Thursday, April 9, 2020
Here We Go Again
This morning brought the grim news that 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. That means that in the past three weeks, more than 16 million Americans have lost their jobs.
Meanwhile, the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal loan program for companies and small businesses, is rapidly running out of the money that was initially allocated by the "Phase 3" coronavirus relief legislation Congress passed at the end of March. But there are obviously still many businesses that need help.
President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and many economists agree that it is imperative that more funds be appropriated to meet this urgent demand. Ideally, businesses won't lay off more employees if these funds are approved.
Sen. McConnell had hoped for a unanimous vote today to add an additional $250 billion to the program. On the Senate floor this morning, McConnell begged his colleagues, "Please, do not block emergency aid you do not oppose just because you want something more."
But guess who essentially told McConnell, "Over my dead body!" Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying there is no way that legislation providing money only for small businesses will pass the House. She's got a lot of other priorities that she insists must be funded too.
So, here we go again. This morning, Senate liberals blocked McConnell's simple amendment, and demanded twice as much spending on a host of progressive priorities.
This is the situation: President Trump and America's producers and entrepreneurs have every reason to move smartly and quickly with targeted funds to save this economy, while fighting the virus and aiming for a date – sooner rather than later – that Americans can get back to work.
Sadly, much of the so-called "progressive" left and their media allies seem to want to keep the economy on its back as long as possible. So they have every reason to delay and obfuscate. They have every reason to exploit this crisis as a means of passing parts of their radical agenda that would never otherwise stand a chance of passing.
The Revealing Pattern
Every day I am talking to the men and women who are part of the great miracle machine of the U.S. economy. I spoke with a car dealer the other day who told me, "Gary, we have got to get the country opened back up!"
I also have a lot of interactions with working-class people – barbers, owners of diners and the people who work there. Their comments are always the same. "This can't go on much longer," they insist. "I don't want the government sending me checks; I want to get back to work!" I am reading the same frustration in your emails every day.
At the same time, I read columns in major newspapers and hear commentators on CNN, MSNBC and CNBC. Virtually every one of them is saying, "There's no way we can even begin to think about opening things back up. And when we do, it's going to take months to reopen the economy. This is our new normal."
In the last 24 hours, I've heard a couple of billionaires suggest that we should stay closed for many more weeks, if not months.
I've noticed a difference between those who want to get back to work and those who want to delay. The ones on CNN, CNBC and MSNBC are getting paid. They could work out of their closets if they had to.
They don't produce anything. They don't create anything. They don't lift anything, they don't do anything. They just talk.
And while every talker is getting paid, millions of Americans who make a living by doing something are not getting paid.
The Growing Resistance
As more and more states attempt to crack down further on the coronavirus, more and more people are getting irritated and they are pushing back.
For example, when the governor of Michigan announced that she wanted to extend her stay-at-home order for another 70 days, she hit stiff resistance in the state legislature.
The state Senate opened its session Tuesday with the majority leader singing, "It Is Well With My Soul." Both chambers then rejected the governor's request and approved an extension for just 23 days – through the end of the month.
When the governor of Kansas issued an order prohibiting all religious gatherings of more than 10 people, she faced stiff resistance. The state attorney general disagreed and wrote that governor's order was unconstitutional. The state legislature also voted to overturn the governor's order.
I know reasonable people can disagree on this, but we should be very careful and very reluctant when it comes to closing houses of worship during "emergencies."
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam inexplicably ordered the state to shut down until June 10th. He's facing at least one lawsuit for closing churches. I have also heard from some people who have said, "This is crazy! I'm reopening my business."
The vast majority of Virginia's 8.5 million residents have been deprived of their livelihoods, while 109 people, each one a tragedy, have died from Covid-19.
By the way, a record 123 pedestrians were killed in Virginia in 2018. No one thought about issuing "stay-at-home" orders then, although I'm certain pedestrian deaths this year will be much lower.
And just think about this for a moment: The liberal governors who want to shut down churches also refuse to shut down abortion clinics. Isn't the "emergency" due to the fact that we're trying to save lives?
Abortion involves at least three people – the woman, her child, the doctor and maybe one or two assistants, all of whom are clearly violating social distancing rules. But the left is okay with that as long as one person dies.
In North Carolina recently, several pro-life activists who were following social distancing rules were arrested by the police for violating the governor's ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.
So the gathering inside the building to kill babies was okay, but the gathering outside peacefully protesting abortion was illegal.
Lastly, here's something I saw this morning that I found to be chilling. I remember seeing this once before when the coronavirus was sweeping through Wuhan. China's communist authorities were flying drones through major cities and zeroing in on anyone breaking the rules laid down by the Chinese Communist Party. The drone had a verbal warning telling individuals to return to their houses.
Talk about Big Brother and the control of a totalitarian society!
That's why it was so disheartening to see drones being used in the same way now in parts of the United States.