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“Realistically, COVID-19 will be here for the next 18 months or more,” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel told Lawrence O’Donnell last weekend on MSNBC. He continued, “How are people supposed to find work if this goes on in some form for a year and a half? Is all that economic pain worth trying to stop COVID-19? The truth is we have no choice.”
This is far from reality, and tone-deaf to the needs and the actual wellbeing of Americans across the country. Dr. Emanuel, the truth is, a cure like yours is worse than the disease. But, take it from somebody with a vested interest in government takeover of society. Nobody should be surprised to learn that Dr. Emanuel was a chief architect of Obamacare, the healthcare law that was designed to crumble on itself and push us toward socialized medicine.
By pushing such a narrative with an ulterior motive of socialization of our country, people like Dr. Emanuel and his big-government comrades (including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, architect of “Medicare for All”) ignore the truths of economics.
Simply put, their agenda is dangerous — even reckless. If the economy doesn’t reopen for “18 months or more,” there will be no economy left to reopen, and America as we know it will have disappeared. Unfortunately, our economy has already essentially ground to a halt.
While we had a strong economy just a few short weeks ago, we are now facing absolutely unprecedented havoc, caused by a silent killer that nobody could have foreseen. As a result — hastened by indecisiveness and misaligned incentives by the government — unemployment has skyrocketed. Just last week, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, bringing the unemployment rate to a staggering 13 percent.
Employers that initially furloughed employees have laid them off, and businesses that initially closed temporarily have closed permanently. These jobs are worked by real Americans and these businesses are owned by the same. Many of these individuals are FreedomWorks activists nationwide who, just like everybody else, have been hit hard by this crisis.
In a recent survey of our community, of those who were employed prior to this pandemic, 19.1 percent of them are now unemployed, and another 26 percent have reduced work hours. Those numbers only stand to rise should state and local government continue to mandate indefinite closure of businesses. Instead, they should allow the market and private individuals to exercise personal responsibility in implementing reasonable practices to at least partially reopen sectors of our economy that have been shuttered with devastating consequences.
President Trump should be applauded for his approach to this exact topic. While public health remains the top priority, public health is not only dependent on the coronavirus. It is dependent on the wellbeing and sustainability of the society we live in, which is helpless at the hands of imposed mandates by governors across our nation, many of which even go so far as to criminalize nonadherence, no matter how minor.
For years now, leftists have cried wolf time and time again of President Trump’s supposedly “fascist” and “dictator-like” tendencies. Ironically, these same critics are now calling for President Trump to use executive power to nationalize entire industries and mandate certain policies nationwide. Instead, he has exercised great restraint of power, allowing his Center for Disease Control (CDC) to issue guidelines — but not mandates — on behavior. In fact, now those same leftists are decrying him for not issuing a nationwide mandate.
Just last week, President Trump’s CDC revised some of its guidelines for those workers deemed “essential,” encouraging those who have been exposed to the virus but are asymptomatic, to return to work, albeit smartly. This is the right direction to take our country, and we must continue to do more to get the economy working again.
In all, the public health of our people is in much more peril from indefinite mandates that close down our nation than from the coronavirus itself. As soon as is responsible, and in as thoughtful of a way possible, our country must reopen the economy — for the sake of all Americans — in order to truly overcome this virus. The future of our republic hangs in the balance.
Adam Brandon is the President of FreedomWorks, a grassroots service center to millions of activists who support smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, personal liberty, and rule of law.