Conveniently, the RI comfortable made out pretty well during COVID lockdowns.
The past decade or so has been remarkable in the degree to which events have shed light on ideas and principles that used to be opaque and abstract. Yesterday, I observed how radicals took advantage of the education system’s vulnerability to accelerate their plans, which begins to fill in explanatory pieces of the puzzle.
Although the image isn’t quite as clear for me, yet, Brad Polumbo’s description of “how lockdowns crushed the working class while leaving the elites unscathed” begins to clarify how socialism, which asserts its intent as helping working people, winds up benefiting the wealthy:
A new data analysis from Harvard University, Brown University, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation calculates how different employment levels have been impacted during the pandemic to date. The findings reveal that government lockdown orders devastated workers at the bottom of the financial food chain but left the upper-tier actually better off. …
Others might insist that the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 accomplished by lockdowns justifies this economic fallout. But this argument fails to account for the many peer-reviewed studies showing lockdown orders did not effectively slow the pandemic’s spread, or the painfully inconvenient fact that most COVID-19 spread occurred not in workplaces, restaurants, or gyms but at home. (Making “stay-at-home orders” seem like an astonishing mistake in hindsight.)
So, all lockdowns really seem to have accomplished is at best a mild delay in the pandemic’s trajectory in exchange for a host of lethal unintended consequences such as a mental health crisis and skyrocketing drug overdoses. And, as we now know, a highly regressive economic fallout for the working class.
Polumbo doesn’t articulate this additional point, but faced with the stark results shown in the featured image of this post, it would be reasonable to respond that it’s a regrettable outcome, but putting aside mistakes, the imbalance was inevitable. Unfortunately, those with lower incomes tend to work in settings that were more likely to be unworkable in the face of a pandemic.
Despite a degree of truth in that, the mix of occupations can’t be separated from the government’s actions. Government officials made a society-wide decision that forbade residents from making their own calculations of risks. It is awfully convenient that such decisions — made by powerful people who are more likely to associate with the wealthy — had that obvious imbalance in favor of the decision-makers’ peers and even made their lives easier, by taking the blame for shutdowns off their shoulders.
The convenience of such decisions is all the more notable in our time of Amazon, because those with money could continue to order toys and comforts.
No doubt, many businesses would have temporarily closed or limited their activities, anyway, if only because customers were naturally reluctant. But those with more tolerance could have taken more risks, and managers and owners would have been accountable to employees and clients for their own decisions. The disparity in the chart, in other words, didn’t have to be so huge.
More broadly, the lesson is that centralized decision-making cannot be separated from the interests of the people who are in a position to make the decisions and who know that unfortunate consequences will tend to flow downhill.