The Unintended Consequences of the Pandemic

When all of this started back in March of 2020, I told a friend of mine, “I don’t fear the pandemic as much as I do the unintended consequences of it and the government’s response.”  I explained to him that every time the government throws money at something, things happen that they never expected.  The pandemic itself was laden with strange things we never expected.  Here’s a few things we learned and experienced that might have some long terms effects:

There was a shortage of some brands of soda because our cans come from China.  Bottlers focused on making only their core products for a while.  The availability of aluminum cans determined for weeks what was available to consumers.  Who knew?  

It turns out most of our medicine and medical supplies are manufactured overseas.  That was an eye-opener. 

We learned that a segment of our society was willing to turn their neighbors in out of fear. All you had to do was make them afraid and give them a phone number to call.  Hello 1972, East Germany!

Some politicians overextended their authority.  Some lied about the severity of the pandemic. Most wasted little time in making a medical issue a political crisis. 

The low interest rates have gotten people to start buying and building homes at a breakneck pace, at least here in Virginia.  This has led to a shortage of building products, which has, in turn, raised prices dramatically. A guy at Home Depot told me that lumber is almost competing for meth in terms of cost.  I’m assuming he was joking.  How long will it be before the cartels and smuggling plywood across the border? 

Salad bars disappeared – I fear forever. Also dealt a crippling blow were cafeteria-style restaurants like Golden Corral (which has zero impact on my life.)

You never know how much you miss something until it is taken from you

Dumping trillions into the economy is bound to lead to inflation – it’s simple economics.  Inflation, despite what the government says, is happening.  I feel that I’m paying more for almost everything.  The only way the Fed can combat it is to raise interest rates.  When that happens, all of these people that bought into adjustable rate mortgages are, in five years or so, in for a hell of a surprise when their rates skyrocket.  

The stock market is betting that the economy will rebound big.  Even with a bad jobs report, stocks soared.  The market feels bubble-ish to me, very overinflated.  A correction is overdue, in my opinion, as a consequence of government spending.

We learned that people, when they are bored and stuck at home, play in the stock market.  And we learned that a number of investors were out there betting against some businesses, betting they would fail. 

When you pay people to not work, you get people that don’t want to go back to work. The impact on society will be fascinating to watch.   

We learned the some governments kept lists of people deemed essential, which to me felt creepy.  We also learned that those people were expected to risk their health for the rest of us.  The people that are essential in our society are often overlooked the most – like truck drivers, cashiers, store stockers, etc.  None of them, as a group, refused to go to work.  The only exception was the teacher’s union, which still baffles the hell out of me. 

Restaurants and stores have never been as clean as they were during the pandemic, and that is a good thing.  For a while, Walmart was cleaning the belts at their checkouts every two customers.  I saw people cleaning in a Taco Bell that I was fairly sure had not been that sterile since Clinton was in office.

While politicians told us that distance learning was just as good as classroom learning; it wasn’t.  I had been arguing this for years when I worked for the Corporate Overlords and was glad to be vindicated on a massive scale.  Some school districts adapted well, others did not.  What is the impact of poor learning at an early age for a year?  Well, we are about to find out.

What will be the long-term impact of a year of our children being locked up at home?  No one can say, but chances are it won’t be positive. 

Restaurants shut down their seating areas and changed to delivery in a matter of weeks. Many Americans that never ordered food through an App now do it almost weekly, if not daily. 

We all became strangely comfortable with movies not coming out in theaters. With many coming out on streaming services, one wonders if the movie entertainment industry is going to suffer a long-deserved shakeup.  Will movie theaters become a thing of the past? 

People spent more time online and it wasn’t a good thing.  Angry, empty voices filled with misdirected hate and rage became the norm. 

Some TV shows adapted to the pandemic much easier than others.  In many cases, we started watching older movies and TV series that we missed when they first came out. 

We all learned that the most satisfying moment is when you exited a building and removed your mask.  These mask-gasms still feel fantastic. 

Americans learned they could spend time with their family members without going on vacations.  Will this have an impact on vacationing down the road? 

Proms didn’t happen and it wasn’t the end of the world, nor did it emotionally scar a single child who didn’t get to attend. 

When people don’t drive, air pollution goes down, as does frustration.  Businesses learned they could have their people work at home, which means that office space is likely to be abundantly available in the years to come.  It could also impact construction of office buildings as well as businesses adopt a much smaller footprint for in-house staff. 

Some people became very comfortable with the government telling them what they could and couldn’t do.  Others defined that. 

Individuals learned how important it was to have family support to assist with children schooling at home, etc.  Some families learned that having two incomes wasn’t as important as making sure their kids were taken care of.  Who knows where this will go long-term. 

We ALL came to the conclusion that that bitch Carole Baskin killed her husband and fed him to the tigers.   

Oh, she totally did it.

I am sure I missed more than a few.  Please use the comments below to add your observations. 

5 thoughts on “The Unintended Consequences of the Pandemic

  1. Right on! And another thing that happened was that government executives became a little to cozy with the totalitarian power that emergency declarations gave them, without having to worry about pesky things like legislatures and the little people telling them know, which ruins the fun! The governors, mayors, judges, and agency heads enjoy that power so much that they have repeatedly renewed those emergency declaration so that they can keep it indefinitely. 15 Days they said to flatten the curve and protect the hospitals!

  2. We’ll finally get flying cars? I was promised flying cars by now? But seriously? A lot of cheap office space and convention season coming back? I smell opportunity?

  3. Microchips shortages! The WHOLE WORLD gets them from China, with no redundancy in the system. So when they shut those factories/mines/whatever down due to covid…well, good luck buying a car. Automobile factories the world over are shutting down and dealerships seems to have more open concrete than cars. I’m wondering how long before the cellphone, computer, aircraft, etc., etc…manufacturers start following suit, and for how long?

    1. The shortage for car manufacturers is a somewhat self-inflicted wound.

      The chip fab plants have been running almost full tilt for a couple years now, and the initial surge in demand for consumer electronics (on top of the heavy demand already being put on certain computer components) hard-maxed out their production capacity. And their production capacity is booked like convention space; months, even years in advance. There’s only so many chip fabs after all.

      Auto manufacturers took a look at the pandemic and predicted that there would be a substantial drop in sales demand for cars. So they did what any good business man does; they lowered their orders for parts. Because those parts cost money, and car manufacturers nowadays don’t have warehouses to stockpile components that they may or may not use. And what do the chip fabs do? They take that cancelled production capacity and slot in other orders to fill the downtime. Because those fabs aren’t cheap to run, and time is money, especially when there’s tons of demand.

      So the fabs are making the chips for computers, cell phones, aircraft, everything else. But not cars. And now that demand is back, the auto manufacturers are coming back saying “I need these chips!” And being good capitalists, the chip fabs are saying politely “get in line”.

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