The Corona Crisis – Reopen the Economy 

By Tim Aalders / Candidate for Utah’s Congressional District 3 / April 15, 2020

Publisher’s Note: Tim Aalders is challenging incumbent John Curtis to represent our state in the U.S. Congress. Tim has received my endorsement and that of Utah Standard News. We are among many who appreciate Tim’s bold and resolute stance for Constitutional principles. He is a good man with a good heart who understands the intent of our Founders and will govern as such. He also does not have a wandering and sordid history. Utah has a rare opportunity this year to drain the swamp on all levels of our government, including CD3. Electing Tim will certainly do that. – Ed Wallace

Related USN Articles: 0.00003163556% Death Rate May Shut Utah Down.

Humor for Hard Times: Covid-19

SOS: Save Our Sanity, NOW. COVID-19 HUMOR for Hard Times, Part B

Commentary

It has been decades since our country has been presented with a challenge like the current COVID-19 pandemic. After a tumultuous month living under COVID-19, the one common factor that influenced many people into their choices was fear. Our policy-makers must approach this challenge head-on in a calm manner and with humility because their best-laid plans often go astray even when they are calm. We have sympathy for those infected with this new virus but what we are doing to ease fear is possibly more dangerous than the virus itself.

It is painfully obvious that we are nowhere near the end of this event. Each day, we hear reports on how bad things are and how much worse they could become. It’s up to us to determine how we will respond and how our leaders work with or against each other, and if their interests lie with the American people or special interests.

Certainly, there are things that we want our government to do as we face contagion and an economic washout. At times like this, the growth of the state is mostly inevitable but they do not have a blank check to expand their authority. Under no circumstances should our lawmakers use these hard times as an excuse to suspend or set aside the Constitution, to suspend Americans’ civil liberties, to weaken the rule of law, or enslave future generations with debt.

All extraordinary public health efforts as well as targeted and temporary measures to ease the negative economic effects must end when the crisis ends and all emergency legislation must have sunset clauses included. We must ensure that every singular policy we enact today will not become a danger to us tomorrow. Unfortunately, the government is usually reluctant to give up its newly acquired powers after a crisis is over.

There are already ominous indicators warning us that history is repeating itself. The extraordinary $2.2 trillion economic‐​relief package that Congress passed misses the mark. The package bailouts favor specific industries and picks winners and losers as well as politically important groups such as farmers. In essence, Congress exploited this crisis by bailing out special interests and giving favors to achieve policy changes completely unrelated to the COVID-10 pandemic.

Much of the bailout aid comes attached with new regulations that allow the government to micromanage business operations and become a shareholder in some including the airlines. 

Federal spending WILL NOT stimulate demand during a period of wholesale shutdowns and diminished supply stocks.

Instead, the government should be focusing on removing regulatory and trade barriers while allowing the private-sector responses to be more flexible.

The best thing the government can do is get out of the way. Most politicians will find this reality hard to face because they honestly believe that the right policy adjustments can solve everybody’s problems. It is not the government’s place to decide what aspects of our lives are essential or nonessential.

President Trump has not, so far, transgressed his constitutional authority. Neither has the overwhelming majority of state and local officials. But, there is the obvious danger that thousands of small and large authoritarians present more risk than the coronavirus as they flex their muscles across our country. Some tell us that the emergency caused by the COVID-19 virus is justification for canceling the Constitution. Have they forgotten the “emergency” our country was in when the Constitution was written and adopted?  

Did our founders forget to add an 11th Amendment to the Bill of Rights that says, “Oh, by the way, none of this counts if we get sick”? Of course not!

So far, there are only a small handful of local officials that have enacted despotic measures, or “totalitarian impulses”,  that may be infringing on our constitutional rights. In the end, the political class will gain and the people will lose. Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own safety and well being. A fearful population that calls for the government to rescue them would have warmed Stalin’s heart.

It is insane to rely on government bureaucracy. A few cases in point: People can’t attend church but abortion clinics are considered essential: In NV, health food stores must close but liquor stores can remain open: In UT, you can get your nails done but hair salons are hazardous. Now, we are hearing reports about what government is allowing stores to sell.

The states have broad police powers under the 10th Amendment to enforce order and regulate behavior within their territory to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of their inhabitants. Most are utilizing the police powers given by their state constitutions to protect their citizens from a very real public health crisis. 

To his tremendous credit, Governor Herbert has resisted the tide of officials ordering shelter-in-place directives and lockdowns. Utah is one of five states that does not have a shutdown order in place. Utahns still have the right to think locally out of self-preservation in this crisis

The calls for more bureaucracy and more regulations will continue. Afterward, there will be accusations and recriminations. Thankfully, there are thousands of people doing what people have always done: cooperating and caring for each other. 

Every story we tell, in hard and easy times, is one about the cooperative or coercive ways of human nature. A minimum level of coercion is necessary, just as government itself is necessary. But let us not fall into the trap of confusing government with a civil society. As Tom Paine said in Common Sense in 1776: “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil. . . . Government, dress, is the badge of lost innocence.”

It’s time for each of us to decide if we want to remain free-born citizens or wards of the state. How many of your freedoms are willing to lose?

“Watch closely, and be vigilant towards the cause of liberty. Don’t be a sunshine patriot, only sharing in the joys of great times. Be the patriots who founded our nation – cold, with frozen feet, and with little hope, and that hope coming from God. You will carry your families and your communities through these difficult times with that “founding father” attitude. Pledge your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor to the preservation of liberty, freedom, and American principles.”– PC

 OPEN THE MARKET

We are well on our way to a worldwide economic disaster after weeks of mandatory “shelter-in-place” orders. The complete shutdown of America’s economy is likely to lead to another Great Depression like in the 1920’s. The opportunities that freedom and liberty provide us must be restored as soon as possible. This induced self-destructive hysteria, much of which is being generated by a mainstream media that has long prioritized sensationalism over investigating and reporting the truth, has to end.

Never before have we quarantined the healthy. Sometimes the patient doesn’t come out of the induced coma as planned.

A poorer America will be a more vulnerable and less healthy America. The American people cannot simply sit at home and wait for government checks written on funds that the government does not have.

It is largely due to the flexibility, strength, and ingenuity of America’s capitalist players that we are riding-out this crisis. The private sector bails out the government every day of the week by paying taxes. Without people and businesses earning money, where would the government be? 

Instead of deficit-financed bailouts, we should stimulate the economy by removing regulatory barriers to economic activity.  Governments across the world are removing regulations that are preventing a full coronavirus response. We are already seeing how fast the private sector can respond because of the temporary removal of regulation which has allowed technology and medicine providers to address the virus while entrepreneurs are producing innovative and cheaper ventilators. Removing those barriers is creating true economic value by allowing the creation of things that people actually   need. Hopefully, this lesson will be taken to heart and not go unnoticed by politicians and policymakers. 

Getting rid of countless regulations will save lives and could return massive economic gains. This is why we are now allowing doctors to practice across state lines, easing off of restrictions on trucker drivers, and allowing university research labs to search for solutions. 

Many state officials have already eased or eliminated regulations for medical resources such as “certificate of need” laws, restrictions on telemedicine, and clinician licensing rules. Congress can use its constitutional power to eliminate regulatory restrictions on interstate telemedicine. To understand why these rules are such a problem, consider the FDA’s “premarket notification” guidelines for masks.

We should be questioning why we have those regulations if they can be removed so easily by the same people who put them in place. Eventually, the whole Code of Federal Regulations should go under the microscope. 

 “Congress should appoint a standing independent commission to comb through the Code of Federal Regulations and identify rules that could get in the way of responding and adapting to the disruptions a future outbreak could cause. 

There are literally millions of regulatory restrictions on the books. Many of them are getting in the way of the coronavirus response. Others might get in the way of a response to a future pandemic in ways that aren’t obvious today, such as supply chain restrictions or product bans. Other rules simply slow economic growth and one of the most effective ways to keep people resilient and safe is to be wealthy enough to do so.” – cei.org

It is beyond the conception of many lawmakers to think that people are capable of educating themselves and able to take fitting actions to benefit their own health. Just because they can’t imagine a spontaneous market solution doesn’t mean one does not exist. Most politicians do not have the entrepreneurial spirit and many have never worked a day in their life beyond government “service”.

It is also ignorant to think that businesses and people won’t readjust to a recognized threat. Restaurants can seat their guests six feet apart and the cooks and servers can wear gloves and masks, sanitize the handles, wipe the knobs, clean the register, handle the glass properly, etc. America has needed an important sanitation lesson about hand washing and social distancing.

There are endless ways that innovative people will adapt. If a business can’t compete because they don’t know how to readjust to changing market conditions, then they close and others will fill the void.

It’s time to open all businesses that want to and let them figure out how to do it with precautions and with acceptable risk.  People are not forced to go to a business. If one is concerned, they should stay away. People have a right to live their lives, work, and live the American dream.

There is no way that our economy can escape taking a major hit from this epidemic. It already has. Instead of masking or ignoring the changing conditions, it is the ability of people and countries to adapt that creates true economic resilience. Small business is the lifeblood of our economy and we need to appreciate their financial vulnerabilities. It’s up to our policymakers to decide if we get through this crisis more or less prosperous and free than when we began.

Last year 38,800 people lost their lives in automobiles yet no one is demanding government action to stop auto production. Obesity in America kills 34 per hour but the government has not shut-down candy makers. Smoking causes the death of one in every five Americans, 54 deaths per hour, but that industry has lobbyists that defend their right to exist.  

Every person alive has a health condition that could cause them to drop dead at any moment. It’s called LIFE. COVID-19 is one more thing in a world filled with things that can kill us.

Now that we’ve learned how to wash our hands, let us continue to follow better health practices, open up our economy again, and urge production to happen back here in America.

“Quarantine is the ultimate violation of civil liberties. Having committed no crime, having done no wrong, you’re sentenced to house arrest or banishment. It’s unfair, it’s un-American, but when an epidemic threatens, we do it because we must. Viruses don’t wait.” –  Charles Krauthammer 

End the shutdown. Let America be America…. The land of the free and the home of the brave.

 THE BAILOUT

Our government has violated every oath of office and promise to decrease spending and has placed our country in immediate peril by allowing us to live beyond our means.

Last week Congress passed an 883-page, $2 trillion stimulus package to help fix the problem CREATED BY GOVERNMENT. Legislation like this is pre-written and sitting in a draw waiting on a good opportunity to dust it off and pay back political favors. 

After all, we’ve got ourselves a pretty nice crisis here. It would be a shame if something happened to it….. let’s not let it go to waste

After they passed it, members of Congress were lining up in front of network cameras to tell Americans how much they’ll benefit from the largest such aid package in U.S. history (the bill they have yet to read). NOT ONE member of congress said “let’s cut out all that pork and just fix what we broke.” In the Senate, the bill passed 96-0 with not one Senator voting against it even though no one had time to read it.

The fiscal situation for the United States government is grave. Even though the economy is healthy, the federal deficit is projected to remain at $1 trillion in 2021 and steadily increase to $1.7 trillion in 2030. Both Republicans and Democrats have bled our Treasury and increased our national debt from $10 trillion (2008) to $19.6 trillion (2016) to $23.6 trillion (2020) and now to almost $30 trillion.

How much more stimulus can we afford and will it even be effective? Does it make any sense to provide “forgivable loans” for small businesses to stay open and pay their employees while the same government, at the same time, is urging people to stay home?

While the rest of us were locked up in our houses learning how to make our own protective gear and stuffing our remaining cash inside a ragged sock which we can take with us when we start living under a bridge, the Congress and Senate decided to spend $2 trillion of OUR dollars on themselves and many of their supporters.

That figure TRIPLES to $6,000,000,000,000.00 (6tril) when $4 trillion is added by the Fed & Treasury. That adds up to $17,000 of debt per citizen or $68,000 for a family of four.

They are “giving” 140.9 taxpayers a digital check for $1,200 (our money) and we get to pay “them” back $17,000. That figures out to about 1,417% interest. The local loan shark only charges 100%. Those checks to each taxpayer accounts for about $169 billion. WHERE THE HECK DOES THE REMAINING $5,831,000,000,000.00 (trillion) go? 

There is no question that the federal government must play an essential role in response to a major national emergency but it should not increase the debt and it should be short-term and specific. Under no circumstances should our great-grand-children be enslaved by the debt that we are creating today. 

The ink isn’t even dry and Congress is now considering a reported “Phase 4” rescue package. Throwing more money at the “invisible enemy” will only heighten the risks of a public debt crisis. If they continue to do business-as-usual, the dual nightmare of a worldwide pandemic and endless debt will be something that we never wake up from.

This emergency will no doubt drive the national debt much higher. Our responsibility toward future generations and the insistence of the present time depends upon vigilant action by our federal legislators today. Our leaders must now dignify the sacrifices of American families and workers by safeguarding the fiscal health of our country. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. 

The social, economic and government response to the coronavirus pandemic is turning into the most immoral decision of our time.

“Politicians have a duty to persuade citizens that it is unjust to borrow for their day-to-day needs and then pass on the debts to future generations because, if the latter had a choice, they would not consent to such a scheme… the borrower escapes responsibility for repaying their own debts. That is what a state does when it borrows consistently to pay for the day-to-day costs of running the country.”The Irish Times

POLICY

“We will all have to live in this society after the pandemic has passed. On a national scale, we will have to live with the powers the government obtains during this crisis. Whatever powers they take won’t all be given back. And whatever powers the government obtains won’t all be used to effectively fight a pandemic—they will end up being used for political purposes, as the “stimulus” act should have amply indicated.”– Mises Institute

The basic functions of the United States government are listed in the Constitution: “… in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,”

Our current crisis is directly related to four of those six areas. As we move forward, our government should respond by directing all new policies at the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic and specifically target public health efforts, social and economic concerns, and food security.  

Those policies should be temporary and not include a permanent increase in spending, especially not on issues that are unrelated to our temporary crisis. Unfortunately, many are taking advantage of this crisis in an opportunistic and partisan manner instead of focusing on solving the problems. They are playing politics with American lives in a dangerous manner and violating their oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution.” 

Every bureaucrat and/or elected official has the potential of becoming a despot. Empowered by “a public health emergency” they are free to issue diktats at will with impunity and many have. Some of the leaders of America’s most progressive cities and states have finally reached the pinnacle of their glory.

The federal government has unique capabilities available only in emergencies, but Congress must remember that under our constitution, the front lines of disaster response belong to the states. Instead of a blanket approach, policies and resources should be focused on those areas that are designated by the federal government as an epidemic area. That would ensure that services and resources are allocated most appropriately.

For years, our federal government has undermined personal savings and aligned with unsustainable budget policies. We have piled new debt on top of old resulting in a huge long-term cost that none of us will reach an age to pay back. Neither the Trump administration or Congress took any steps to reduce spending when the economy was booming. That has resulted in a weakened ability to deal with a real crisis like the current pandemic. As the nation recovers, we must focus on our rising government debt and escalating spending. 

The efforts to assist the newly unemployed and businesses for their loss of income should come from aid programs that already exist, instead of creating new ones. That assistance should be targeted at the most vulnerable of our citizens. Congress could provide separate sums for states to help low-income uninsured Americans who don’t otherwise qualify for aid as well as a policy response that leverages Medicaid to help low-income Americans to access health care.

America has to stop relying on other nations for our production. We need to produce our own medical equipment and medicine along with our own food. A world in crisis can shut us down overnight and it has. Relying on other countries like China for crucial life-sustaining products such as personal protective equipment, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, puts us at a strategic risk of being too dependent on our enemies who are friends only by economic necessity. 

That increased awareness has already propelled efforts to diversify supplier and production networks that will strengthen our national economy and enable it to better withstand future shocks.

We have already learned the strategic importance of being energy independent.

Congress could introduce an “epidemic tax credit” for private companies in epidemic areas that would help provide flexible paid leave, aid public health efforts, and reduce the risk of infection. We need to free drugs from overbearing drug regulations. We need our government to start respecting farmers enough to let them stand in the market on their own two feet. The solution for transit agencies is to cut service to a level they can afford. Instead of bailing out transit, it’s time to start thinking about phasing out the subsidies we give it. There’s not much room for transit in a world of social distancing.

We need markets to be free

SOCIAL

In the face of all this stress and anxiety, a commitment to civil and peaceful relationships with neighbors is even more important. On a more local scale, we’re all going to be neighbors when this is over. Shared adversity breeds the tightest bonds. Now is the time for national unity.

Pandemics are watershed events that can sweep away the debris that clogs our thoughts and desensitizes us to the beauty and potential that surrounds us.  

 “Periods of extended crisis often lead to a renewal of faith and a sense of community; for some, it leads to the discovery of such. These moments call upon us to measure our character and assess what is important to us. How will you choose to live this moment and the days and weeks and perhaps months to come? Seeing that we can prepare for storms and then weather them leads to confidence in our ability to handle tough times. Those who have been through a crisis know it helps you prepare for the next one and the one after that. Younger generations are often dismissed as self-absorbed and shallow, but this period of pandemic likely will explode that myth for the older generation and prove to the younger it has what it takes to persevere, which in turn will equip it for future challenges. The much-praised Greatest Generation overcame the hardships of World War II and harnessed that grit to achieve unprecedented levels of productivity and creativity in the following decades. COVID-19 does not present the same type of threat to our way of life as did global war, but given we have experienced a remarkably extended period of peace and prosperity, this public health crisis affecting so many people in so many countries at the same time might serve a similar function. History is replete with examples of people rising to meet the challenges of trying times, finding ways not only to cope with unexpected dangers but to surmount them and along the way discover more about themselves and their society than they knew before. Our current troubled time is no different.” – Heritage Foundation

Thanks to the following organizations and publications for their inspiration and guidance:

The Heritage Foundation

The Cato Institute

The Mises Institute

The Competitive Enterprise Institute

The Foundation for Economic Education

The New American

The Washington Examiner

UtahStandardNews.com

OpenTheBooks.com

ThePublicDiscourse.com

Forbes 

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