Sure, there is a lot of fear out there right now in GOP/MAGA/Conservative circles that mask mandates and fullout COVID lockdowns are going to make a comeback.
Indeed, COVID-19 numbers are back up once again, and many colleagues of mine have been coming down with the virus – some of them 4 and 5 times now since the start of 2020.
But let us be clear: There is no way that America will go through a lockdown like we had in 2020 or even state or local lockdowns.
The reason is straightforward in that America can’t afford it, and the damage done economically from the last lockdowns was so severe we still aren’t over the aftereffects.
How America Survived the Lockdowns of 2020 Economically
The Trump Administration did the right thing by spending trillions of dollars they did not have – which means more national debt – to keep the nation going.
Team Trump passed trillions in stimulus to ensure another great depression never occurred. It was the right thing to do, and I supported it.
At the same time, the Federal Reserve printed money like it was going out of style and kept interest rates as close to zero as they could.
The impact was impressive, as the nation endured a short, sharp recession followed by a massive economic boom. Donald Trump should get credit for that.
Where It Went Wrong
Of course, by the time Joe Biden got into office at the beginning of 2021, variants like Omicron were very much on everyone’s mind, and the COVID-19 crystal ball was cloudy.
That is when the wrong choice was made by Team Biden – to spend trillions of dollars more.
That is the reason why we have such high inflation today. Surely, inflation would have been an issue even if we had just had the Trump stimulus of 2020. However, combined with the Joe Biden American Rescue Plan and Infrastructure Bills, America is swimming in $31 Trillion in debt and inflation that even high fed-created interest rates can’t seem to completely tame back to 2 percent.
In fact, there is so much money swimming around in infrastructure projects Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said recently the economy was having problems absorbing it all. No wonder when you go and down Route 95 from Maine to Florida all you see is construction.
Why No Lockdowns? No Money
So, where am I going with all of this?
Well, simply stated, no money is left for lockdowns or massive stimulus bills.
The nation is already at the tipping point regarding the national debt that our credit rating was downgraded. What happens when we lock down again and spend more money all over again to try and prop up the economy?
Even if we were hit with 500,000 cases per day of COVID-19, like in January 2020, there is no money to close down the country again beyond taking on more and more debt.
We would have to follow a pattern of economic craziness like 2020. We would have a massive economic downturn, rapid growth, horrible inflation, and a slowdown – sound familiar? But this time, the nation’s economy might not ever recover.
Imagine America paying $1 Trillion a year just on interest to support the national debt – that is where we are headed.
Plus, the public has no appetite to return to 2020. So, if you see someone wearing a mask again in the grocery store, don’t freak out. The lockdown days are going to stay in the history books.
Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive and serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. He served on the Russia task force for U.S. Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz, and in a similar role in the John Hay Initiative. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree in International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of the book The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization. Kazianis also has a background in defense journalism, having served as Editor-In-Chief at The Diplomat and Executive Editor for the National Interest.
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