By Rick Manning
Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” and this sentiment is particularly pertinent to these times of state lockdowns and social distancing as our nation seeks to stop our medical systems from being overrun by the Chinese virus.
And while short-term prudence is wise and even necessary, the battle to reopen the country is going to be difficult, as those who are using fear to shut down our economy are not going to allow capitalism to be restored easily.
President Trump’s simple mention of April 12, Easter Sunday, as a date that he is aiming at for life to return to normal for most of the United States was met by collective howls from those who apparently want to be certain that there is no risk from the Chinese virus or apparently any other disease before we can resume life.
Let me be clear. It is immoral to deny Americans life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At some point, in the near future, the mass production of masks by companies like 3M and Haines will ensure that they are not only plentiful in the hospitals but on store shelves, and the human trials on the dosage and efficacy of the Chloroquine and other already approved drugs on the virus will yield effective treatments and production will roll forward here in America. Ford and General Motors will have ramped up the production of sufficient numbers of ventilators that every hospital will have what they need, and as hot spots crop up, those increased needs will be met.
This is not a dream, but the reality of what is occurring right now due to the aggressive mobilization of our private sector to defeat the virus. And this reality is taking hold very rapidly.
The $2.2 trillion Senate and soon to be House passed bill is designed as a safety net for both the American people and the businesses shuttered and damaged by the health emergency and the need for social distancing.
The ideal scenario is for most of that money to not be needed because we have returned to work. As much of the enormous spending spree is for items like food stamps, unemployment and low-interest, forgivable loans to keep small business afloat, the sooner we can get much of our economy back to work, the fewer of those dollars will need to be spent.
Unfortunately, Senate Republicans and the Trump administration’s lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made one critical mistake in the legislation and then refused to amend it last night. That mistake was to make unemployment more profitable than actual work for employees who make less than $12 an hour. The abiding principle of our unemployment and welfare systems is that it should never be profitable to not work, but in one fell swoop, the Senate bill eviscerates that guiding idea.
In spite of allowing the left to incentivize government dependency, in states where governors move ahead to turn the economic spigot back on, the demand for labor will be strong as the pent up energy and quite honestly, much of the additional wealth accumulated by a vast majority of employees who remained on payrolls while working from home or maintaining their work schedule will be spent as small business reopens, providing a consumer driven stimulus to nearly starving businesses.
But what about those businesses? Americans for Limited Government has around 62 video testimonies from small business leaders begging for the economy to be reopened. Many flatly state that they cannot meet payrolls in two weeks, and that they will go under if the economy is not immediately reopened.
Losing these homebuilders, car detailers, community health clinics and tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of small businesses throughout our nation will create a massive hole in our economy, ensuring that double digit unemployment returns for the foreseeable future. It also sets the precedent that the federal and state governments can destroy our free market system when a crisis warrants it and few will object.
Don’t think the Green New Deal socialists aren’t watching this health emergency trial run and licking their chops. After all, they believe that the entire fate of the world depends upon shutting down industrialized America, and the example being set today will be used as their precedent for the future, as they seek to institutionalize the primacy of government over the means of production.
America needs to get back to work. The President has set Easter as a target date, and let’s hope that our nation’s small businesses can survive until then so we don’t have a Chinese virus hole in our nation’s economy for the decade to come.