COVID Conundrums

What am I?

I used to think I was a capitalist …

‘Til the government offered subsidies to help stave off layoffs & paycuts!

When those measures were announced, I breathed such a big sigh of relief & I held my hand out. Should I be worried that I’m a (grateful!) socialist now?

Since I’m sucking at weight loss during lockdown, I’m trying to distract myself by learning a little about things I’ve ignored for years. You can’t watch the news these days without wishing you’d studied psychology, sociology, political science, economics, & maybe a little Celtic mysticism! These are soft sciences. That means that you can make a very cogent argument, that is totally meaningless, but nobody can prove you wrong. Right!?!

Very useful in these confusing times.

Over breakfast news this morning, I heard that this is “the first time prices have risen to the negative value”. They were only previously positive in the timeframe being discussed. So what the duck did this mean? Why did the guy not just say the number went down? There is some sophisticated subterfuge being employed here, & it can only be designed to keep the uninitiated outside the pale.

How is it that neoliberalism, in economics parlance, is a faith of those on the right? I thought that anything with the word “liberal” in it was at least three shades pinker than the white centre of the political divide. Are all the meanings reversed when you go from politics to economics? And now that we’re on the colour spectrum, why are Canadian liberals red, American blue? Who is being backward here!?! The conservatives adopting the reverse in both countries, of course. Is it true that the French flag represents the balance between the left and the right? And not the liberty, equality and fraternity thing, because that is just a conspiracy theory pushed by the radical centrists!

Trickle down economics. Didn’t that fade away in the era of Reagan & Thatcher? Now it’s being touted by governments again. I remember my Dad calling it “Sucking Up” economics. Because, he said, they make it look like they’re giving you something … while sticking the vacuum cleaner hose into your pocket!

I’m still sick of politicans sniping at each other. You’d never run a good company this way. It’d be like the materials manager blaming the lack of inventory on the production manager for using all the parts. When the operations manager is asked to intervene, he deflects the blame onto the temporary workers & fires them all, while requesting the human resources people hire more accountants who will recalculate numbers that look better. Without even getting into the challenges of outsourcing & upstream supply chain management, it’d be a total duckfest. So why is it a good idea to try running a country like this? Don’t we all need to be on the same team to succeed? Especially during a crisis.

One real criticism I have of our news media is the lack of real investigative analysis & critique of the COVID responses around the world. The gross data is on TV every dinnertime, but I don’t see too much detail on which countries have the better healthcare systems, for example. This is an amazing opportunity to learn about such things. Digging into those details might educate us, the general public, on some key attributes of our differing approaches & societies. Such data might influence us on how to choose our next politicians. And I’m not presupposing what that data might reveal. It might, I would hope, have an influence on how our governments makes changes for the future. Though it may touch many of us, & our families, COVID-19 has a mortality rate that isn’t threatening for most of us. Despite that, it can’t hurt if we are better prepared, in case an even more virulent & deadly KISSYOURASSGOODBYE-23 virus rolls through a few years down the road.

My biggest conundrum? If we’re all adding to the national debt, who’s loaning us the money? And can’t we just print more to pay it back? Or is there an ink shortage now!?! 😜

Okay, so I’m having a little fun with some of this. On the premise that if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. But I’m genuinely interested in learning a little more about economics. I would especially like to see some comparative studies on healthcare systems. If you can recommend a source of balanced information in any of these areas, please send it my way. Indeed, I don’t think I know any economists, so if you can introduce me to anyone in the field, I’d welcome the connection.

Let’s hope we can keep most of our jobs & that we can all come back stronger & better from this. Meanwhile, even if you feel it’s not necessary, please help make a fellow human feel a little better & safer … and if you can … wear the damn mask when you are asked! 😷😁

Stay safe out there, all.

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