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Reblogged:Lockdowns Are Blinding Everyone

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There is no denying that seven months of "two weeks to flatten the curve" has had a negative effect on business. Conservatives say this outright when making a case for ending house arrest in one jurisdiction or another. Leftists implicitly do so when they call for passing out more loot even as they apparently want this to continue ... I don't know -- permanently? ... despite ample evidence that other nations have successfully fought the epidemic without doing so.

At the same time, it is also clear that certain kinds of business were always going to suffer to some extent until and unless (1) the pandemic ended, or (2) enough people became confident enough in their ability to live with or work around it. A Vox piece puts this into stark relief, although its title, "The False Hope of Reopening Is Killing Small Businesses," sounds like an attempt to blame the right for this problem.

Before we continue, let's be clear: The lockdowns were immoral and were an improper exercise of government power. They violated individual rights on a scale unprecedented in the United States, and were a far cry from what a proper response to the pandemic would have looked like. That is the reason they should never have been instituted in the first place, and why they should be ended now. Trying to sell "reopenings" as an economic panacea (1) does not claim the moral high ground, (2) is unrealistic given changes in demand coupled with extra depression on activity due to lockdowns, and (3) will be easy for the left to spin when the recovery proves anemic or nonexistent.

Vox describes several businesses that struggled or died after government officials permitted them to "reopen," and reports the fact -- which might surprise many on the left -- that autonomous adult individuals take actions without being issued orders (!) to avoid becoming sick:

Image by Kirill Balobanov, via Unsplash, license.
According to data from OpenTable, which tracks restaurant reservations and traffic, seated dining in the US is still down more than 50 percent year-over-year. A survey the company did of in the US and Canada found a quarter of respondents say they dine out once a week, but it's still not "anywhere near as often as they did before -- and it's going to be a long time before they do," said OpenTable CEO Debby Soo in an email. She also warned that things are about to get worse, not better: "The colder months will present new challenges for restaurants, especially considering the majority of diners view outdoor dining as safer." [link omitted]
It is worth noting that cell phone data indicated people traveled less before lockdowns were ordered in the first place.

So many businesses surely would have been hurt even without lockdowns -- but not practically all of them.

What this means is that, by failing to ramp up testing, contact tracing, and (actual) quarantines early, our government allowed the epidemic to get out of control enough that business was going to suffer unevenly. The lockdowns worsened this (but did not cause all of this). So, while it is easy to point to the lockdowns as the time business went south, that explanation doesn't cover everything: Running with it is risky at best. The left is grossly indifferent to or incompetent regarding economics, but can, with a low cunning, sniff out an opportunity to spin a narrative to electoral advantage

In addition to being unjust to the extreme, the lockdowns put many people into a waiting mode when they could have been learning how to adjust to life with this disease in it. Many people could have learned much sooner and much more cheaply anything from my life will be pretty close to normal all the way to I have to find another way to earn a living. Instead, millions have done nothing but draw down on savings -- their own or whatever the government confiscates from others -- while given the false hope that government running everything is the solution to all our problems.

-- CAV

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