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.

I Haven’t Lost Any Money Yet

That’s because I haven’t sold any of my investments yet. Even if I did, I’d still make a profit because the market price of most of what I’ve bought is higher than what I paid. But I’ll hold most of what I’ve got because I expect it to rise in value over the long term.

Investors were stupid to panic and blow up trillions of dollars of market value, but I believe that those of us who hold on for the long term and who take the opportunity to make margin buys as they are available will be better off than the panic sellers.

As key manufacturing comes by onshore, the companies who provide the equipment and the people who provide the know-how will do well. After the dust settles, the next couple of years will be interesting.