While most Americans remain under a stay-at-home order, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Many states around the country are planning to reopen their economies, led by Republican governors who understand the benefits of a healthy business climate—from job creation to economic growth. In Utah, state legislators are considering legislation that would open certain businesses by the end of April. As Texas Governor Greg Abbott puts it, “The businesses that will have minimal or zero impact on the spread of Covid-19 will be the first ones to open up.”
The stakes are simply too high to be hysterical. Since mid-March, more than 22 million Americans have filed unemployment claims, and America’s unemployment rate is expected to reach 20 percent this month. That’s double the peak unemployment of the Great Recession.
Remember the Great Recession? At the time, it was the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression eight decades earlier. And the coronavirus has trumped it.
If President Trump didn’t take action as soon as he did, the economic bleeding could have been even worse—much worse. Since December, the Trump administration has taken more than 400 specific actions to contain the spread of COVID-19, juggling public health and economic activity.
This is not to oppose social distancing. On the contrary, it remains a top priority. We do need to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus, primarily to protect our elderly populations. But the economic shutdown cannot go on indefinitely either. At some point, we need to assume some risk (as low as possible) for the greater good.
Last week alone, over 80 million Americans received direct cash payment from the federal government. How much longer will Washington, D.C. have to subsidize our daily lives?
Unfortunately, many anti-Trumpers want the “new normal” to be normal into perpetuity. The Left has launched a #NotDying4WallStreet campaign, circulating fear and paranoia about the pandemic on social media.
The liberal media is on the same bandwagon, accusing President Trump of ignoring “health experts’ objections” for even considering a gradual reopening of the U.S. economy. Politico claims a reopened economy “could collide with reality.” The Washington Post, meanwhile, argues a reopened economy would translate to “more masks, fewer workers, [and] high unease.”
And a closed economy wouldn’t cause “unease”? The overzealous adjustment to a new normal isn’t, in fact, normal. That same overzealousness threatens the well-being of millions of working Americans, not to mention the families who depend on them. While we must keep at-risk individuals in mind, we cannot simultaneously discard the American worker as irrelevant. It’s deeply irresponsible and downright dangerous, from an economic perspective.
Perhaps the liberal media is advocating for an economic shutdown to undermine President Trump’s re-election bid. When New York Magazine claims the president’s “once-bright reelection prospects are darkening rapidly,” even when his approval rating is at an all-time high, that’s a red flag. So is Politico’s assertion that the “economic meltdown gives Democrats new hope in Texas.”
Or perhaps the Left is exploiting coronavirus hysteria to expand the largesse of the government. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), chairman of the House Pandemic Oversight Committee, put it this way: “This pandemic gives Democrats a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
Yes, he said that. Now more than ever, we cannot allow the #Resistance to score political points and advance their socialist agenda. We need to push back on socialism, and return the greatest economy in the history of the world to its true “normal.”
There is simply too much at stake, with more than 22 million Americans filing jobless claims. Let’s get America back to work.
Allen West is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former Florida congressman. He serves as senior advisor to the Committee to Defend the President and pens a daily column at TheOldSchoolPatriot.com.