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Pandemic Costs

04/03/2021

Economists are fond of discussing “opportunity costs” or the costs of NOT doing something.  The classic example is that the cost of a new aircraft carrier is NOT a billion dollars.  The cost of a new aircraft carrier is two unbuilt hospitals and three unbuilt nursing homes, as an example.

We tend to look at the cost of the pandemic in terms of dollars spent.  However, there is another perspective.

Between February and September of 2019, some 250 thousand workers retired and started taking Social Security.  During that same period of 202o, during the pandemic, 1.1 million workers exited the workforce for Social Security.

That is about 850 thousand extra workers, who are no longer working nor paying Social Security taxes.  Instead of supporting Social Security retirees, they are now draining the Social Security fund.

850 thousand is a lot of workers . . . no longer working.

That may open some promotional opportunities for millennials, but the expertise and experience of 825 thousand boomers is worth something, which is an opportunity cost of the pandemic.

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