Do the math.
- The population of the United States is roughly 330 million (from here (factfinder.census.gov/)).
- Congress wants to spend two trillion on a stimulus bill. See here (video.foxnews.com), here foxnews.com), here (politico.com), here (npr.org) and here (thehill.com)).
- Estimates for the death rate for Coronavirus (COVID-19) vary (see here (cdc.gov), here (theguardian.com) and here (bbc.com)). Fact is nobody really knows, but one percent of those infected seems like a good guess.
So how much will this huge stimulus bill cost per person to save one percent of our population?
- Assuming everyone catches the virus, 3.3 million people, mostly old people, could die.
- If we divide 2 trillion dollars by 3.3 million people, that means the stimulus bill would cost $606,060 per life saved.
Could more people die? One commenter is a better statistician than I am. Here is his observation.
Here is how I replied (Note that I used a more accurate population estimate in this post. I assumed 350 million Americans in the comment thread.).
Since I assumed the absurd, I assumed 3.5 million dead. Everyone catches the virus? Not likely.
If we spend $100,000 to save each life, that is still an extraordinary amount of money. Too costly for just one disease/threat to human life.
I have not advocated doing nothing. I am against throwing money at any problem. We need to focus on the solution. Does it make sense? Focusing on the threat just leads to panic?
Has anyone noticed the panic buying in grocery and gun stores? When the average citizen sees government’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, they have to draw one of three conclusions.
- The virus is more serious than we are being told.
- The government is overreacting. Our leaders are making yet another money/power grab.
- Our leaders are dangerously stupid.
The object is to slow down the spread of the virus, not to bring our economy to a screeching halt. Since we need food, clothing, and shelter, keeping everyone at home for months won’t work. Spending trillions we don’t have does not and cannot make up for millions of people staying at home and not working. At best, quarantining EVERYONE in their homes is just a temporary fix.
Usually, when we have an epidemic, we just quarantine sick people or people who have the disease, not everyone. The reason is obvious. Well people still have work the can do and should do.
COVID-19 is not the biggest threat to human life. Therefore, we have to stop acting like it is. We need to adopt more modest, cost effective solutions. We need to stop our spendthrift leaders from throwing “other people’s money” at our problems.