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Go ahead and die, Dan

Just do it on your own time, and try not to take anyone with you.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, chiming in to support President Donald Trump’s new focus on the economy over fierce warnings from public health officials, suggested on Fox News on Monday night that he would rather die from the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus than see instability in the American economic system.

“No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in,” he said. “And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that.

“I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me … that what we all care about and what we all love more than anything are those children,” he added. “And I want to, you know, live smart and see through this, but I don’t want to see the whole country to be sacrificed, and that’s what I see.”

[…]

At the end of the Fox interview, host Tucker Carlson repeated his interpretation of Patrick’s argument: “You’re basically saying that this disease could take your life, but that’s not the scariest thing to you, there’s something worse than dying?”

To which Patrick answered in the affirmative: “Yeah.”

I just can’t right now, so I’m going to outsource this. Here’s Kevin Drum, with some data:

President Trump would like us to “open the economy,” which for all practical purposes means doing nearly nothing. The [Imperial College] study suggests that in this scenario around 2 million people will die.

If we get as serious as Italy—shut down everything, close every school, get everyone off the streets, and aggressively trace every known case—and if we do it for the next three months or so—we could get the number of deaths down to 200,000 or so. That’s about 0.06 percent of the population, similar to what Italy is likely to suffer.

This is the difference we’re looking at: 200,000 vs. 2 million. The first case is bad but manageable, and the Senate rescue bill would keep most people whole and ensure that the economy can pop back to life quickly when the control measures are over. The second is a catastrophe, and even with the rescue bill in place it would most likely produce a deep recession that would last through the end of the year at least.

The control measures are no fun. No president wants to be the guy who has to enforce them. But without them 2 million people will die and we’ll probably suffer a deep recession. Why would anyone in their right mind choose that option?

And here’s Nonsequiteuse with a more direct response:

Viruses aren’t good ol’ boys swaddled in camo with Yeti coffee mugs and Ducks Unlimited decals on their rear windows, out to bag the daily limit.

Viruses are motherfucking spree killers pumped up on angel dust and Four Loko.

We can’t ask TxDOT to use those nifty signs to direct viruses which exit to take and which parking lot to use to go get the olds.

The more people exposed, the more who fall ill. That’s it. That’s the way this works. There’s no vaccine, and the treatment doesn’t always work even if you can access it. The outbreak will only run its course if we limit the number of people the virus can reach, which we can do by staying at home and avoiding other people who might be infected.

Now, let’s look at the second issue, Dan Patrick’s stunning lack of confidence in each and every one of us in this country, which is what leads me to say that

Dan Patrick is anti-American.

Dan Patrick and Donald Trump are making the same argument—equally ineloquently—letting the economy tank is worse than letting the virus kill a bunch of people, so we should go back to work and pretend it’s all good.

Why does Dan Patrick think a month or two of large numbers of people working from home and some people needing increased government assistance over the short-term will completely and totally wreck us?

Does he not believe in American ingenuity? In bootstraps? In our cultural obsession with reinvention? Doesn’t he know we’re the Timex Nation?

There are only two options here, and honestly, hard to say which paints Danny boy in the worse light.

What they both said. Political Animal, TPM, Daily Kos, Texas Monthly, Dahlia Lithwick, the Observer, and Paradise in Hell have more.

UPDATE: I’m just going to leave this here.

While Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick became the public face of the “let’s get back to work” contingent during the coronavirus pandemic, his son Ryan K. Patrick, U.S. Attorney in the Houston region, has asked his staff handling one of the busiest criminal dockets in the country to work from home and prioritize safety.

The younger Patrick declined to comment on his 69-year-old father’s statement to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. The lieutenant governor spoke about sacrificing himself to salvage the economy and letting his grandchildren have “a shot at the American dream” after a short hiatus. The 41-year-old chief federal prosecutor asked workers and staff nearly two weeks ago to take computers home and come in only as needed. He has a skeleton crew operating at the courthouse each day, taking turns handling hearings for their colleagues.

“Our office is as fully teleworked as possible,” said the chief prosecutor in southeast Texas. “We learned a lot of good lessons after Hurricane Harvey,” he said. He noted that his office is still open and courts are still open.

Ted Imperato, deputy chief of the national security and public corruption unit at the Houston headquarters, said his boss has been on top of it, following public health directives for social distancing and flattening the curve from the beginning.

“The safety of the people that work for him has been his primary focus,” Imperato said. “Every conference call and every email I’ve gotten has been to check on your people, make sure they’re OK and to provide us necessary updates on conducting our business during this period of crisis.”

We feel your pain, Ryan.

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31 Comments

  1. General Grant says:

    I don’t think anyone should take any “pro-life” lectures from Dan Patrick ever again

  2. C.L. says:

    I say we let Lt. Dan take one for the team, you know, just to test his theory that old folks dying will save the economy.

  3. Flypusher says:

    Glen Beck can go next

    If it really is not possible to save vulnerable people without permanent economic damage, what does that say about our economy?

  4. Flypusher says:

    The “pro-life” cohort is still trying to spin the contradictions:

    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/03/say-no-to-deaths-dominion

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Even though I don’t really like ‘bathroom monitor’ Dan, I am with him on this particular thing. The elderly, and sick, and those who take care of them, should proceed with extreme caution, but everyone else needs to get back to work. There’s a concept called “herd immunity” that would indicate that, since most young, healthy folks who will get it will have no or mild symptoms, get those young, healthy people back to work, and let the virus pass through them. The more people who have had it go through, the fewer people who the virus can live in, and multiply in going forward.

    I appreciate the position espoused here, that we need to shut everything down indefinitely, but surviving to founder in the ashes doesn’t sound enticing. I’d rather get back to work, with our new found emphasis on cleaning, hand washing, etc., and move on. I say this as someone who is the primary caretaker of an elderly person who is the prime demographic to get killed by the Wu flu. I’m being careful. I’m washing hands, washing clothes, etc., and would probably not go to a concert or ball game, but those concerts and ball games should be performed and played.

    This is the greatest country in the history of mankind, and we shouldn’t even entertain killing it, going out like a punk. We’re better than that. We may lose Dan Patrick. Hell, we may lose me (I’m sure y’all will grieve appropriately, LOL), or my elderly relative, but at least we will have gone down swinging, on our feet, not locked down, on our knees.

    I’m hoping Trump will perform the second Easter Miracle, and resurrect the American economy by opening us back up for business, as he alluded to a couple of days ago.

  6. Jules says:

    Shut up Bill

  7. Jen says:

    This whole thing by the right wing nuts is just setting the stage to blame *all* economic fallout resulting from the pandemic on the Lefties, who ‘took too long’ to lift public health measures. Just wait, it is coming…

  8. brad says:

    The tragicomedy that is Alaska Bill Daniels continues.

    I am okay with Bill’s idea for all folks to go back to work, but only with the caveat that he obtains an agreement with Foxnews for them to show 24/7 video footage of senior citizens gasping for air and dying in hallways of hospitals due to the shortage of medical equipment and ventilators necessary for COVID-19 patients.

    And Alaska Bill and Lt Governor Patrick are required to provide play-by-play commentary of the video footage of dying patients while promoting “the greatest country in mankind…not going out like a punk”.

  9. Wolfgang says:

    WHAT IS “THE ECONOMY” AND WHAT IS ITS ULTIMATE PURPOSE?

    This may at first sound controversial, but let me suggest that “the economy” is an abstraction of convenience, and that the conventional measures of economic performance are not an appropriate gauge/comparator under the current extra-ordinary conditions, just as it would not be appropriate to measure daily output (or consumption, or spending) during a hurricane with the corresponding day the week, month, or year earlier. We’ve got a critical event in the time-series on all of the much-watched indicators. An interruption. And there is really no precedent for it, at least not on this scale in our lifetime.

    HOW TO MEASURE WHAT

    Ultimately, “the economy” (a country’s production and distribution system) is a means to an end: human well-being (of welfare in the unadulterated original sense).

    In terms of human well-being, the relevant performance metrics right now are speed (reduction) of spread of the pandemic, hospital capacity relative to demand, and testing capacity.

    Unless, of course, the public-policy approach is inspired by the gospel of Charles Darwin: Let the weak and vulnerable perish: Survival of the fittest. (Not that Darwin advocated culling as a social policy).

    Even in hard-nosed money terms, having people remain uninfected (and a certain percentage of them in a non-productive hiatus for a while in their homes) consumes no or almost no additional resources, and is therefore much cheaper than putting them into a hospital bed and hooking them up to a respirator.

    Second, the so-called “collapse” of the economy is nothing more than a figure of speech. Some buildings collapse in an earthquake. The economic doesn’t and cannot collapse because it is an abstract concept. An economy (sum total of production of a socio-political-geographic unit) may take a downtown in terms of volume of production (as valued in local currency units or quantitative measures such as units, weight, or volume), but what matters in the short run is an adequate supply of the essentials needed for survival (and preferably, comfort), rather than figures that dance across the screen as a metric representing aggregate production or stock valuation.

    Third, a large segment of what we call “the economy” is currently functioning better than during a hurricane, a tornado strike, or a flood. For one, the electricity is on, the cell phones and Internet are working. There is plenty of food. Water and sewerage services are functional. Therefore, a lot of productive or otherwise useful activity (telework, home schooling, self-education) can continue at home, with some adjustment of routines. Economy vs. public health measures is a false dichotomy.

    Fourth, the stay-safe-work-at-home regime is a great opportunity to expand productive activity independent of specific work sites, and it incentivizes ingenuity. It has long been recognized that necessity is the mother of invention.

    A crisis of this nature can be seen as a great opportunity for innovation, and for breaking loose from practices that have become sub-optimal. Lots of additional jobs (incl. reporting and interviews, as you can see on TV) can and are being done remotely, the key enabling factor being a well-functioning communications infrastructure. High quality video streaming may have to be downgraded (as in Europe), but enough capacity is already there to be utilized for all sorts of economically and socially valuable purposes, including tele-medicine consults.

    People sick with corona can be kept at home as long as they don’t develop breathing problems, so as to dampen down the surge in demand on limited hospital capacity by the very sick.

    What matters at the basic level, is survival

  10. Flypusher says:

    Anyone who’s been given a prescription for antibiotics will recall the instructions to take ALL the pills, as directed, until you are finished. Even if you start feeling better, you must not stop. That’s because if you let up before the drugs completely work their magic, the infection can come roaring back. The same applies to social distancing to halt a pandemic. You stop too soon, and you get a new wave of virus.

    So do we heed the words of dishonest Trump-sucker Bill, whose body of work speaks clearly for itself, or do we believe the experts in epidemiology

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/14/politics/anthony-fauci-trump-coronavirus/index.html

    Or the historians:

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/3/24/21192528/coronavirus-social-distancing-economy-deaths

    Or look to recent news about what happens if you cease social distancing too soon:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/23/asia/hong-kong-coronavirus-quarantine-intl-hnk/index.html

    You want the worst of both worlds? Follow the fool with the attention span of a caffeinated fruit fly and no regard for anyone but himself. Economies recover. Dead people don’t. Plus the virus doesn’t look to be satisfied with just old people offered up as tribute:

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-young-people-hospitalized-covid-19-chart/

    We had our chance to avoid this economic distress. It’s been noted that both the US and S. Korea reported their first case of Covid-19 on the same day, Jan 20. The response and outcomes for those 2 countries have been very different. Why? Here’s some of the reasons:

    https://thebulwark.com/warnings-ignored-a-timeline-of-trumps-covid-19-response/

    I’ll make a prediction- Trump backs off his open-by-Easter demand, because the governors (even the GOPers) and the Mayors aren’t on board, and he is a coward. But I say to go ahead and hold a big Easter service and invite Dan Patrick, Fallwell Jr, Franklin Graham, Paula White, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, and all the other true believers to attend.

    “This whole thing by the right wing nuts is just setting the stage to blame *all* economic fallout resulting from the pandemic on the Lefties, who ‘took too long’ to lift public health measures. Just wait, it is coming…”

    Don’t forget the obverse, which is if the social distancing works, they will claim that there never was a problem. It’s the paradox of preparedness.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Brad,

    I’ll be happy to go report about the people who die from the Wu flu. I’d especially like to go report from Nevada, where the governor there just outlawed the most promising drug cocktail treatment to date, because Trump spoke about it. I’d ask those seniors, gasping for breath, “Aren’t you happy to die a horrible death without the medicine that seems to have great efficacy to save you, just to make your governor feel good, and stick it to Orange Man?”

    Are you going to report about the tens of millions of Americans who become homeless because they can’t pay their rent or mortgage? What about the ensuing health crisis that occurs when tens or hundreds of millions of Americans get booted to the curb? Have you been downtown lately? The homeless aren’t known for their sanitary practices. And here’s the thing…..I’ll be just fine, because my business serves essential businesses, and is specifically exempted in the Harris County order. I’ve got no problems here.

    The thing you haven’t taken into account here is, when you push people to the breaking point, WTF do you think they will do? They will turn to crime to make ends meet. You keep this up, and you’ll see a breakdown in social order, as newly unemployed, desperate people turn to burglary and robbery to pay the rent and keep the lights on. People will die as crime spikes, and hey, isn’t it great that we are simultaneously not arresting people AND letting people out of jail with no bond? You don’t understand the monster you’re going to unleash if you keep this up and prevent people from earning a living honestly.

    Brad, you’re a compassionate guy. You help feed illegal aliens. We get it, you’re compassionate. How compassionate do you think those illegals will feel toward you when their abuela or tia is about to get evicted and needs rent money? Maybe they’ll rob you last. Maybe you’ll get robbed by someone who doesn’t know how much you care about helping others, or really doesn’t care. You’ve got a car, a watch, a wallet, and they need it. Good luck, Brad.

    @ Wolfgang:

    “What matters at the basic level, is survival.”

    Yes, that’s right. And people facing homelessness, facing having their utilities cut off, their car repossessed, because their jobs were eliminated…..they WILL survive. They will survive by coming to your neighborhood and taking what they need to survive from you…..and they won’t be asking nicely.

  12. Jen says:

    Shut up Bill

  13. Brad says:

    Alaska Bill Daniel Tragicomedy Act III.

  14. Flypusher says:

    “ Are you going to report about the tens of millions of Americans who become homeless because they can’t pay their rent or mortgage? What about the ensuing health crisis that occurs when tens or hundreds of millions of Americans get booted to the curb?”

    If only there were things like eviction freezes and unemployment insurance and no interest loans and waiving payment on student loans and sending $ directly to people and a number of other such things the government can do to keep those people from falling through the cracks. Oh but there is!! Your apocalyptic vision is preventable, especially since, as Wolfgang points out, we don’t have the utility and supply chain of basic staples disruptions the are the hallmark of other disasters.

    But now the 2017 tax cut boondoggle, much of which went to stock buybacks and never produced that promised 3% growth, looks even more foolish. Talk about wasting the ammo that should have been saved for a crisis.

  15. Brad says:

    Alaska Bill,

    Was it you that said “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic”?

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    Eviction freeze? That puts the pain on the landlord. So let’s say that’s you. Now you can’t make the payment to the bank because you’re getting no income from the property. When things finally settle out, your renter leaves without paying, and leaves you holding the bag. The bank takes your rental property, and, if that was how you made a living, renting property, now YOU are out on the streets. Remember the housing crisis/crash, with the millions upon millions of underwater, vacant homes? Great plan, there.

    Waiving student loans is great, and sending money? They’re gonna send people making less than $ 75K a year a cool $ 1,200. How far do you think that’s going to go? What’s the average rent on a one bedroom apartment in Houston? I’m just gonna take a wild guess and say it’s $ 900 a month.

    And what happens to all the people who lose their jobs and as a result, lose their medical insurance? It’s not cheap to buy insurance on the individual market. How far does that $ 1,200 take you, assuming you didn’t blow it all on your car payment and light bill?

    Sorry, what you folks want is crashing our economy like Venezuela. You’ll have survivors of your pogrom roaming the streets robbing each other, and eating the zoo animals for protein.

    I’m just waiting for talk of nacionalización. This is the socialist dream! Everyone dependent on government to take care of them because they can’t take care of themselves. People lining up for food and medicine. No toilet paper.

    You’re shredding the Constitution, and gleeful as you do it. I just don’t get it.

  17. Flypusher says:

    There’s also relief for the landlords available too. I didn’t list every possible bailout/stimulus measure possible, but everything you mentioned is preventable. I held my nose for a number of measures taken after the 2007 crash, because I’m not so blindly vindictive that I wanted another depression as the price of stigginit to the banksters. People will have their choice of evils here, and it’s always better to take the lesser one. Probably there will have to be more than $1200 send out for some people. You can always claw back later from people who didn’t need it. Business as usual ain’t happening in the near term, and it certainly won’t resume with a pandemic still raging on. Viruses don’t care about what Trump says or wants. Or you or me.

    Also any trump-sucker who bitches about “shredding the Constitution” deserves nothing but mocking laughter.

  18. Manny says:

    Bill you and all the other like you can give your lives.

    Start by signing a contract that if you get sick for any reason that you will refuse treatment in a hospital, that you will not allow any one to use any equipment that can be used for Covid19 patients, that you will not use masks at your jobs, if they are required. That if you do have masks you will donate them to hospitals.

    When you agree that you will agree to die for what you espouse you are all mouth.

    By the way you can start by telling us your real name and the name of your company so that we can monitor to see if you are willing to die for the economy.

  19. Manny says:

    Oh Bill, will you be one of those persons committing suicide because you can’t make your payments to the bank? Just wondering.

  20. Manny says:

    Correction
    Until you agree that you will agree to die for what you espouse you are all mouth.

  21. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    You’ve perfectly managed to capture the spirit of “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

    Govt. tries to solve problem.

    Govt. creates more problems by trying to solve first problem.

    Govt. does more things to try and solve problem government created.

    Rinse and repeat.

    Maybe just give your best guidance and opinion to the American public and let them make their own decisions?

  22. voter_worker says:

    Meanwhile, the medical community contemplates upping the ante on triage. Dan Patrick’s comments indicate a disturbing level of nonchalance for the people of all ages (not just grandma and grandpa) who will be hospitalized and those who will care for them, and make life-or-death decisions. He’s also naive to believe that a decree from the President can restore normality. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/25/coronavirus-patients-do-not-resucitate/

  23. C.L. says:

    Please, for the love of all things holy, stop responding to Bill’s diatribe.

  24. Flypusher says:

    “You’ve perfectly managed to capture the spirit of “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

    As expected, the conservative/ libertarian self-fulfilling prophecy of government is broken, because we break the government whenever we get a chance. Rinse and repeat. The government didn’t create the pandemic, but failure to act quickly and decisively back in January is a major cause of the current mess. When you chose to pass on the ounce of prevention, you have no standing to bitch about the pound of cure.

    Those words you quoted don’t concern me at all. The lies Trump spews on a daily basis are the truly worrisome things.

  25. Ross says:

    @Bill, the problem with letting people make their own decisions in a situation like this is that they make the decision that benefits themselves, and don’t care what happens to anyone else. These are the people that buy 5 cases of toilet paper, and shout “I’ve got mine, fuck the rest of you”, and then have a neighborhood BBQ with 75 people. The main reason for the stay at home order in Harris County is that people were ignoring the social distancing recommendations, and treating it like a vacation. That leads, fairly quickly, to exponential growth in cases, and hospital failures due to too many patients.

  26. […] here for the background. It’s not actually clear that they want to protect public health, since […]

  27. brad says:

    If Dan Patrick is willing to be “all in” he should let folks know when/where he will be at the hospitals changing bed sheets for coronavirus patients and in grocery stores sacking groceries.

    Why do I suspect he will be a chickenhwak though?

  28. C.L. says:

    @Ross…. That’s exactly why the Cajun Coonasses to our east are having the problems they’re having – a ‘Fuck the virus, we got Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street to Celebrate !’ line of thinking.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_in_Louisiana

    As someone pointed earlier, there is very little that’s going to stop the exponential growth of community spread.

  29. RJB says:

    Every loyal American knows that GREED is far more important than LIFE.

  30. RJB says:

    @Bill Daniels,

    When people were completely ignorant about the sources/vectors of disease, they pretty much did what you are proposing… and they died in the millions, destroying empires… let alone “economies.”

    As one large example, during the Black Death about HALF the population of Europe died, ending entire kingdoms. And in their complete ignorance, many people blamed the Jews… who happened to avoid much of the Black Death merely by practicing cleanliness (keeping rats and rat poop out of their food supplies and, therefore, fleas out of their homes) and because they lived in isolation (forced isolation based on ignorant prejudice).

    Ignorance Kills. Get Yourself Some Larnin’! http://holocaustonline.org/background-context/examples-of-anti-semitic-myths-events/jewish-people-blamed-for-the-black-death/

    Even if people imagine they are making choices that are best for them, disease doesn’t respect ignorant choices…and that especially includes personal choices that put others at risk. You do not have the right to make my children sick.

  31. […] someone can tell Dan Patrick? It’s one thing for geezers like him to get sick and die, but people in their 40s and 50s […]