We Need a Reliable Pandemic Plan

We need a reliable pandemic plan, one that can be accessed in an emergency so we don’t have to relearn all of this again. Study what happened, what went right and what went wrong. Study its lasting impact and unintended consequences and be ready to use the plan again.

Freeze everything, the sooner the shorter

I believe we should effectively freeze the economy in time. No interest accrues during this time, mortgages and loans don’t have to be paid, public utilities forgive normal usage to account for people being dicks. Give renters without a job HUD vouchers paid direct to the landlord. Do this quickly and it won’t have to go on as long. Fiddle around and it will cost lives and the economy.

Stimulus checks for Rent? No.

Giving people money to theoretically pay their rent doesn’t mean they use it to pay rent. Here is what I know about renters, if they get behind, they will wait to be evicted and move on to the next landlord. Generally, a landlord, at least a small one, has no real ability to get money back. Going the extra mile to garnish wages means more trips to the court, which costs more money. There is this expression about blood and turnips that comes into play.

Renters in a pandemic are going to accumulate that debt, it will be insurmountable, and they will just decide to take the free shelter and move on afterwards. After the moratorium ends we will have a month or two of people being evicted. It will happen.

Many landlords are mom and pop shops. They have a maintenance guy to pay, and of course their own mortgage. They are legally obligated to fix things even when the renter isn’t paying. With that said, if HUD is covering the rent for those that cannot pay, then leave landlords with the ability to evict. No eviction moratorium.

Shut down schools

Be ready to shut down schools immediately. Start with a week to two weeks and prepare for longer. At home schooling works. It isn’t perfect but the sooner we do it, the shorter the duration that will be required. Also, support childcare businesses so they are around when things open. Find ways that kids can be in a supervised environment without close contact so that people that need to work can work safely.

We need Universal Basic Income

For everyone that isn’t working, give them universal basic income, UBI. A living wage to everyone including rich and poor alike. Listen, that person that has been making a decent income, well they aren’t anymore. Basing stimulus checks on past income in a pandemic doesn’t help some people that did well before. Doing well before doesn’t mean you can put food on the table today.

We need UBI anyway, just as a basic safety net. This means people can reliably pay their rent, pay their mortgage, and stay in school even when a crisis hits. They may still want to get a job because it doesn’t quite cover all of their bills. That is all a living wage is meant to cover. As a result the economy can continue to chug along.

We need a safety net to encourage a hard shut down

The next pandemic doesn’t have to go on a year if we shut down hard. Shutting down hard without any safety net can be too difficult to convince people to do and leads to cheating and legal battles. So give them the support to make the difficult choice to stay home. No ability to transmit a virus for a couple of weeks to a month can kill an epidemic. Handle it right economically and people will comply.

Downsides? None that matter.

Who is hurt? Banks wont profit. Given the fact that banks get support in many other times of crisis, I think that banks don’t make a profit in a pandemic is the least they can do. We need a reliable pandemic plan that is studied based on real world cases around the world so that we can effectively fight a virus and save lives. We also should understand that plans fall apart when people start to die.

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