A First World Problem


There’s a post over at National Review by Itxu Diaz about Europe’s response to the Wuhan virus pandemic. It catalogs a list of “important” crises that various countries were dealing with instead of the disease until Reality became too noisy to ignore.

In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.

Read the whole thing.

Indeed, those “important” issues are really luxuries, problems that most people in the world cannot afford. Europe and Blue State America have enjoyed enough surplus income from previous generations’ capital investment that, on the whole, they haven’t had to worry about food or shelter or the other necessities of life. Or at least, they didn’t think they had to worry in “normal” times. They believed they could afford to live in Pretendyland.

They’re now being forced into the Real World, the place where generations of people learned the hard way about what is actually important.

Keeping Red Tape Cut


Various politicians are receiving praise for using their executive power to waive or otherwise ignore laws and regulations that are getting in the way of an effective response to the Wuhan virus pandemic. Now, some of those laws and regulations might make sense in normal times but might be unnecessary in the current unusual circumstances. For example, New York City has waived restrictions on e-scooters. They are useful in delivering carry-out food orders, and they’re less of a hazard in the current very light traffic. It may be that sort of regulation should come back eventually.

OTOH, Texas has insurance regulations which prevent physicians from being paid the same fee for a telemedicine consultation with a patient than for a face-to-face examination. That regulation is now being waived, and it’s the sort of regulation that should be throughly scrutinized before it is reimposed after the pandemic crisis.

Each law and regulation that has been suspended in order to promote public safety during the Wuhan virus response should be careful reexamined. Some may be worth restoring, but others, I’ll bet most, never had anything to do with public safety. At best, they were the result of nanny state busybodies bullying the public. Often, they were the result of rent-seeking by favored businesses and individuals, In many cases, they provided opportunities for graft. They should not come back.

Optimizing Student Debt Relief


One of the pieces of lard that the Democrats have gummed up the passage of a pandemic relief bill with is $10,000 in debt relief for student loans. People have been asking what relationship exists between student loan debt and the Wuhan virus panic.

I think I see their angle. They’re trying to optimize the amount of debt to be forgiven.

You see, while student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, they don’t usually survive the death of the debtor. Thus, dying results in 100% debt relief.

Now, if the nation’s response to the pandemic can be delayed enough to increase the number of excess deaths, it’s possible that the total amount of student debt relief could exceed a mere $10k per debtor.

At least, that theory makes as much sense as anything the Democrats have said in public.

Meanwhile, in Iran …


… the coronavirus pandemic appears to have spread to all regions of that country. The BBC has this video posted with footage from social media showing a morgue in the city of Qom full of dead bodies to be tested for the coronavirus.

Totalitarian societies such as China and Iran have not done well in their public health responses to the virus. Neither have most countries with socialize medicine, e.g., Italy. Could it be that part of the reason for Bernie’s burnout in the last few primaries is that too many Democrats gat hurt by changes in their health insurance under Obamacare, and that the prospect of having the same sort of system as China has caused them to reconsider giving the leadership of their part to a Socialist?

Hmmmm.

UPDATE—

Coronavirus Notes


I haven’t posted as much as usual this week because I’m dealing with a nasty head cold, and, yes, it’s just a cold. However, i’ve seen a few things related to the coronavirus go by that are worth sharing.

One of the hot spots for the illness is Iran where many members of the ruling class have ti.

It looks as if Israel is among the leaders in development of a vaccine.

And the World Health Organization has declared that we are in a pandemic.

BTW, I was at CPAC a couple of weeks ago. According to the emails I’ve received from the event organizers, the Maryland State Health Department has screen all of the employees of the event venue, and none of them tested positive for corona virus. There were a couple of other events going on at the venue at the same time as CPAC. One was a medical meeting, and during my time in the Lobby Bar, I had an interesting conversation with an ophthalmologist about her preparations for dealing with the disease. Because her work require close patient contact, she plans to use additional layer of protective equipment—and she plans on additional screening of patients before they are seen. Her prime concerns were the availability of extra masks, gloves, etc., and whether the public would act calmly and responsibly in following medical advice (as opposed to press and political sensationalism).

The next few months will be interesting. (Say, is it raaaaacist to point out that old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times..”?)