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Maybe OZ Could use a Wizard

I spoke with a friend in Australia and his normally happy upbeat self seemed beaten down. His business was good, he said, and his family healthy, but he told me the story of rolling lock downs in his country. He said that they have been having lock downs (at least five) over the past year, some as long as 125 days, some as short as 25 days. He said that it is rumored that another one will be coming in a few days.

The worst thing they can do to you in prison is put you solitary. I feel for our friends in OZ. The on again, off again lives they are leading has to be soul wrenching. Its like they are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. My friend tells me he hopes a return to normal by year end, but then he said that at this time last year. He said that Australia’s strong economy saw them through one year of the pandemic, however he wasn’t certain just how well it would do after two years. Quantas, the most profitable airline on the planet, lost over two billion last year (and laid off 8,000 people), so far this year it’s doing better, having lost only one billion so far.

I understand the country has an app that everyone carries on their phone. It tracks everywhere you go. If a store you visited finds a person that tested positive for covid, then everyone that visited that store is contacted and placed in quarantine for 10 days. Of course this is only temporary. Remember what Milton Friedman said: “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program.”

My biggest fear is what lockdowns and quarantines do to the public’s psyche. They create fear. They take away the very real need for human contact. The worst is their inconsistency. You reach a point where you don’t know what to believe any more. Doctor “A” says one thing, Governor “B” says the opposite, Health bureaucrat “C” says something else entirely. The average person isn’t stupid. After a while they believe no one. And enforcement becomes a matter for the police state.

At some point, you wonder what to prefer. A rough and tumble inconsistent approach like here in the US, or a 100% follow the rules lockdown like in Australia. America isn’t perfect, by any means. Some states like Florida, South Dakota, Texas and Georgia are wide open, and the world isn’t coming to an end, other states like California are opening up after tremendous upward pressure from the citizenry.

Its unfortunate that politicians can’t seem to even follow their own edicts (follow the science) but then, that’s sort of what you would expect. Perhaps Australia is so far behind in vaccinations because its health leaders were so focused on prevention, that they forgot to place orders for the vaccines. Happened in the EU, too.

I’m happy that we are having PIE this coming week. Humans need personal contact and we are doing that every day, every hour, every minute. Nothing is needed more right now than face to face contact. We crave it, we need it, and by golly we are going to get it.

See you in Dallas.

JVH

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