them each evening. I find them informative and entertaining. Is that a bad thing?

    • #1
  2. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    No, I’m all in all for it, with his mistakes & all. I think they’re good for the country. He’s certainly getting better. I would have preferred he install his ban earlier, accompany it with regular harsh words toward the ChiCom party & elite liberals who don’t take public health seriously, & publicly push agencies to get market solutions working as quickly as possible.

    That’s perhaps a fantasy; but I had at least some hope that he’d treat Sen. Cotton better, commend him publicly & involve him somehow in the matter–no one else was as serious as early…

    • #2
  3. Jim Beck Inactive
    Jim Beck

    Morning Titus,

    Pete went on a rather useless rant on the pandemic and economy from about 20 to 27 minute mark.  He does not know the cost to the economy, versus lives saved.  He does not know the fatality rate, we do not know the rate of infection, why is Calif especially San Fran not New York, given that they not only had direct flights from Wuhan, and Calif had 8,000+ folks coming every day for weeks if not months before the travel ban.  Taxes and tax cutting, tax cutting in states is different, states by law can not run deficits,  the current tax rates in the hig tax states NY and CA, if state, local and fed taxes are added are already well above 50%.  It was just a rant, we have hard choices, there will be trade offs, however clarity is needed not emotional generalizations.  Who died in Italy, men over 75. Are there aspects about Italy which make it different than USA, yes, we could spent fifteen minutes on those differences.  South Korea, do we want the govt to have the ability to track our every move via our phone or credit card transactions, no we don’t. Masks, are a benefit to prevent a carrier, either non symptomatic or symptomatic from spreading it to others, but they do not cover your eyes and so for those who are trying not to catch  the flu from the aerosolized droplets the mask is not the be all.  Pete is speaking as if the models from London are fact, we do not know how this will work its way through humans, we do not know how long we can close the doors on 80% of the economy or if when we reopen the doors the economy we bounce or stagger back.  Pete is too wound up and indignant.  Concerning the wise men, who are they, Fauci?  Not only Fauci, but the head of infectious disease at Mayo, see Powerline podcast where they talked to the Mayo head of infectious diseases (sorry I cant’t find it when I searched), said that the Chinese were being transparent.  Both men at the highest level of public health trusted their friends/colleagues in China, both got fooled.  Now what if the virus came from a lab, does the president make a big deal about this, and we debate going into biological warfare, offense and defense,  is that a good thing?  Should we make public the threats from bad actors about biological warfare, esp China.  Do we then stop trading with China, would that be a stabilizing action?  Johns Hopkins in rating all the countries in the world on their preparedness, rated us tops, to now say we weren’t prepared is to imagine that humans can act in ways that they never have and even if they could they would not know what to prepare for.  In this flu ventilators are an important and scare part of critical care will the next pandemic produce a virus where the lack of ventilators is an issue, who can know, it is not likely.

    • #3
  4. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Morning, Jim.

    1. Pete agrees with you that America was kinda as prepared as you can expect a country where no one had prior experience of an epidemic.
    2. He also agrees, as do I, that experts made many mistakes & authorities told many convenient lies. Masks are indeed not sufficient, but the question is are they nevertheless very useful?
    3. As for tax cuts–the question was about the truth of supply-side economics. In Kansas, former Gov. Brownback seems to have paved the way for a Dem governor, not just blew up the budget. Federally, let’s not even get into the debt & deficits, but we can leave it at saying that two decades of tax cutting has not made the GOP either winners or beloved…
    4. Finally, Pete of course would agree with you that we do not know how bad things are or how bad it will get. In the circumstances, he’s with the vast majority of the American people, for a lockdown. He also agrees that we need to figure out how to move out of it as soon as possible.

    I’m not quite sure where the disagreements are. One is, he’s indignant about the people proclaiming themselves willing martyrs & eager to invite millions of others of old people to do likewise. You don’t seem to be. I suppose it’s partly a matter of taste…

    Secondly, & this is more guessing on my part, he sees a political catastrophe coming for a GOP that misunderstands the politics & morality &, in the face of a scared nation, goes on the path of fantasies of economic salvation. Whereas I’m not sure you care as much about public mood & the requirements that places on politics & political discourse.

    I think, however, & this is also guesswork on my part, that we’re all agreed that Sen. Cotton has set the best example of all politicians?

    For us to even attain clarity about what’s going on, a massive technological-political effort is required. Conservatives & Republicans can put their hearts into it or not. For my part, I fear that misunderstanding the need for political action now based on conservative reluctance to take politics seriously will destroy the recent victories of the GOP. I urge you to reconsider Pete in light of the national mood & the political imperatives that creates…

    • #4
  5. Jim Beck Inactive
    Jim Beck

    Afternoon Titus,

    Pete seems indignant that people sin, are short sighted, lacking wisdom, well what creature is he commenting on.  Concerning US preparedness, does any country have half the ventatlators we have.  One could make arguments about hospital beds but then one would have to note that states often specify the number of beds that a hospital can have.  Complaining about our preparedness to a virus that did not exist before 4 or 5 months ago whose effect on humans was unknown is just an emotional venting not a thoughtful analysis or an approach which offers a way to think about the future and preparedness.  Shall we all become the Westover family in “Educated”, shall we bury gasoline, water, food, like they did?  

    About masks, this is a question with much venting by all, so which is more important the mask or the six feet social distancing.  If the social distancing is more effective than the mask all of the amped up anxiety is beside the point.  The question is what is the most effective way to short cut transmission of the virus?  Of course in patient care , care givers can not keep social distance, so they need them.  Fauci says that 6 feet is a “robust” distance at which to prevent transmission.  So all this throb about masks or vents is hysteria.  This hysteria is also manifest in the reporting of deaths.  Pete says millions, I assume he means Americans.  We do not know, and we have many reasons to wonder about the death rates.  Birx says that about 50% of those infected are asymtomatic, if that is the case then death rates are going to be significantly lower.  Looking at the Diamond Princess, we see over 50% either were asymptomatic or did not become infected.  Why did not nearly everyone become infected, did they already have immunities?  Do group immunities explain the flat line West coast?  If at the end of this season the death total for corona and flu type and A and B is lesss than 200K then I would say we might have over reacted.  Over reaction is understandable when dealing with an unknown, but going on about millions of deaths does not clarify the issue.

    Comparing state and fed tax cuts is an apples and oranges comparison.  So if you want to attack Laffer, skip Kansas.

    On politics, I don’t see that the Dems have a way to gain on the GOP in this situation.  They are looking increasingly worse.  They are looking like never let a crisis  go to waste opportunists.

    Trump looks like a genius,  pushing companies to stay in or come back to US to do their manufacturing,  to have strong borders, to focus on governing for the benefit of America, 3M being forced but Trump to put American needs at the top and not globalist is a recent example.  Pounding GM on vents, praising Roch, Abbot and all of the ins companies that waved co pays for all virus treatment.  Trump is the image of a leader that is focused on what is good for Americans, he looks like a humanitarian worried about lives over dollars, about lives over risk, think about the two ships he pushed to be received in Fla even though our country had no obligation to do so.  Maybe some are resting easy because of Fauci and Birx, however I think more are resting easy because Trump is steering a path which in understandable, compassionate both to those at risk from the virus,  and to the economy as a whole.

    • #5
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