Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Bad ideas!

Extract from an email that I’ve received about Grattan’s bad report

This extract is self-explanatory.

==EXTRACT==

Seeing my fellow Victorians in collective delusion has been very upsetting. I am ‘on the left’ and often am scared to speak.

The misuse of agent based modelling, throwing around terms like ‘the science says’ and backing it up with ‘this super computer has a fair bit of grunt’ has infuriated me.

One thing that really troubled me was that the Grattan Institute ‘Towards COVID zero report’ (https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Go-for-zero-how-Australia-can-get-to-zero-COVID-19-cases-Grattan-Report.pdf page 20) ignored local mental health hotline effects and instead turned to google search trends indicating affect from other countries to conclude that “They find that the pandemic and spread of COVID-19 has a clear negative impact on mental health in the UK, but the introduction of restrictions and controls was associated with a rebound in mental wellbeing.”

The reliance on top down data to justify personal bias is out of control. The agent based model is a joke. It’s great for understanding how systems impact on each other, or perhaps for prediction where you have a few flu seasons worth of data in context. Or perhaps if you are modelling something like bee migration. But to set thresholds for the country?

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An email sent to Liam Mannix by a reader re: his CRAZY WRONG article, “lockdowns are a ‘no brainer'”

This article by Liam is as mad as any that you can get: Numbers show lockdowns are a ‘no brainer’. Letting people die isn’t

Liam did not respond to a reader who sent him the following email:

====EMAIL SENT TO HIM BY A READER==

Hi Liam

I just finished reading your article Numbers show lockdowns are a ‘no brainer’. Letting people die isn’t which raised a couple of questions – I was hoping you could shed some light.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/numbers-show-lockdowns-are-a-no-brainer-letting-people-die-isn-t-20200922-p55y3z.html

1. The virus does seem to pose long-term health risks to even the young and healthy, but we won’t truly know what those are for years.

The CDC estimates the virus has an infection fatality ratio in the US of 0.02% (1 in 5,000) for those aged 20 – 49 and 0.003% (1 in 33,000) for those aged 0 – 19.  We also know that most people dying with the virus have chronic health issues.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html

It is clear that people aged under 50 have close to zero chance of dying with the virus (let alone because of it) so I would be surprised if it posed long term health risks to people in this demographic.  If you could send through evidence supporting your finding it would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Their model compared the cost of no lockdown with a hard, early lockdown.  Economically, a hard eight-week lockdown brings a $51.98 billion hit to the economy, plus extra costs as the economy returns to normal.

The modellers do not mention any increase in government debt resulting from the lockdown measures.  The Parliamentary Budget Office estimates this will be around $500 billion to $620 billion over the next decade at a federal level.  This does not include any increase in state debts or take into account all the businesses and jobs destroyed as a result of the lockdowns (many will never recover).

It is important to take into account the significant increase in government debt which will need to be repaid by future generations.  This will result in them having to accept a lower standard of government services such as education and healthcare for decades to come for a virus which poses little if not zero risk to them.

https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/virus-blows-out-debt-by-more-than-500b-20200605-p54zrp

In addition, the modellers have assumed an 8 week lockdown whereas Victoria has been locked down for 7 months and counting.

2. The model assigns a value of $4.9 million to a full life – a figure estimated by Australian government bureaucrats using surveys on how much people are willing to pay to cut their risk of death or injury. Lives over the age of 70 are discounted by 30 per cent.

The average age of those dying with the virus is around 85 in Australia – the vast majority are in nursing homes and have chronic health issues.  It is worth noting that most residents entering aged care will die within 3 years. In addition, the life expectancy of a child born today is around 82 which is younger than the average age of those dying with Covid.

I have no objection to the $4.9 million figure used for a full life value as this aligns with the life expectancy of a child born today and the value our government assigns to a single year of life.  However I was shocked to read that the modellers discounted the value of life for anyone over 70 by just 30% as compared to a healthy child who has their whole life ahead of them.

In my opinion it makes much more sense to put a value on each year of life.  Let’s split the difference on the $50,000 – $85,000 range you quoted and make it $70,000 per year.  This is a simple figure which assumes the value of a year of life is the same for the old and sick as compared with the young and healthy.

3. Using that number, a no-lockdown strategy would lead to the deaths of between 18,000 and 25,000 people.

If you apply the death rate of Sweden (which mismanaged aged care early on) to the population of Australia, you would get to around 14,500 deaths.  Given they did apply some minor lockdown measures, let’s assume the lower rate of 18,000 lives saved compared with no lockdown measures.

This figure does not include additional deaths (for example delayed diagnosis) or significant mental health issues resulting from the lockdown measures.

4. Translate that into a cost per life and you get between $62 billion and $86 billion.

Even if you take these figures face value, the value of life saved is much lower than the cost to the federal government as highlighted above ($500 – $620 billion cost versus $62 – $86 billion benefit).

However I suggest another approach to the cost benefit equation where 18,000 people (majority in aged care) have their lives extended by a conservative figure – say 3 years.  That would result in a total of 54,000 years of life saved for these people (the benefit).

So what is the cost of each year of life saved?  Divide $500 – $620 billion by 54,000 to get to about $9 – $11 million per year.  Big numbers indeed – and about 150 times the $70,000 level accepted by the federal government.  Another way to look at it; one year of life saved from Covid costs twice as much as the $4.9 million value assigned to a full life.  This does not include a range of other costs such as increased state debt, destruction of small business and jobs, health issues resulting from delayed medical diagnosis, increased mental health issues and general loss of freedoms for society as a whole.

5. “It makes it almost a no-brainer to pursue a hard suppression policy.”

As the closing comment on your article, I assume this is your preferred conclusion in regards to the significant lockdown measures we are being forced to endure.  The premise being that the $51.98 billion cost highlighted in the modelling is less than the $62 – $86 billion value of life saved.

The points made above argue that pursuing a hard suppression (elimination) strategy is far from being a ‘no-brainer’.

I might be wrong and would appreciate any feedback or corrections to my comments.

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The writing is on the wall, Daniel Andrews. Go now! The people have had it to their neck

I’ve compiled key comments from the Current Affairs FB page on the program that aired last night (I’ve deleted a few truly stupid comments from pro-lockdowners – the selfish brats who don’t care a bit for anyone else)

Thanks for showing some truth FINALLY ACA. I have to admit I stopped watching your programme some years ago. Thanks Sanjeev for your stand for Victoria: It will not be forgotten.

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Totally agree) I have been stating for months here in Canada that it will be noted in the years to come that lockdown of an ENTIRE country nearly destroyed our economy- maybe it already has. Lel us not forget that people with the monetary means have p… See More

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I am trying not to make any comments but I am so stressed and depressed and mentally sick and And and I hate Labour Party even I hate myself why I didn’t die before march or April! I could have RIP nicely but now even in the grave I hate this inhuman rules of this government.

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Smith We have been in lockdown for 7 months . Please don’t down play what is happening in this state

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You must make a stand and open. Small business must Rot agree with government. They are very wrong. You must all open like Harry’s menswear You must use your awn initiative & be courageous.

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End it why do our dying need to die alone. End it and take precautions instead! Cruel

Good on you * for speaking out Victoria and Melbourne are the worst place to be! This evil dictator needs to be removed!

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I seriously worm about Dans mental health. At first he was trying to do what he thought was best but now he is obsessed He is obsessed with the impossible dream of eradicating this virus, he is obsessed with controlling the people he Governs.
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surprise here with Dan the Man’s own team having had a gutful of him, as the Assistant said ”show us the real reasoning behind our 5k lockdown” and of course Dan the Man will make up another excuse in his 1,000,000,000,0000 speech tomorrow

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Thank you Sargie, for your honesty. I cant wait to read it and it movie. Thank you so much for your integrity.

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Good on himt I will certainly be interested in his book

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Time for new laws to convict positive tested selfish spreaders and even harsher sentences if they don’t co operate instead of always the easy way punishing the law abiding citizens, This management of this pandemic is a 1000 times worse

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Isn’t anyone wondering, why Dan won’t bring down the kickdowns. Danis dearly doing his bear to get numbers, most are fake, test is fake, nurses being paid to change death certificates from suicides to Covid, is fake, …Dan is deliberately

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Good luck to dan Andrews thinking he will be able to live a normal life and be able to walk down a street in peace after this ….Ruined that many businesses in he’s process and added pressure on families

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To be in lock down for that amount of time will affect so many peoples mental health. There are people in Queensland with anxiety now that have never had it before, and Queensland has never had the numbers Victoria has had. They are doing mare harm tha

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Finally, a bit of honest reporting. You’re a bit slow on the uptake, though, ACA.

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Finally someone has a few brain cells over there. But you all would be fools to go with contact -tracing! They now say lockdowns, masks, social distancing, the 3-10% mortality rate, were all the wrong way to handle this…so after contact tracing is in

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Dictator Dan isn’t human

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I thought this harsh lockdown was going to be 6 weeks?!

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Dictator dan is owned by the Chinese government!

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PI some one can give DA hair cut & send him back to the college to learn more. Melburnians pl kick this Clown out, He let his state & country dawn . Any lockdown is no good yspecially for this long. DA should get a award for the Clown of Victoria.

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The comprehension of Australians is concerning. If the unwell just stayed home then we would be all free to live life as normal

It’s not that hard to understand

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Why can’t restaurants open at 25% capacity? And then open a open by appt only? And gradually open all The way?

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yes time to end A and live with it If you fear it stay indoors.

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Just lock down and just hurting everybody financially physically you are killing the sick it is so you want to do it on purpose the cold down the population wake up

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Dan Andrews wants to be the first person in the world in history to eradicate covid-19 but he’s not going to do that its impossible we need to open up again

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What did Victorians expect with Dopey Dan at the helm who is driving Victoria into a brick wall.

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Victorians get out if hiding and open up victora.

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I know tourism company is going after andrews as well tourism australia is not spending our tourism in via

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What’s the use of having a Prime Minister if he has no seniority over Dictator Dan?

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How much longer until you guys go to the polls down there? I feel for you . We’re pretty lucky up here in North Queensland

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Should cut their wages like their doing to everyone else and see how much things

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Melbourne AUSTRALIA- was a fantastic City ,tif…now, a broken-down ghost town full of closed or “hanging by a thread” businesses and forlorn citizens w …all thanks to a deranged flog of a Premier II and his lying, crooked minions di

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If this is not dictatorship, what th

 

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Summary of W.H.O. guidelines that the criminal Tedros is breaching. This communist Ethiopian wants to bring the West to its knees.

THIS CRIMINAL IS BREACHING ALL THESE W.H.O. GUIDELINES.

Source: WHO’s October 2019 guidelines: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/329438/9789241516839-eng.pdf?ua=1

 

 

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