Wednesdays with Wenzel: Two Year Anniversary of his take on "Flatten the Curve"
TL;DR his take was right
This is a semi regular Wednesday column where we examine the work of the late, great Austrian School of Economics and Rothbardian influenced Robert Wenzel. The content for this column comes from his books, his daily market alerts, and the content of his websites, Economic Policy Journal and Target Liberty.
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you survived two years of the American government’s response to Covid.
From the start, some people knew that the government would have no answers and only make things worse. Unlike most Americans, who hold a cartoonish view of the State and its ability to wisely direct citizens to act in everyone’s best interest, these sage folks knew that the State could not possibly act with wisdom.
There is no mechanism by which the State retains and develops talent, responds to changing customer needs, or uses new information to improve its service. As Murray Rothbard used to say, “the State is a gang of criminals, writ large.” Thieves don’t spend time trying to make their service better for others.
In the last two years, many Americans have learned that "Pandemics are the Health of the State.” This is my play on Randolph Bourne’s famous essay about war. Much like Bourne’s observation that war increases the popular fervor for political action which is subsequently exploited by thieving oligarchs, the response to the pandemic has operated similarly. And as Robert Higgs has noted about war - that the empire never fully rolls back its power - we will see the same power creep in the arena of public health. Health dictates are here to stay.
Never mind that public health officials have been wrong about seemingly every single thing about this virus.
Being wrong all started with “Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve.”
But do you know who wasn’t wrong about it? Robert Wenzel. I wonder why America continues to ignore people like RW (R.I.P.), and continues to listen to the same evil fools that are wrong over and over again. I asked myself this after the housing crash, when Ron Paul had it nailed and Ben Bernanke and company were clueless. I never found a satisfactory answer.
Anyway, let’s take a moment to let RW posthumously say “I told you so” over Fauci and Bergstrom’s (don’t let the con artist off the hook either) Flatten the Curve creation.
Monday, March 16, 2020
The Flaky "Flatten the Curve" Policy Experts' Mantra
The last vestige of the statist COVID-19 power freaks is to claim that we must coerce everyone from interaction to "flatten the curve" of the virus to ensure that healthcare systems are not overwhelmed.
When they are on television, this chart is flashed on screens:
But notice a key point about this Carl T. Bergstrom and Esther Kim creation.
There are no numbers attached. It is a graphic to display a thought experiment but no one knows exactly what the two curves currently really would look like under different policy and environmental conditions.
In other words, it is pretty useless for creating a detailed policy.
The data is just all over the place at this point.
If you don't know the R0 for the virus (that is how many people an individual infected person transmits the disease to), if you don't know how many of the infected will require hospitalization and you don't know what policy steps will change the curve to what degree, you can't possibly know if the curves would be anything like that depicted.
Further, it takes no account of the possibility that warm weather may dramatically slow growth of the virus or how self-isolation by elderly and those with serious chronic health conditions would change the demands on the healthcare system. It seems to me, this last step alone would pretty much flatten the curve without all the nation bending "close the country down" drama.
Bottom line: Any "expert" claiming that we must put draconian measures on the entire population because we "must flatten the curve" is an ass.
The most important thing is for those who are elderly, or have serious health conditions, to self-isolate (They should be doing this anyway in winter months becasue of the flu). This will solve the excess demands on the healthcare system until treatments and vaccines are developed.
And the rest of us should be left alone so that we can suffer for a week if we get infected with COVID-19, rather than limiting our lives for weeks, if not months, to flatten a curve that no one knows what the old curve or the new curve would look like if the elderly and chronic ill were already self-isolating.