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Butterfly effect

You’ve heard of “the butterfly effect.” If not, the Cliff’s Notes version is that the most minuscule action on our plant can spread and, like ripples in a pond, grow until it has gargantuan effects.

Well, the butterfly may turn out to be a lightweight, compared to the COVID-19 virus. Some of our policymakers don’t seem to get that.

What if, in the end, the number of businesses driven to insolvency by COVID-19-related closure orders outnumbers the total of lives taken by the disease in our country? Each shutdown will take jobs — perhaps only that of a sole proprietor, perhaps thousands — with it.

That will be only the start. Many other businesses, who relied on the first round of closed ones as customers, will fold in the months to come. Others will stay open, but will have to cut back. More jobs gone.

Some small business owners have surrendered already. Each day of state-mandated closures will add to the list.

Well, say those in the nanny-state crowd, look at all the lives we’ll have saved. By all means, let’s talk about that.

It will not have escaped your notice that those very same folks have been telling us for years about the deadliness of hopelessness. People who can’t find work turn to drug abuse, they note. Others try crime to make ends meet. Some can’t put bread on the table and pay health insurance premiums, too. People die because they can’t afford health care.

Pop quiz: Where in the Treasury did Congress find the $2.9 trillion used for the first CARES Act? Where will it get the next $3 trillion proposed in the House of Representatives?

It doesn’t exist. Not one dime of it. It’s all being added to the national debt, already at $25.2 trillion. Within a couple of months, coronavirus spending could send that over $30 trillion. That’s about $250,000 for each and every American who pays taxes.

At some point, the rest of the world will grow tired of carrying our tab in borrowed money. We’ll have to increase taxes. That will leave less money to take care of domestic problems such as health care and drug abuse. Americans will die because of that.

And, because charity begins at home, we’ll stop helping Third-World residents elsewhere on the globe. How many millions of lives does U.S. foreign aid save each year? Without our assistance, many of them will just … die.

They will perish from malnutrition, probably wars caused by desperation, and disease. Perhaps some will die because the United States didn’t furnish aid that helped them prevent or battle a future coronavirus.

Don’t get me wrong. Some governors understand — and I happen to think West Virginia’s Jim Justice and Ohio’s Mike DeWine are among them. They’re pushing what they think are the limits to get our economies going again.

Some aren’t. Guess which states’ taxpayers will have to try to bail them out when their economies are damaged badly by ongoing shutdowns.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, not even those cultivated by big-government politicians. It grows only when watered by the sweat of tens of millions of working men and women.

We need to get them back on the job — to save lives.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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