Pandemics often presage a recession, if not a depression. There is a tendency for society to believe that the infamous “Great Depression” was the worst economic collapse in history, and will note that it was not kicked off by a pandemic. These people are wrong. The greatest depression in history was started by the Plague and is known as “The Dark Ages.” That depression lasted 300 years.
Of course, everything moves faster nowadays. Someone in Australia will read this post seconds after it’s posted. It will not take 300 years to get out of anything (other than perhaps climate change) in the year 2021. The problem is that our technology and interconnectedness can actually act as an accelerant with respect to any economic ramifications from Omicron’s contagiousness. In other words, we can get into a severe depression much more quickly than possible in the year 1100 and it can begin with an inability for people to get around at the speed our economy requires.
The picture is ugly, according to Business Insider:
Mass flight cancellations have hit travelers for the sixth consecutive day amid rising levels of airline staff sickness and bad weather in parts of the US.
As of Wednesday morning, 2,212 flights set to depart that day had been canceled, according to figures from the flight-tracking website FlightAware. Data from the website suggests that about 15,000 flights have been canceled since Friday morning.
Take the picture above and expand it across the economy. Austin, Texas just went back to Stage IV protocols. The Republicans like to blame inflation upon Joe Biden. They need only look at all those planes on the ground, planes that would otherwise be filled with people traveling for business, carrying cargo, and analogize to cargo planes, ships, trains, and you get the picture.
Goods are expensive because there are fewer healthy people to produce them, transport them, and then sell them. From an economic perspective alone, the MAGAs should want everyone vaccinated. Vaccinations won’t keep a person from testing positive for the virus. But it’s far more likely to keep one’s symptoms down to a runny nose, and cough for three days, rather than a 30 day stay in the ICU.
It doesn’t take an economist to see that trouble could be brewing, worse than that which we’ve already seen. But the problem is still an awfully nuanced analysis for a party with a platform in which the second-highest priority is saying “Let’s Go Brandon” whenever one can get away with it and giggle (Priority One is pleasing Trump, of course).
Omicron’s contagiousness could force the country into a situation where we are absolutely forced to work together to keep our heads above water. The problem, of course, is that we’ve been in that same dynamic for two years now and we’ve been unable to pull it off yet. Indeed, in some ways, it’s our politics that has kept us all grounded, and not in a positive way.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
Please visit his Substack Newsletter, get the first month free: Much Ado About Everything: By Jason Miciak