The coronavirus pandemic is devastating our society on more levels than I can comprehend. However, the great American mindset is that of overcoming. I am putting the squeeze on that lemon virus and believe I will eventually be getting lemonade.
“Wow Papa Hutch, this is fun!” so retorted my grandson River after our home school reading and life lesson from the book, “7 Habits of Happy Kids.” My prediction is that the coronavirus will push parents to be more proactive in their children’s education and spin out more “homeschool” education.
So, what is my take on a broader scale of the catastrophic impact of coronavirus on America? My analysis may have been influenced by the great philosopher Charlie Brown and sociologists Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Therefore, I suggest my prognostications should not be taken seriously.
Economics: The war on coronavirus has been equated to WWII. I disagree. Our war effort of 1941-45 required all available people to work. It propelled millions of women into the work force and created a booming economy. Conversely, the virus has home-confined us and made economic growth nosedive. Some believe it will trigger a recession or even a depression. Whatever the short-term affect, in the long-term, the economy will recover and grow. It always has and will again.
Technology: Advances in technology with information systems will leapfrog. People who previously did not use advanced communication will now be forced into the information age. Working from home is becoming the norm.
Health Care: Government and business are working together. By that concerted power, we will learn more about the sinister coronavirus, its vulnerabilities and produce effective measures and medicines.
Government: Gigantic threats against America have always produced bigger government control, a.k.a. the great depression, WWII, coronavirus.
Business: Those businesses from single proprietors to mega corporations will adjust rapidly. If not, a sign on the door will say, “closed.” However, our adaptive free enterprise and the American entrepreneurial genius will prevail.
Home ownership: Governments and lending institutions must show leniency to prevent bankruptcies. House prices in large cities such as where I live in Dallas-Fort Worth will decline.
Politics: We are a divided nation mainly on political lines. Now is the time to forget attacks and defensiveness. We must promote unity across ideological, cultural and economic levels. We will win the battle only as we unite.
Business: Car factories are vacant, airplanes idled, city restaurants empty, streets and shops barren. Industry is grinding to a halt. The New York Times said, “It is lights out except for the service industry.” Yet industry is retooling to produce facemasks, ventilators, disinfectants, test equipment and weapons against the virus. Online services such as Amazon, in tandem with UPS, Fed Ex and XPO, will have a “bumper crop” business. Reduction of transportation will continue to reduce gas prices and it will take months to consume the increased reserves.
National debt: Our debt is about $23.2 trillion. My guess is roughly two trillion will be added because of the virus war.
Personal finances: We have been schooled for years to have a six-month reserve in liquid savings. Now we know why. I believe we will learn our lesson, tighten our belts and after virus recovery be better money managers.
Mental Health: The predictions are for a ramp-up of self-or forced isolation, which will cause loneliness, fear and anxiety. However, I think this is an opportunity to bond with family, rebirth old fashioned letter writing and utilize social media to connect with friends. I personally am endeavoring to reconnect with my Presho High class of ’58.
Patriotism: We show our loyalty and pride by honoring the armed forces. We will also ramp up our respect, admiration and appreciation for health care workers. Service people will gain in appreciation.
Faith: We will become less dependent on our own invincibility, realize our frailty and become more open to spiritual help. Materialism will become less important as we cultivate our faith in Divine help to overcome the virus pandemic.
Final observation: The New York Times wrote, “The virus does not survive on cardboard surface for very long.” To that, I add, “The good news is that the newspaper you now hold in your hand does not support viruses.”
Travis Hutchison is a retired rancher, farmer and minister. He lives in Texas.