COVID-19 is the world’s greatest source of cognitive dissonance. We are informed by the CDC that roughly 640,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. The same agency tells us that deaths are concentrated among those who are old enough to be collecting Social Security:
Roughly 80 percent of the deaths are 65+.
We are informed by our brightest science-following minds in the media that COVID-19 has been killing people whose best years were ahead of them. Maybe the median age of a death in Maskachusetts was 82, but, absent coronavirus, those 82-year-olds being killed would have lived to 92 and, thus, collected an additional 10 more years of Social Security checks.
What happens to a financial enterprise when the obligation to send 10 years of month checks to hundreds of thousands of people goes away? “Social Security trust funds now projected to run out of money sooner than expected due to Covid, Treasury says” (CNBC, August 31, 2021):
The Social Security trust fund most Americans rely on for their retirement will run out of money in 12 years, one year sooner than expected, according to an annual government report.
The circumstances, which were exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, threaten to shrink retirement payments and increase health-care costs for Americans in old age sooner than expected.
So… our minds are supposed to simultaneously hold the following truths:
- COVID-19 kills mostly people old enough to be entitled to Social Security.
- The average old person killed by COVID-19 was healthy enough to live for at least another 5-10 years.
- Social Security will become insolvent as a result of not having to send checks to those killed by COVID-19.
Unless I am missing something obvious, the human mind is a wonderfully supple device!
- Sweden will have a lower death rate in 2020 than it had in 2010 (COVID-19 in Sweden, portrayed as a society-ending disaster by our media (including journalists in states such as MA and NY with much higher COVID-19 death rates than Sweden), apparently killed quite a few people who were on track to die in the near term from some other cause)
- COVID-19 is sure to kill you, but life insurance rates haven’t changed (COVID-19 in the U.S. has apparently killed hardly anyone who was healthy enough to pass a life insurance physical exam)