As I mention from time to time, I read a number of economic observers with whose opinions I usually strongly disagree, partly because it is good to consider other points of view, and partly because some compile excellent and interesting data, even if I disagree with their conclusions about what the data means.
The “Calafia Beach Pundit,” Scott Grannis, is one of those writers. His chart work is frequently compelling and often challenging. But, when it comes to the ideologically inspired response to COVID-19, he has been out of his mind.
So almost exactly one year ago, on March 27, 2020, I bookmarked one of his observations and forecasts, because I expected that the truth would be very different than he thought:
Since the normal flu season began last October, the CDC estimates that as many as 45 million Americans have come down with one form or another of the flu, and roughly 45,000 have died from complications of the flu. That works out to about 250 deaths per day. In all of the US, and for the year to date, covid-19 has been tied to only 1700 deaths. Simply put, this is not a pandemic and is very likely not going to become one, especially given the draconian measures that have been imposed across the country to date.
…. What we really need right now is to recognize that this virus is not a pandemic or a mass killer. It’s probably more like an unusually nasty flu. We need to lift the economic shutdown as soon as possible and get back to work. Trump is right.
Now that we’re one year later, let’s see how it panned out. There have been over 30 million *confirmed* cases of the coronavirus. The 550,000 who have died is over 10x the number who typically “have died from complications of the flu,” and over 300x the “only 1700 deaths” from coronavirus he touted.
But not only has Grannis never acknowledged his gargantuan error, the one thing he has remained constant about is that there should be no restrictions on economic behavior which might curb the spread of the deadly toll of the virus. There is literally no set of facts that would cause him to change his mind. Just like his supply-side mania. There is simply no set of facts that would ever cause him to deviate from his mantra that tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations are the cure for everything.