Gary Smith: Feeling the pandemic pain | TheUnion.com
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Gary Smith: Feeling the pandemic pain

Other Voices
Gary Smith

Watching our beloved America struggle with coronavirus is hard. Being retired, it is only an inconvenience for me. But for the majority of Americans it is far beyond an inconvenience, with so much pain.

While the media and government highlight the heart-breaking death and suffering from the virus, there is little attention paid to the death and suffering happening to the people that don’t have the virus.

For example, nursing homes where there is little or no government inspection and family members can’t check on their care. The abuse victims stuck in lockdown with their abusers. The mentally fragile that will be pushed over the edge with the daily strain of coping. The economic ruin heaped onto some Americans that will wreck them financially and emotionally, just to name a few.

I can’t imagine being a small business owner in our area. First we have the 2019 fall PG&E power shut-offs, then the coronavirus, and I bet we will have 2020 fall PG&E power shut-offs. How can they survive?

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We need to turn this mess around before it is too late, with a sustainable, long-term strategy for future generations.

Our government’s response to the crisis should better balance all of the factors together and come up with a plan that accounts for all of the pain, no easy task. To make those decisions even harder, our politicians have to balance the public’s need with their own political aspirations.

Having a libertarian viewpoint and watching our federal and state governments’ decisions in this crisis is depressing. Our federal government is throwing trillions of dollars at the response that our children and grandchildren will never be able to repay. This year alone, before this crisis, we will pay about $500 billion on just our national debt interest, depending on whose figures you use. By the end of this decade our yearly debt interest payment will exceed our military budget, a scary thought.

Future generations will struggle with this debt crisis for many years.

Daily, our California governor announces new, complex programs that have little chance of being administered effectively, especially in this present situation. These programs will end up helping a minority and leave many behind. Millions will be spent with little oversight, there will be mistakes, fraud and abuse.

As our governments have grown in size over the years, so has their desire to solve all of society’s problems and do our thinking for us. Our personal responsibility has taken a back seat to government solutions. It is far easier to have the government do this for us and unfortunately the majority of citizens seem to have accepted it.

Our media and government constantly highlight a small minority doing something idiotic with a safe activity. Their solution is to pass a law banning the activity, punishing the majority. A new law doesn’t always fix stupid.

When coronavirus restrictions lighten up, you can count on a minority breaking the rules no matter what the government does. Hopefully the majority won’t get punished, but I am not getting my hopes up. I get the impression our governments think all of their citizens will treat their newfound freedom like a spring break party.

Life has changed for me and I won’t be doing much until a proven vaccine is available. I bet the majority of Americans will be doing something similar. I will not be hunkering down, but will be cautious and not counting on any government to have all of the answers, they have been wrong too often during this crisis.

I survived the 1957 flu pandemic that killed 116,000 Americas that was just a blip on America’s economic graph, hopefully I will survive coronavirus too.

We need to turn this mess around before it is too late, with a sustainable, long-term strategy for future generations. Many of our fellow citizens are hurting, if you can donate 10% of your stimulus check to a nonprofit it would be helpful.

Gary Smith lives in Grass Valley.


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