Even early last week, before restaurants were closed, before we were banned from unnecessary gatherings, when many people still had to go into their office jobs, the bars were empty on my street. I walked into one, ordered a cocktail, asked the bartender why it was so slow. It was usually slow on Tuesdays, of course, but normally there was at least one other customer. But the pandemic had already scared everyone else away, and if it continued, the bar would surely have to close.
A common trope within left-leaning American circles is to claim that the US is the only “developed” or “industrial” or “major” or “first world” country to not have X, where X is usually something like “publicly funded health care” or “government-guaranteed paid family leave” or similar. Recently this came up with Bernie Sanders and his common refrain that the US was the only “major” country to not guarantee health care as a human right.
Fiat Money When I first heard the term “fiat money,” I was in a civics class in middle school. The class was asked why money was valuable, what was the reason that people chased after it. One kid, fortunately not me, tried to look really smart by talking about how you could exchange money for gold, while I smugly smiled because I also “knew” this. But the teacher announced that this was false.