Coronavirus Humor Part 3

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by Dan Mitchell

Until the crisis is over, I plan on sharing coronavirus-themed humor every weekend (previous versions here and here).

We’ll start with a meme that actually does a very good job of capturing the reaction when economists explain that there’s a tradeoff between economic damage and lives saved.

The Remy video at the bottom of this column is even better, if you like satire about saving lives.

Speaking of satire, the Babylon Bee has supplanted the Onion as the go-to site for clever humor.

This story about politicians saving the lives of government programs is a good example of why that’s happened.

America’s heroic lawmakers have managed to come together and pass a stimulus package to save the world from the effects of the coronavirus. A grateful country full of very stimulated Americans is applauding the lifesaving efforts of Congress. Already, experts are predicting the stimulus package will save the lives of at least 85,000 government programs. …”We believe that every government program’s life is infinitely precious and is made in the image of its lobbyist,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “We know that if spending two trillion dollars saves the life of at least one beautiful and valuable government program, it is worth it.” …Thanks to the leadership of Washington, Americans everywhere are learning to appreciate the infinite worth of every lawmaker’s pet project. Experts believe this may mean a greater cultural shift toward a country that deeply respects life (of government programs.)

Here’s an amusing image based on the utterly inane fight over the name of the virus.

There have been plenty of clever memes involving toilet paper in recent weeks, but I’m only sharing examples that somehow intersect with public policy.

This is the first example – given the libertarian interest in cryptocurrency – that satisfies that requirement.

We’ll close with my two favorite selections for today.

First, we have another story from Babylon Bee, this one focusing on New York’s reflexive answer for just about everything.

New York state has announced a new plan to raise taxes on the novel coronavirus. The 15% income tax on all COVID-19 viruses, coupled with an 8% luxury disease tax, is expected to generate significant revenue and stop the virus in its tracks. …”We thought about all the different ways to solve problems that we know of, and we just returned to the tried-and-true method: taxing something until it runs away,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “This new legislation will cause the virus to run away and go to those dumb, backward Southern states not smart enough to have a special coronavirus tax.” …The plan seemed to work almost immediately, with coronaviruses packing up their bags, renting U-Hauls, and moving to better states like Texas. Texas has unveiled its own plan to stop the bug, however, shooting the virus with fully automatic weapons on sight.

The last sentence reminds me of other jokes involving Texans and firearms (hereherehere, and here).

Our last item for today is this image, showing ever-greater threats, from my Liberland friends.

The image is amusing, but there’s presumably a non-trivial threat that politicians will grab more power as a result of the crisis and permanently expand the burden of government.

That will mean lots of suffering and hardship, but the silver lining to that dark cloud is that we’ll surely get plenty of new material to add to my collection.

by Dan Mitchell
Daniel J. Mitchell is a public policy economist in Washington. He’s been a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, an economist for Senator Bob Packwood and the Senate Finance Committee, and a Director of Tax and Budget Policy at Citizens for a Sound Economy. His articles can be found in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, and Washington Times. Mitchell holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. Original article can be viewed here.