By BILL von TAGEN
Don’t get me wrong, I am not infected with Covid 19. I am also very careful even though I have not altered my lifestyle very much. However, when the country emerges from this pandemic, I want there to be a society and a community to go back to. Civilization and social structure are very fragile. So is our economy and our economy support the civilization and social structure.
The “Stay-At-Home Orders” will have their effect on our economy, our community and our civilization for a long time to come. We cannot go on like this very much longer. My wife and I are retired. We have money deposited into our bank account every month whether we need it or not. While our investments have taken a pretty big hit, we have never relied upon our investments to pay our living expenses. In other words, we can afford to stay at home and to be quarantined. Just let us out every so often to get food, necessities like light bulbs, toilet paper and paper towels and we will be happy. Perhaps not as happy as we would be traveling the world, but we will be happy. We will get by.
Last week I ventured out to have some work done on my car. I dropped the car off at the tire shop and walked home. I was struck by how eerie and quiet things were particularly on the walk home. I was able to cross several busy streets against the signal lights with impunity. The tire shop was operating with a skeleton crew. The owner of the shop has not, to my knowledge, laid anybody off but hours most certainly have been reduced. I know how tight profit margins are for local businesses. Losing out on two or three weeks of work for that shop will mean that the books will show little profit or gain for the year. At some point people will lose jobs. This may mean that vacations are canceled, weddings are postponed or canceled and a remodel to the house or perhaps a new house is put on the back burner or canceled altogether. Then it will start to affect the ability to afford the necessities of life.
While we may not have reached this stage yet, it won’t be long before we do. (Certainly we will before the anticipated Stay At Home Orders are lifted.) The things I have mentioned are perhaps things that we can do without. But there is a rippling effect and that rippling effect will ultimately be felt by all of us. Ultimately that rippling effect may affect the very underpinnings of our society and our culture. Western culture is resilient, but not invincible. In the Middle Ages there were walls around cities. These walls kept out intruders and contagion. We have already begun building nonphysical barriers against other nations and against one another. How long will we be able to continue to read the uplifting stories of neighbor helping neighbor?
So quarantine me, because as a retired 65-year-old I know that statistically I am in a high risk category. I do not believe that I will catch this virus. But I know that people in my category will. Many of those will likely require emergency room hospitalization and will drain the precious resources of our city, state and country.
Without work and economic activity, we cannot expect to go on indefinitely. The current spending of our government seems to be based upon the economic theory that underpinned Weimar Germany after the first world war. Things did not work out well for post World War I Germany and there is no reason to believe that things will work out better for us. So please, quarantine me and get back to work!
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