Which Will Kill More People: COVID-19 or a Sharp Recession?

by James A. Bacon

Having done everything I can to raise the alarm about COVID-19 in Virginia, I’m having second thoughts. Clearly, forceful government action is needed to cope with the most dire public health challenge of recent years. But it’s possible to do too much. We need to think about the trade-offs.

At least two critical perspectives have gone missing here in Virginia. One is the fiscal impact of a sharp recession on state/local government finances. I will address that in a separate post. The other is the impact of an economic downturn on public health. Shutting down society to limit the spread of the disease and save lives also shuts down economic activity. Shutting down economic activity leads to massive wealth destruction and the loss of jobs. And the loss of wealth and jobs potentially could result in… the loss of lives.

As of yesterday, two COVID-19 patients had died. But thousands of Virginians have lost their jobs already as government-imposed social-distancing measures have prompted the shutdown of restaurants, hotels, tourist destinations, hair cutteries, gymnasiums, yoga studios, and more. Lacking financial reserves, many small businesses will never reopen. The Richmond Times-Dispatch suggests today that between 115,000 to 170,000 of the state’s 290,000 restaurant workers could become unemployed. That’s just the first wave.

When restaurant workers lose their jobs, they lose spending power, hurting other businesses. Restaurant vendors lose business. To offset lost rent, shopping-center owners cut trash collection, janitorial services, and landscaping services, all of which puts pressure on another tranche of businesses. Uncertainty prevails. Cash is king. Big businesses put investments on hold. Small businesses try to renegotiate financial terms with lenders. Lenders are overwhelmed by the requests and can’t begin to handle them all. When enough businesses crash and burn, then the banks are in trouble. They curtail lending and… You get the idea.

Restaurants and hotels are only the tip of the iceberg. The following employers announced Friday that they are suspending operations: the Philip Morris USA cigarette manufacturing plant; Volvo’s truck manufacturing facility in Dublin; Goodyear’s tire manufacturing plant in Danville; and Colonial Downs’ Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums. That was just one day’s worth of announcements. Virus-fighting measures have precipitated what shows every sign of becoming a full-blown depression. 

The Fed is injecting massive liquidity into the system, and Congress is discussing a $2 trillion spending stimulus. Whether enough money gets to affected businesses fast enough to do them any good is an open question.

Now let’s examine the moral reasoning behind the government action. The goal is to flatten the spread of the disease to reduce the inundation of virus-afflicted patients in hospitals, all for the purpose of saving lives. But what impact will a massive economic contraction have on mortality?

Assume for purposes of argument that the virus-induced recession in Virginia turns out to be as bad as the sub-prime lending fiasco of the previous decade. (It could be worse. I’m trying to use conservative assumptions here.) The annual unemployment rate peaked at 7.1% in 2010. That’s roughly four percentage points higher than unemployment last month. Using these assumptions, an economic contraction could increase unemployment by four percentage points.

In the movie “The Big Short,” the Brad Pitt character famously said, “Here’s a number for you: for every 1 percent unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die.” That particular number is likely a pure Hollywood concoction, but, if it’s even close to reality, it would imply about 4,000 additional deaths in Virginia. How many additional deaths would we see if we took no economy-wide measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus and focused resources instead, say, on isolating nursing homes and boosting hospital capacity? No one in Virginia has an answer. That’s because no one has asked the question. This is not a matter of the Northam administration making well-informed trade-offs after weighing costs and benefits. Driven by panic, Virginia government — like virtually every national, state and local government around the world — is acting as blindly as a herd of wildebeests fleeing a lion.

What does the academic research tell us? The conventional wisdom among social scientists is is that when unemployment rates go up, so does the mortality rate. Job loss leads to stress, anxiety, depression, increased alcohol and substance abuse, and suicide. 

Economic growth is the single most important factor relating to length of life,” said M. Harvey Brenner, who was a visiting professor at Yale’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and lead investigator of the largest study of its kind on mortality patterns and the U.S. back in 2002. 

Employment is the essential element of social status and it establishes a person as a contributing member of society and also has very important implications for self-esteem,” said Brenner. “When that is taken away, people become susceptible to depression, cardiovascular disease, AIDS and many other illnesses that increase mortality.”

To be sure, the unemployment-makes-mortality-worse theory does have skeptics. Writing in 2015, Christopher J. Ruhm, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Public Policy, found counter-intuitively that mortality rates go down during recessions. “This analysis … provides reasonably strong evidence that the protective effect of economic downturns on physical health is generally not restricted to ‘typical’ business cycle fluctuations, but also extends to crisis.”

In the years since Ruhm wrote, however, the opioid epidemic in the United States exploded. In the popular mind at least, drug/alcohol overdoses and suicides are considered “deaths of despair” — most prevalent in communities suffering economic decline, job loss, and the inability of people (men especially) to maintain social expectations of caring for their families.

To my mind, it seems common sense that job losses are tied to higher mortality rates. But who knows, maybe if people are broke, they smoke less, drink less, consume fewer drugs, and do less stupid stuff. At the very least, the jobs-mortality trade-off is a question we should study in more depth. I, for one, do not take it for granted that our panic-driven policies here in Virginia are the right thing to do. It would be ironic indeed if, in the pursuit saving people from death by flu, Virginian mortality rates actually increased.1

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38 responses to “Which Will Kill More People: COVID-19 or a Sharp Recession?”

  1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    The recession. But it’s okay because the recession (depression) kills only based on how little money you have. That virus never checks your credit line.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    I wonder what Jim is basing his ” if you are broke you die” thesis on.


    food – we have food stamps and MedicAid..

    look at what Cover Virgina has done:

    Virginia Medicaid is taking steps to remove barriers to care for its members and other eligible Virginians. Most importantly, Medicaid will cover all COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing and treatment. Here is a list of Medicaid’s updated policies:

    Ensure current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances
    No co-pays for any Medicaid or FAMIS covered services
    No pre-approvals needed and automatic approval extensions for many critical medical services
    Outreach to higher risk and older members to review critical needs
    90-day supply of many routine prescriptions
    Encourage use of telehealth resources


    Is Universal Health care the antidote to : ” if you are broke, you die”?

    1. “I wonder what Jim is basing his ‘If you are broke you die’ thesis on.

      First, it’s not my thesis. I quote M. Harvey Brenner. He says:

      “Employment is the essential element of social status and it establishes a person as a contributing member of society and also has very important implications for self-esteem,” said Brenner. “When that is taken away, people become susceptible to depression, cardiovascular disease, AIDS and many other illnesses that increase mortality.”

      Second, I acknowledge there are conflicting views and the social science is uncertain. I’m (a) pointing out the possibility that mortality rates could increase and (b) suggesting that our social-distancing policies are based on ignorance.

      Now, it’s possible that we can be ignorant and making matters worse. But, then, we could be ignorant and doing the wrong thing.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” “Employment is the essential element of social status and it establishes a person as a contributing member of society and also has very important implications for self-esteem,” said Brenner. “When that is taken away, people become susceptible to depression, cardiovascular disease, AIDS and many other illnesses that increase mortality.”

    this is the premise?

    and you’re invoking “ignorance” at the same time.

    Lord. Lord!

    I think you can do better here… got some specifics beyond self-esteem being linked to cardiovascular disease?

    methinks you might have erred here.. just my view.. 😉

  4. sbostian Avatar

    This is not a criticism of you personally. However, the vast majority of the “awareness raising” inflicted on the public for the past several weeks has been little more than “fear porn”. This fear porn has been used by those in government who want more power to seize it. This propaganda in an election year has forced the Trump administration into overplaying a legitimate federal role to avoid being savaged by a malign opposition which has tried to “take him out” twice before.

    Most of the shutdown activities which have been implemented either ignorantly or deliberately ignored the highly complex, interconnected nature of a modern economy. What you shut down in one sector will of necessity ripple brutally to other sectors.

    To head off a theoretical disaster we have created an actual and soon brutal disaster. Self imposed poverty is not the strategy to improve public health. We have by creating a general panic diverted resources away from vulnerable groups which are most likely to be infected and suffer severe consequences, even death.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist, but if China wanted to run a “psyop” against the US, they could not have scripted it more perfectly. Xi Ping is saying to himself, “these clowns will be easier to conquer than I ever imagine. Just a bit of a media driven panic and they will destroy themselves!”. In the main, the US media have been appallingly inept at best or treasonous at worst.

    The damage to civil society has already been immense. Just to ask about how we will protect and restore constitutional liberty draws only contempt and derision both from media and ordinary citizens.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    I can see now – there are two spheres of thinking on this – some apolitical and some political.

    But if you think shutting down the economy is wrong and 99% of political leaders are on board with it – and we blame the media – then it walks and talks like some other views we have heard prior – no?

    I too am horrified at this – and totally agree it’s going to savage a lot (not all) of the economy but if my choice is that science says so and political leaders agree … if that’s one choice .. and the other is a massive conspiracy or that China/Russia have successfully fooled everyone … well.. I don’t know…I don’t think I can get there but now I am understanding how others do.

    1. sbostian Avatar

      Science is not a person and there is anything but scientific consensus on the “shut it down” solution. The problem has to be examined in a holistic way. Without a robust economy, it will be difficult to provide solutions to this or any illness. Innovation and affluence are usually most effective tools to deal with disease, not lockdowns and tight control of the civilian population. In some states we have the exquisite irony of politicians considering releasing prisoners from jail to control COVID 19, while confining the law abiding to their homes.

      Relative to confidence in science consider the following excerpt from Healtaffairs.org:(link to source https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20150706.049097/full/)

      But neither august institution has paid attention to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) failure to protect the 170 million Americans who take prescription drugs from adverse reactions that are killing more than 2,400 people every week. Annually, prescription drugs cause over 81 million adverse reactions and result in 2.7 million hospitalizations.

      This epidemic of harm from medications makes our prescription drugs the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Including hospitalizations and deaths from prescribing errors, overdosing, and self-medication, drugs move up to third place.

  6. Actually it was 3 Va. deaths as yesterday adding a Fairfax case…not sure about today

  7. djrippert Avatar

    I was thinking about writing a similar article but you beat me to it. What are the reasonable options? Provide protection for the especially vulnerable while reopening businesses selectively? Keep the nursing homes locked down and provide a mechanism where anybody who chooses self-isolation can remain self-isolated. However, let those who are willing to take the risks take the risks. Sporting events may have to be conducted without live fans but, other than that, people can go about their daily business.

    At some point this epidemic will be well enough understood that people can make their own choices.

    1. It would be great if you explored less draconian alternatives for slowing the spread of the virus. Do it!

    2. sbostian Avatar

      Who gets to decide when I am well informed enough to make my own decisions?

    3. And who decides if your decision is consistent with the goal the government has chosen, or rather undermines it, undercutting the effectiveness of what the rest of us have sacrificed so much for? Libertarianism is not “do what you want” but “do what you want if no one else is harmed.

      1. sbostian Avatar

        In other words, a declared public health crisis turns a citizen into a slave. Additionally, I am not a libertarian, but a constitutionalist. If you want to take away constitutional liberties on the assumption that my legitimate freedom might harm someone, the burden of proof of harm should be on the party urging taking liberty away.

  8. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    There is merit in sbostian’s above comment.

    I expect that the Federal Administration knows full well that right now it needs to do all it can to avoid a terrible (though not inevitable choice), namely more Americans death by disease by reason of failed health care system, or a further shutting down of America economy that might trigger America’s death by economic collapse.

    At that point, I suspect that Trump will do all he can to avoid economic suicide.

    Another words, today’s solution is right thing to do short term, a reasonable effort to avoid collapse of America’s grossly ill prepared health care system. Hopefully this works short term. But, at the same time, we can’t destroy the American economy, and workers lives in the process.

    After 15 day effort, likely we’ll see shift in tactics and strategy to insure America’s economic survival, on which all else depends.

  9. This is another version of the “let it spike and get it over with quick” alternative to the “spread out the peak and the pandemic’s duration so health care isn’t overwhelmed” argument. Prioritizing quick recovery above adequate health care along the way really is a legit approach to this. The problem is deaths along the way — as confirmed in Wuhan, the mortality rate gets into the 5% range for those unable to get hospital care, versus 0.5 or less where respirators and ICUs are available. That’s million more deaths, skewed towards the elderly. There’s also the increased mortality from other health emergencies (e.g., heart, cancer) that can’t be treated by overwhelmed hospitals. An economist might well conclude, just accept the higher mortality in exchange for the quicker recovery both of health care and the economy. That of course would have collateral benefits for the unemployed. That’s a question to discuss in church, but I’m not prepared to condemn so many of my fellow citizens to die at home.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    Yep – that other dissenting voice about this is starting to rise…

    Its the ” some of us are gonna die – get on with it cuz if we don’t we’re going crater the economy” narrative..

    I’m not there and I fear a lot if that becomes Trump’s view!

    In some respects – the “so what if I’m infected and can infect others” attitude is in the same church but different pew as the anti-vaxxers… no?

    We’re learning some things about ourselves here…

    Contagion is not a pretty thing… it forces people’s basic philosophies into actual actions…

    So sbostian, if you are infected – do you still have all your “rights” to freely associate or do you lose them? tough question?

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Depends entirely on with whom he would associate. I would suggest a White House tour.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        This comment Nancy_Naive should be stricken from this Blog. It is despicable.

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          There was a question on “rights of association”, i.e., freedom of movement. I answered it.

          Cheer up, Trump’s quick and indecisive action, together with blatant misinformation, will save SocSec and Medicare well into the 22nd century. Reagan slashed benefits, Trump will slash recipients.

          As a bonus he has given a boost to Canada’s economy, assuming of course, that Canada Dry is Canadian.

  11. For a well-articulated version of the “get on with it” thesis (it’s too late for a lockdown here), see this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/21/facing-covid-19-reality-national-lockdown-is-no-cure/

  12. LarrytheG Avatar

    Articles from a financial perspective are pretty scary:

    The U.S. Shut Down Its Economy. Here’s What Needs to Happen in Order to Restart.

    Whole sectors of the United States economy have gone dark to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Here’s what comes next.

    WASHINGTON — The American economy has stopped working.

    We’re going to try turning it off and back on again.

    With confirmed cases of the coronavirus escalating rapidly, government officials have almost overnight switched off activity in large sectors of the United States. They want as few people as possible in close contact with one another in order to slow the pandemic, which may be even more widespread than official statistics suggest.

    The federal government has discouraged gatherings of 10 or more people. California told 40 million residents to leave the house only for absolute necessities. Bars, shopping malls, dine-in restaurants and a host of other businesses are closing across the country. Millions of people have been laid off, or are about to be.

    Just as there is a public health strategy driving the government orders closing businesses and limiting daily activity outside the home, there is also an economic strategy for putting large parts of the economy on ice. It requires aggressive action by the federal government, funded by what would be the most expansive borrowing the country has seen since World War II.

    Whether the United States looks back at those job cuts as a quick blip of prevention or a devastating spiral into an economic depression depends a lot on what Congress and President Trump do in the next few days.

    Here’s what economists say needs to happen.


  13. Lawrence Hincker Avatar
    Lawrence Hincker


    I too have been thinking about this…wondering if the cure is worse than the disease. Alas, we’ll never know until it’s over. Here’s my column from yesterday’s Roanoke Times.


    1. I love the way you think! If you ever stop writing for the Roanoke Times, Bacon’s Rebellion is always open to you.

    2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Lawrence Hincker writes with scope, clarity and deep understanding too. So, for example, he underpins his clear words with an understanding of human psychology that match’s that of Shakespeare.

      His piece is a magnificent summary that captures and distills an entire era in a profound snapshot, freezing its essence.

      1. Lawrence Hincker Avatar
        Lawrence Hincker

        Wow, thanks. I wasn’t expecting that and hope the compliment wasn’t tongue in cheek. Frankly, I wrote it 6 days before it appeared and actually pulled it once – too Scrooge-like I wondered. Fortunately, the editor convinced me to move forward.

        Pretty soon a cascade of similar opinions like Jim’s appeared. See the WSJ on Saturday

        Even the NYT, normally a hotbed of interventionist columnists, carried musings wondering if cure was worse than disease.


        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          “hope the compliment wasn’t tongue in cheek.”

          Lawrence, the compliment wasn’t tongue in cheek. I meant every word.

  14. LarrytheG Avatar

    The thing is – virtually every single scientists and every single politician IS telling us that this IS what we need to do.

    It’s down at the citizen level where some are asking this question.

    We are doubting what we are being told – correct?

    I too have the same thoughts but I keep going back to the unanimity of the scientists and politicians.

    1. sbostian Avatar

      If things continue on the same trajectory we have seen in the past several weeks, are you willing to follow the unanimous herd of scientists and politicians over the cliff. I’m not sure how widely you search for Coronavirus scientific opinion, but there is significant scientific dissent regarding the methods being used by governments. Government scientists are at least in some manner political. Remember that lemmings are in complete agreement as the rush headlong toward their doom.

  15. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” I’m not sure how widely you search for Coronavirus scientific opinion, but there is significant scientific dissent regarding the methods being used by governments. Government scientists are at least in some manner political.”

    can you show me some examples of this?

    I just do not see disagreement among the scientists much less hear any of them talk in political terms.

    I know that right now there is a swelling movement of those who say we should let the virus take it’s course and allow the economy to move forward but I’m just not seeing where scientists are saying that nor any major politicians. There is a recent statement from Trump that seems to go that way.

    1. sbostian Avatar

      Just one, because I have lot’s of work to do. From Stanford Professor s John P.A. Ioannidis — co-director of the university’s Meta-Research Innovation Center and professor of medicine, biomedical data science, statistics, and epidemiology and population health — suggests that the response to the coronavirus pandemic may be “a fiasco in the making” because we are making seismic decisions based on “utterly unreliable” data. The data we do have, Ioannidis explains, indicates that we are likely severely overreacting….

      His credential are impressive:

      Link to article; https://www.dailywire.com/news/stanford-professor-data-indicates-were-overreacting-to-coronavirus

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Thank you sbostian, I will go read.

        I encourage everyone to share their views and that we all deal with the issues – ones we may not agree on – but keep the dialogue to the issue – let’s not impugn others or each other.

        I find myself conflicted on the balance between social distancing and shutting down the economy – or just letting the contagion take it’s course and in the process kill alot of people but the economy is left intact for the survivors.

        And if I stated the above incorrectly or wrongly, please re-word or re-state the issue according to your view.

        At some point – we have to go forward – and it’s pretty certain, we have to reach some level of consensus to do so.

        1. sbostian Avatar

          I agree with you about being on the balance between social distancing and draconian shutdown. One of my fears is that this “everybody is at equal risk” flies in the face of what we have learned to date about COVID 19, and prevents us from directing resources to the people we know are especially vulnerable – the very elderly, people with existing severe health problems, and people with known impaired immune function. Just a few more tidbits with sources from WHO and Johns Hopkins analyzing recent data. Also I agree with you about dialing back personal invective in our discussions. I might have offended and where I have I apologize.

          As to contagiousness:

          The World Health Organization (“WHO”) released a study on how China responded to COVID-19. Currently, this study is one of the most exhaustive pieces published on how the virus spreads.

          The results of their research show that COVID-19 doesn’t spread as easily as we first thought or the media had us believe (remember people abandoned their dogs out of fear of getting infected). According to their report if you come in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 you have a 1–5% chance of catching it as well. The variability is large because the infection is based on the type of contact and how long.

          The majority of viral infections come from prolonged exposures in confined spaces with other infected individuals. Person-to-person and surface contact is by far the most common cause. From the WHO report, “When a cluster of several infected people occurred in China, it was most often (78–85%) caused by an infection within the family by droplets and other carriers of infection in close contact with an infected person. . . .

          Dr. Paul Auwaerter, the Clinical Director for the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine [finds]:

          If you have a COVID-19 patient in your household, your risk of developing the infection is about 10%….If you were casually exposed to the virus in the workplace (e.g., you were not locked up in conference room for six hours with someone who was infected [like a hospital]), your chance of infection is about 0.5%

          According to Dr. Auwaerter, these transmission rates are very similar to the seasonal flu.

          As to asymptomatic spread:

          The majority of cases see symptoms within a few days, not two weeks as originally believed.

          On true asymptomatic spread, the data is still unclear but increasingly unlikely. Two studies point to a low infection rate from pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. One study said 10% of infections come from people who don’t show symptoms, yet. Another WHO study reported 1.2% of confirmed cases were truly asymptomatic. Several studies confirming asymptotic spread have ended up disproven.

          It is important to note there is a difference between “never showing symptoms” and “pre-symptomatic” and the media is promoting an unproven narrative. Almost all people end up in the latter camp within five days, almost never the former. It is very unlikely for individuals with COVID-19 to never show symptoms. WHO and CDC claim that asymptomatic spread isn’t a concern and quite rare.

          As to fatality rates:

          As the US continues to expand testing, the case fatality rate will decline over the next few weeks. There is little doubt that serious and fatal cases of COVID-19 are being properly recorded. What is unclear is the total size of mild cases.

          WHO originally estimated a case fatality rate of 4% at the beginning of the outbreak but revised estimates downward 2.3% — 3% for all age groups. CDC estimates 0.5% — 3%, however stresses that closer to 1% is more probable. Dr. Paul Auwaerter estimated 0.5% — 2%, leaning towards the lower end.

          A paper released on March 19th analyzed a wider data set from China and lowered the fatality rate to 1.4%. This won’t be clear for the US until we see the broader population that is positive but with mild cases. With little doubt, the fatality rate and severity rate will decline as more people are tested and more mild cases are counted.

          Higher fatality rates in China, Iran, and Italy are more likely associated with a sudden shock to the healthcare system unable to address demands and doesn’t accurately reflect viral fatality rates. . . .

          Looking at the US fatality, the fatality rate is drastically declining as the number of cases increases, halving every four or five days. The fatality rate will eventually level off and plateau as the US case-mix becomes apparent.

    2. sbostian Avatar

      Direct link to STAT a medical research site. Directly referencing Stanford scientist,


      A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data, ,JOHN P.A. IOANNIDIS

  16. johnrandolphofroanoke Avatar

    Here is the crime report for the city of Richmond in the past 7 days. 3 murders 54 assaults, 101 thefts and so on for a total of 245 reported crimes. I wonder if this is normal, down, up? How long before the crooks figure out it is open season?

  17. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    If our governments were totally virtuous, they would use this time to crack down hard on employers of illegal workers. This would open jobs more quickly for citizens and legal residents. Pay would increase faster too, helping break the recession. And once Uncle Sam cracks down with mandatory use of E-Verify, it will start to harden into the system.

    Then we can move to a system of immigration where we prioritize needed skills and education like most countries do.

  18. DeptOfTyranny Avatar

    Thank you for bringing up a more wholistic point of view to consider. Right or wrong, these are important points to consider. Unfortunately, its seems many people think this is a paid vacation. Yet, there are many who cope doing what they do best… getting things done! In the sprite of “I, Pencil” I’d like to see more stories about the unsung heros doing their part to keep our complex society going.

    Most of these efforts will go unsung, some even ridiculed by those who don’t understand the complexities of our economy or have an axe to grind. No doubt, the left is already preparing to churn out its propaganda about how capitalism, freedom and democracy failed. Without the innovation of the individual, we would not be able to adapt, find the better way, and overcome nearly as quickly.

    I’m sure you’ve already seen the stories of distillers making hand sanitizers. I’ve also heard about efforts within the 3D printing community to build medical parts, such as parts used in Ventilators (the same community ridiculed for designing printable guns).

    Maybe such examples will help other find ways to help, especially those who need jobs.

  19. LarrytheG Avatar

    The thing is, there ARE jobs – right now. When folks go to Walmart – that “stuff” started out somewhere in a manufacturing plant, then got transported to a distribution center then from there to the Walmart and then put on shelves.

    The same with a number of other products – not the least of which is automobiles from South Korea where they have weathered the contagion and now are back to full production!

    Other parts of the economy are still functioning… certainly all those places making medical supplies…

    doctors, nurses, public safety personnel, water/sewer/sanitation workers, etc, etc…

    Walmart and Amazon are both hiring for their distribution centers and both have increased their wages!

    And here, too many of us sit whining and wringing our collective hands… saturated in hand sanitizer of course…

    So we still have some semblance of an economy though seriously diminished.

    I think one thing that really amazes is how much of our economy is based on service workers and those service workers are very fragile from a financial perspective. One week out of work – and they are in serious financial trouble and, in essence, they needs will then be met by the government and taxpayers…

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