That’s No Clown. That’s My Zombie.
“Isn’t it rich? Are we a pair?”
Did you know we were playing Batshit Bingo? Well, we are. I’m not trying to be a drama llama here, but as it turns out, this is about the alpaca lips.
Back in 1980, Milton Friedman gave us “Free to Choose.” I read it. I thought it was compelling. It seemed to create order out of disorder. That was a great find as a teenager. This is a bit of an overly simplistic explanation, but Friedman told us that the free market would solve the problems that society was presented with. Market forces would move toward all of the solutions that we needed. Now, in fairness to myself, I abandoned that notion decades ago. Some levels of suffering are just too great to just calmly wait for the market to ameliorate. Regulation on some level is desirable.
In our Batshit Crazy Bingo game of the last 40 years, we have worn many philosophical mullets. Free market ideology is one. Supply side theory is another. Then, in 2008, Little Miss Supply Side sat on a tuffet eating credit default swaps. Along came securitized debt, and then a market correction, and frightened her into the arms of a Keynesian infusion of government cash…in the form of bailouts.
Send in the zombies.
When Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson asked congress for the bailout money, I thought supply side theory was dead. Supply side theory lived on in the form of what Paul Krugman called “zombie lies.” Zombie lies are those lies which are repeatedly disproved, but continue to stumble forward, like supply side theory, and free market theory. Any level of planning, in our Batshit Crazy Bingo economy is considered to be Socialism or <gasp!> Communism. It’s a bit of an over simplification, but it essentially goes that any sort of government run public health must be abolished, or else we are socialists…or communists. Also, if the poor can not afford health care, that is their problem, and not anyone else’s. After all, they can always just walk into any emergency room and they wont be denied care if they need it badly enough. What is so bad about that? What could go wrong?
Someone observed recently, and then memorialized it in a meme, that the apocalypse was supposed to have zombies and anarchy. What we actually got was home office work, and no toilet paper. Perhaps it is too early to say, but we don’t really have anarchy. We have profoundly incompetent federal government, but everyone else is essentially on house arrest. One dude in New Jersey threw a “Corona party” recently, and has now been charged with “violation of the emergency act.” He had 47 guests and a DJ in a 550 sq ft apartment.
A United States Navy Ship, the Comfort, a floating hospital, just docked in New York City today. The plan is for this to help with the demand for treatment among non Covid-19 patients while the land lubber, corporation owned hospitals treat the growing throng of the pandemic.
“Don’t you love farce?”
The richest nation in the history of the world did not manage to solve for the prospect of a pandemic by relying on market forces. Our most prominent libertarian legislator in the Senate, Rand Paul, has actually contracted the virus that is sweeping around the planet like YouTube videos of cats chasing lasers. Worse yet, randy Rand actually was tested, and then went swimming in the Congressional pool, and had lunch with a few other clowns before heading home to hide from the apocalypse.
But, where are the zombies? There ought to be zombies. Well, maybe next crisis.