July 10, 2024

China Owes Us $18 Trillion for COVID

A “seismic” nonpartisan report on China’s responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic aims to hold the communist nation severely accountable.

There’s no telling how much our nation’s flailing and variously bungled response to the COVID-19 pandemic cost us.

No telling. Not in terms of those many thousands who died afraid and alone, deprived of familial comfort in their final hours of life. Or those millions of young people who were emotionally wrecked by being locked out of their classrooms for months on end, and for no good reason. Or all those small business owners whose American dreams were locked down and ultimately crushed. Or those thousands of patriots whose promising military careers were cut short because they stood strong for bodily autonomy and refused to be guinea pigs for an experimental vaccine. Or those intrepid few who were silenced and ostracized for speaking out against the madness. Or those otherwise healthy Americans, most of them boys and young men, who may be permanently plagued by vaccine-linked myocarditis. Or those among us who’ve been disfigured both physically and psychologically by that infernal facial mask, somehow still believing that a storm fence can stop a mosquito. Or the deep and perhaps permanent distrust that was sown between the American people and their government, which wielded “The Science” like a cudgel and repeatedly lied to them.

There’s no telling.

But we are learning more about the financial costs of COVID. Indeed, a new report from The Heritage Foundation’s Nonpartisan Commission on China and COVID-19 puts the price tag at $18 trillion in economic losses. As Fox Business reports, “That figure includes more than $8.6 trillion caused by excess deaths; more than $1.825 trillion in lost income; $6 trillion due to chronic conditions such as ‘long COVID’; and mental health losses of $1 trillion and educational losses of $435 billion pushed the total above $18 trillion.”

These days, we blithely throw around the term “trillion” without giving it much thought. But consider: a trillion seconds is 32,000 years. And a trillion one-dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch past the sun. Now multiply that by 18, and you’ll get a sense of the enormity of the economic damage wrought by the pandemic.

The commission is chaired by former federal prosecutor, former congressman, and former director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe — who, as an aside, would make a great attorney general in a new Trump administration. It also includes a nonpartisan array of nine highly regarded members from the fields of academia, intelligence, law, medicine, and national security.

As the report’s commission put it, “By understanding and acknowledging these costs, we can lay the groundwork for holding accountable those whose negligence or overt actions exacerbated the pandemic’s severity.”

The commission pins primary responsibility for the COVID pandemic right where it belongs: on the Communist Chinese government. It also puts the staggering global COVID-19 death toll at more than 38 million, with more than one million in the United States alone. Among its recommendations:

To hold China accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission proposes Congress to pass a single paragraph amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) granting U.S. federal courts jurisdiction over cases where injured American citizens are seeking monetary damages against a foreign state; when that state has through malfeasance negligence sparked a global pandemic leading to more a million excess deaths in the United States;

The commission also recommends establishing a bipartisan US national COVID-19 commission and China reparation task force, requiring a stringent national security review of all scientific collaborations with China, amending US export control laws, demanding a comprehensive and unfettered scientific and forensic investigation into COVID-19 origins in China, and other measures.

When it comes to accountability, though, the devil is in the details. Writing a joint op-ed, Ratcliffe and former National Security Council and State Department official Jamie Metzl, a Democrat, suggest that Congress can fix the accountability problem “with a single-paragraph amendment to the FSIA [Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act],” adding that “Republicans and Democrats should work together to ensure that U.S. federal courts are granted jurisdiction over cases where injured American citizens are seeking monetary damages against a foreign state.”

They list three reasons for amending the FSIA: “First, it would give teeth to ongoing American and international efforts exploring the pandemic’s origins that the CCP is currently impeding. Second, it would remind China that misleading the world comes with a cost. Third, and most important, it would establish a precedent encouraging all countries to respond to pathogenic outbreaks with transparency and accountability.”

So far, China has utterly skirted responsibility for the pandemic it unleashed. If the United States can’t lead the rest of the world toward a demand for accountability, then we’ve forfeited our status as the indispensable nation.

In any case, it sounds like China owes us $18 trillion.

UPDATED to include more detailed information on the causal connection between the mRNA vaccine and myocarditis in young men.

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