Democrats block progress at their peril
Democrats simply cannot help themselves. They always go overboard, even though time after time they get stung for their extremism.
Impeaching the president — spending months on a fruitless and unfair proceeding that was bound to fail — is only one of the most notable recent examples. All that bought Democrats was higher approval and record fund-raising for the president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s proposed $3 trillion liberal grab-bag masquerading as pandemic relief is another. Nobody takes that bill seriously; it only serves to outrage sensible Americans, who don’t think we should be casually letting criminals out of prison or spending millions studying the diversity of the cannabis industry.
But few crusades seem more idiotic and self-defeating than trying to keep the economy under wraps, which Democratic officials and their media allies are trying to do. We get it; soaring unemployment and continuing misery hurts President Trump’s reelection prospects.
But at the same time, 40 percent of low-income Americans have lost their jobs, entire industries are on the verge of collapse and tens of thousands of small-business owners are watching their nest eggs and dreams go up in smoke.
Plus, the collateral damage to Americans is hideous. Millions have foregone medical treatments and check-ups. In addition, Well Being Trust, a national public health group, has recently warned that the isolation and fear brought on by the virus could lead to increased alcohol or drug abuse, resulting in 75,000 deaths.
And our children are not in school.
Democrats think this is good?
In some parts of the country, it makes sense to go slow. New York City’s rebound, for instance, is hampered by its dependence on mass transit and density.
But in some states, the reasons for continuing under lockdown are less clear; local officials appear to be playing god. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who zoomed across the political Milky Way as a possible running mate for Joe Biden, has flamed out as she has issued idiotic and seemingly whimsical edicts, angering the people (voters!) of her state.
The most recent story out of the Wolverine State involves Karl Manke, a barber who had the temerity to reopen his shop on May 5 in defiance of Whitmer’s orders. As a result, Manke’s license has been suspended. The 77-year-old Manke, who decried Whitmer’s “police state tactics” and said he could no longer afford to stay closed, has become something of a local hero to those in Michigan who are rebelling against the governor’s stay-at-home orders.
Elon Musk made headlines recently when he resumed production at his Tesla manufacturing plant in California, defying the authorities of Alameda County. He filed a lawsuit against the restrictions that had shut down his Fremont factory and threatened to move his operation out of California — probably the sanest thing Musk has considered in many moons.
And in Los Angeles, the mayor has had to backtrack from the confusing orders issued recently by local health officials mandating that the lockdown stay in place for a least three more months.
These battles over reopening are making headlines all across the country. It seems absurd. Surely the fact that 40 percent of U.S. counties have had not a single death from COVID-19 should make media types clustered in New York and D.C. recognize that there’s a big country out there not much impacted by the virus, and that a top-down prescription is not the right approach.
Democrats seem to think they will score points by posing as the realists in the crowd, the authorities who follow the science and guide people to safety.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes that the demonstrations against the lockdowns in some states “appear to have been organized in part by the same people and groups that have spent decades denying climate change.” He writes that Republicans are ignoring the “experts” and that efforts to bring the economy back to life could backfire.
Which experts? Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who early on said as many as 2 million Americans might die from the virus, but later said it might be 200,000 and then again 60,000? Or Nobel Laureate and lockdown skeptic Michael Levitt? Or Dr. Scott Atlas, who says the fatality rate of COVID-19 is probably much lower than we think?
There’s a lot we still don’t know about the virus; there are a lot of opinions.
Krugman writes of “virus denial,” but nothing could be farther from the truth. Trying to navigate a path to reopening is not in any way denying the pandemic, but rather trying to manage around it. We could all sit in our homes until the end of time and confidently avoid COVID-19, but we would starve to death as we did so.
Common sense has never been a hallmark of the left, but it has rarely been less in evidence than today. Common sense dictates that we cannot let economic activity continue at current levels. The damage would impair our country and our children for a decade. Common sense also suggests that if every other country in the world is reopening, we should too.
Marty Makary, professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins, published a piece in the New York Times about “How to Reopen America Safely.” It includes guidelines such as wearing masks, spending more time outside, adapting business practices to protect people in stores and offices and “safeguarding nursing homes” and “protecting those at high risk.”
These are basically the fundamentals that every state has adopted as it lifts stay-at-home restrictions. They allow people to reengage in their lives as they see fit. Not everyone will want to venture out, go to restaurants or go to work. Not everyone should.
Ultimately, people will choose the path best for themselves; that’s called freedom. That’s what Americans want.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.