“Slowing the Curve” for the Greater Good
Social distancing is what we are all asked to embrace and adhere to for the greater good.
What started with the public courtesy of the 6-foot rule has turned into street patrol by the National Guard, home arrest for nearly 330 million Americans, and untold trillions of dollars in bailouts.
But what is the opportunity cost of such actions by our government? What is the opportunity cost to us as mothers, fathers, entrepreneurs, employees, and dog owners?
These are the questions I ponder as I lie awake in bed each night.
As I kiss my beautiful children, my husband, and two Mastiffs goodnight, I pray for a solution. A better tomorrow.
Changing Life with Hip Dysplasia
What I thought was a partial canine cruciate ligament (CCL) tear was actually “Bi-lateral hip dysplasia, more severe on the left.”
In the last two weeks, I have gone through a range of emotions about Junior’s diagnosis, none of which are positive.
My heart breaks for him.
But here is the cold hard truth you may not want to hear.
I have to make choices now. I am being forced to make choices.
The social distancing mandate, “stay at home” orders, and the prospect of complete and utter financial ruin is forcing me to make choices for myself, my family, and my dogs.
Let’s walk through some of them…
Opportunity Cost Defined
Let’s start with what an opportunity cost is.
According to Inc.com,
“The concept of opportunity cost may be applied to many different situations. It should be considered whenever circumstances are such that scarcity necessitates the election of one option over another. Opportunity cost is usually defined in terms of money, but it may also be considered in terms of time, person-hours, mechanical output, or any other finite resource.”
Put simply, the opportunity cost is the value of the alternative option you’ve given up after making a choice.
For instance, the opportunity cost of buying an expensive car would be the money you could have spent on a summer vacation, investing in retirement, putting money away for your child’s education or something else.
Opportunity Cost of Social Distancing
Beyond the obvious sacrifices we are making, what else will we not be doing now or in the future should these policies continue? As “flattening the curve” becomes “not until a vaccine” for the next 18 months.
- Elective surgery for hip dysplasia will be low on the priority list compared with food, housing, and other necessities.
- Preventive healthcare for families and pets will be second to food, housing and the basic needs of life. Some emergencies will also be dismissed to save money.
- Quantity versus quality of nutrition will be a continuous balance with finite financial resources. Organic will become a luxury most families will not justify.
- There will be no petty cash or miscellaneous category in the family budget. Family beach vacations will become fun days in the park as money will need to be saved for food, housing, and other necessities.
- Families will be forced to choose between feeding their family or feeding their pets. If you want to see a dog rescue crisis, just wait! If dog owners are forced to choose between their children or their dogs. Dogs will lose.
- Rather than spending time investing, planning our future, and contributing to making our country better, we will be forced to stand in bread lines like in the 1930s. Only this time we will be standing in line for toilet paper and eggs.
Consider that each one of these decisions comes with ramifications.
When we make the choice to put off preventive healthcare, elective surgeries, or other non-life sustaining treatments for ourselves or our pets, that hurts general and specialty physicians, veterinarians, pharmacies, and countless others whose livelihoods depend on us.
And what is seemingly a trivial choice to some – raw food or kibble for our dogs is a decision that, too, has far-reaching consequences. From the raw-food co-op and employees who are now out of business to the hundreds of premium pet foods who also lose or go out of business.
Service providers of all kinds will join the ranks in the unemployment lines as families choose to groom their own dogs, cut their own lawns, and even trim their own hair.
These are the facts.
You can dispute them now, but the reality of opportunity costs of social distancing is fast approaching.
This is a choice we are making right now if we don’t stand up!
Public Policy NOT Science
I know many of you are screaming at me right now,
“This is a pandemic! A virus that has never been seen before! And it’s spreading exponentially! We must “slow the curve!”
Settle down and take a breath.
First, I must say I find it ironic how the “every life matters” mantra only matters when social distancing is the means to an end. I don’t recall those cries with each of the near 50,000 deaths from flu over the last 8 months.
Data as of March 22 show a declining less than 1% death rate among those who are tested for COVID-19. And while the number of people being tested, and testing positive, is increasing, the rate of serious complications and death are very, very low.
However, there is a larger point that needs addressing.
As you sit and pick and choose winners and losers in this pandemic, consider who really is losing and at what cost.
Businesses that make up the backbone of our economy are going under. Life savings of senior citizens are being wiped out without the luxury of time and dollar-cost averaging.
My father is 70. A retired Army pilot and war hero. He served his country with honor and courage and patriotism, like so many his age.
For reasons beyond just his age, my dad is the epitome of the “greater good” we are trying to protect from COVID-19.
And trust me. There is no one on this earth who wants to protect him more than me!
But when I asked him what scares him most about the coronavirus and the public policy steps that are being taken right now, here is what he had to say,
“Sweetie, I am not afraid. I have my faith in God and know that I am in His hands. However, if the flight school closes and I lose my job, that is when real fear will set in. I do not want government money. I want to do the work I love.”
We have days, not weeks before families like mine will be forced to make heartbreaking choices.
Whether this means putting off life-saving surgery for hip dysplasia or simply not supporting local small businesses like dog groomers, restaurants, landscapers, and karate dojos.
And while Democrats and Republicans bicker about whose package is bigger, 330 million Americans suffer in isolation unnecessarily in their homes.
Social distancing flies in the face of everything we are as Americans.
We built this country together. With hard work, handshakes, and integrity.
We may wear gloves on our hands, but we will never shy from a challenge.
And we don’t have to destroy America to do it!Social distancing flies in the face of everything we are as Americans. We built this country together. With hard work, handshakes, and integrity.