4 Keys to Understanding ‘Defund the Police’ Movement

“Defund the police” has become the newest rallying cry for the left and it’s no longer confined to radicals and activists.

Some local lawmakers are going a step further to say “dismantle” or “abolish” the police, while left-leaning media outlets are giving credence to the fledgling movement.

The idea could mean different things to different advocates, but at a minimum it means slashing police department resources.

“It’s an extremely irresponsible and reprehensible recommendation specifically for the outcomes that we know would come about in exactly the kind of communities for which these proposal are being made,” Rafael Mangual, deputy director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank in New York, told The Daily Signal.


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Here are four things to know about the “defund the police” movement.

1. Where Is Defunding Happening? 

It’s a near certainty that Minneapolis—where fired police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd—will defund police. (The state upgraded an initial third-degree murder charge.)

The May 25 death of Floyd, captured in a cellphone video showing Chauvin’s knee on his neck for more than eight minutes, has prompted two weeks of civil unrest.

A veto-proof majority of nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced that they backed getting rid of the city police force—and didn’t even have a plan for what to do next.

“We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does,” council members said in a public statement issued over the weekend, the Minneapolis StarTribune reported:

We’re committed to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you. …

We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new, transformative model for cultivating safety in Minneapolis.

The nine council members included President Lisa Bender and Jeremiah Ellison, son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading the prosecution of Chauvin and the other three officers.

“This council is going to dismantle this police department,” the younger Ellison said.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tried to speak to a crowd Sunday, saying at one point, “I do not support the full abolition of the police department.”

The crowd chanted, “Go home, Jacob, go home” and “Shame. Shame. Shame.”

The mayor’s opposition to a “police-free” Minneapolis won’t matter against a veto-proof majority.

The Minneapolis StarTribune reported that in 2019, serious crimes such as robbery, burglary, and assault spiked 13% in the city. Two-thirds of the city’s 81 neighborhoods saw increases, including a downtown area that had a 70% increase.

The nation’s two largest cities are pushing major funding cuts to their police departments, which may not appease activists demanding full-scale abolition. The proposed cuts could spread to more cities.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced major cuts to the, but not abolishing the Los Angeles Police Department.

“Thank you to all who marched for racial justice and equality for Black Americans this weekend,” Garcetti tweeted Monday. “This is a pivotal moment. Here in L.A., we’re starting by identifying $250M, including cuts to LAPD budget, to further invest in communities of color and confront structural racism.”

Of those $250 million in cuts, up to $150 million is expected to come from the police force, the Los Angeles Times reported.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would slash funding for police and shift money to social services in a revised budget proposal. The mayor didn’t provide specifics for the cuts.

The New York City Police Department accounts for $6 billion of de Blasio’s proposed annual budget of $90 billion for the city.

2. What’s Happening in Congress?

Although paying for policing is a local decision, not a federal one, some members of Congress are jumping into the movement without qualification.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., voiced strong support for ditching the Minneapolis police over the weekend.

“When we dismantle it, we get rid of that cancer, and we allow for something beautiful to rise,” Omar told a group of protesters Saturday, adding:

Well, we’ve had a black president, we’ve had a Congressional Black Caucus, we’ve had black mayors, we’ve had black governors, and we’ve had black city council members, we’ve had black police chiefs, yet we are still getting killed, brutalized, surveilled, massly [sic] incarcerated, and we are still having conversations with our children on how to have a conversation with the people that are supposed to protect and serve them so that those people don’t in return kill them.

One of Omar’s colleagues in a small group of House freshmen known as “the squad” said that all elected officials must back the “defund the police” movement.

“This is what political courage is for. Political courage. There are moments in everyone’s careers where you have to be willing to stand up and say, ‘Am I willing to sacrifice all of the privileges I have?’” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said during an online conference with supporters. “If you’re an elected official for any reason that is on this call, I’m asking you to ask yourself what are you willing to sacrifice to make sure that overfunded police departments are defunded.”

House Democrats as a whole are taking a less extreme approach and announced legislation Monday that was crafted by the Congressional Black Caucus.

Among other things, the bill would prohibit discriminatory profiling of any kind, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, mandate dashboard cameras for police vehicles, establish a national police misconduct registry, and make it easier to prosecute officers and sue individual officers.

Asked last week about defunding police, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., deferred to the Congressional Black Caucus.

3. Where Is Public Opinion?

Although loud protesters are demanding defunding, dismantling, or abolishing police across the country, it’s a long way from a majority opinion.

Although some might think from media coverage that much of the Democratic base supports it, only 16% of Democrats in a Yahoo/YouGov poll say they support defunding the police. That’s statistically even with just 15% of Republicans who say they back the idea.

“Despite calls by activists and protesters to defund police departments, most Americans do not support reducing law enforcement budgets,” Yahoo/YouGov said of its poll. “Close to two-thirds (65%) oppose cutting police force funding. Just 16 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans support that idea.”

There is clear evidence of potential consequences from Floyd’s death two weeks ago, the Manhattan Institute’s Mangual said.

“One piece of evidence here to consider is the fact: Is it a coincidence that while police were occupied with violent protests in the city of Chicago, we experienced the most violent weekend of 2020 outside the protests, in the neighborhoods where shootings are a regular occurrence?” Mangual said.

He said he doesn’t think the “defund the police” idea has reached a tipping point to become a serious movement.

Mangual rejected the idea “that we would deprive black and brown communities of police forces who—whether you like them or not—bring about a great deal of peace by intervening in criminal acts and taking criminals off the streets,” adding:

The idea that gang members and repeat offenders ought to be walking the streets because there aren’t any police to take them away is one that is very cavalier with the lives of law-abiding citizens in America’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

4. Is Defunding Police as Bad as It Sounds? 

Defunding police forces seems to mean different things to different advocates.

Some want to reallocate big chunks of police budgets to social programs, which would be more budget cutting than defunding altogether, as in New York and Los Angeles. Others want to end police altogether—as in Minneapolis—and possibly replace police forces with something else entirely.

Even Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, told WBUR in Boston that the goal was about reallocation of funding.

“The demand of defunding law enforcement becomes a central demand in how we actually get real accountability and justice, because it means we are reducing the ability of law enforcement to have resources that harm our communities,” Cullors said, adding:

And with that demand, it’s not just about taking away money from the police, it’s about reinvesting those dollars into black communities. Communities that have been deeply divested from, communities that, some have never felt the impact of having true resources. And so we have to reconsider what we’re resourcing. I’ve been saying we have an economy of punishment over an economy of care.

MPD150, an advocacy group in Minneapolis, where defunding the police force appears all but certain, is in the more radical camp that also calls for other police departments to be defunded.

“The people who respond to crises in our community should be the people who are best-equipped to deal with those crises,” MPD150 says. “Rather than strangers armed with guns, who very likely do not live in the neighborhoods they’re patrolling, we want to create space for more mental health service providers, social workers, victim/survivor advocates, religious leaders, neighbors and friends—all of the people who really make up the fabric of a community—to look out for one another.”

The Minneapolis organization attempts to acknowledge arguments about violent crime, writing:

Crime isn’t random. Most of the time, it happens when someone has been unable to meet their basic needs through other means. So to really ‘fight crime,’ we don’t need more cops; we need more jobs, more educational opportunities, more arts programs, more community centers, more mental health resources, and more of a say in how our own communities function. …

The history of policing is a history of violence against the marginalized—American police departments were originally created to dominate and criminalize communities of color and poor white workers, a job they continue doing to this day. The list has grown even longer: LGBTQ folks, people with disabilities, activists—so many of us are attacked by cops on a daily basis.

Christy E. Lopez, a professor at Georgetown Law and co-director of the school’s Innovative Policing Program, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post advocating defunding.

Lopez argued that the idea is not as scary as it sounds:

Defunding and abolition probably mean something different from what you are thinking. For most proponents, ‘defunding the police’ does not mean zeroing-out budgets for public safety, and police abolition does not mean that police will disappear overnight—or perhaps ever. Defunding the police means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting most of what government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that need. … Police abolition means reducing, with the vision of eventually eliminating, our reliance on policing to secure our public safety.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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A Contract With Black America


Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

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Trump Showcases Jobs Preserved by Paycheck Protection Program Amid COVID-19 Shutdown

Michael Heup not only got his job back at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, which was temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 crisis, but he also had the chance to talk about it at the White House on Tuesday.

“I love my job, and I am excited about going back to work,” Heup, a disabled employee, said at the East Room event. “At Bitty & Beau’s, we like to use the phrase called ‘not broken.’ That means me and all my amazing co-workers are not broken, and we have lots to offer. I know the great country of the United States isn’t broken either.”

The Wilmington, North Carolina-based Bitty & Beau’s Coffee had to temporarily close and lay off 120 employees at the company, most with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But it was able to rehire all the employees after getting a federal loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The White House had representatives from eight companies at the event sharing their stories of staying afloat after governments’ COVID-19 mitigation efforts forced much of the economy to close.


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Under the program, if businesses with fewer than 500 employees do not lay off employees, the principal on the loan is forgivable. Employers still have to pay the interest.

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee has locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland. For most of the employees, it’s their first paying job. The employees are now “working from home, writing handwritten notes that we include with each online order we ship,” said Amy Wright, CEO of Bitty & Beau’s, also speaking at the event.

“I know everyone is ready to return to normal,” Wright said. “I believe it’s time for a new normal, one where people with disabilities are valued, especially in the workplace. As a recipient of the [Paycheck Protection Program] loan, we will continue to take up the charge and help everyone, especially people with disabilities, pursue the American dream.”

The Paycheck Protection Program has disbursed $350 billion to small businesses across the United States, and more than 1.6 million forgivable loans have been approved by the Small Business Administration. Trump said the SBA has issued more loans in the past 14 days than it has in the past 14 years.

However, the program has come under scrutiny for doling out loans to large employers, such as Harvard University and Shake Shack. Several of the big businesses returned the loans after the rash of bad publicity.

“The press has commented on a lot of big companies that inappropriately took the money,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the event. “We’ve been very clear. We’ve announced today that any loan over $2 million will have a full review for forgiveness before they are repaid because this is the story of small business here.”

When taking questions from reporters, Trump was asked about Democrats in Congress calling for guaranteed incomes that could go on for months.

“I like payroll tax cuts. I’ve liked that from the beginning. That was a thing that I would really love to see happen. Most economists agree with me,” Trump said.

The president expressed skepticism of bailing out states, but he said aid could come with the precondition of changing sanctuary policies, in which local jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

“We are not looking to recover 25 years of bad management and to give them the money they lost. That’s unfair to other states. Now, if it’s COVID-related, I guess we could talk about it,” Trump said, adding:

But we’d want certain things also, including sanctuary city adjustments, because we have so many people in sanctuary cities, which I don’t even think are popular by radical left folks.

What’s happening is, people are being protected that shouldn’t be protected, and a lot of bad things are happening with sanctuary cities.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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Today’s Americans and Yesteryear’s Americans


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

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VIDEO: Bring Back Made in the USA!

ACT for America is proud to announce our Made in the USA Campaign, dedicated to help bring business back to America and promote others to buy products Made in the USA!


CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF COMPANIES THAT ARE 100% MADE IN THE USA!


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Will Bitcoin Ever Stabilize?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are notorious for their volatility. Their value fluctuates from time to time. There is always an air of uncertainty surrounding their value and future. But what exactly makes BTC price so volatile? Will BTC ever stabilize?

If BTC is to become a global currency, it must overcome its volatility. Despite its market capitalization growing to its current $60B mark, BTC is still struggling with uncertainty and volatility putting its potency as a global currency into question. So, let’s discuss what exactly makes cryptocurrencies that volatile and how can BTC become stable?

Why Cryptocurrencies Are Highly Volatile

1.   Cryptos Considered Store of Value and Not Value Transfer Media

One barrier that stands on a way of cryptos’ growth is the opinion of millions worldwide that cryptos are just a store of value. People don’t see them as a currency but as assets that will be valuable in the future. As such, they don’t freely exchange them but rather hold them waiting for their values to skyrocket.

Most holders of BTC don’t use their coins for daily transactions but rather stack them waiting for prices to hike before they sell them. This creates a precarious scenario where events and news massively affect the price of BTC because of mass actions of panic. For instance, if there is news of a government planning to ban BTC in a given country, all those holding BTC in that country will try to sell which will flood the market and cause a drop in the price of BTC.

If BTC is to be considered a global currency, then people need to freely use it to pay for goods and services. Simply put, people need to use the coin in their daily transactions. How often and willing people are to use a currency for their transactions is the true sign of a global currency.

2.   Security Concerns

Although fiat currencies have security concerns of their own, they are insignificant comparing to the issues that cryptocurrencies face on a regular basis. Cryptocurrencies have more security loopholes than fiat currencies. In 2019 alone, BTC and other cryptos lost more than $4.4Billion to scams and other security breaches.

These losses are a big part of the volatility experienced in cryptocurrencies. The more significant are the losses in cryptos, the lower the confidence that people have in them.

Unless cryptocurrencies fix their systematic security vulnerabilities, they will always be subject to volatility. Any high profile scams or losses will always have a ripple effect and affect the price of a cryptocurrency.

3.   Uncertainty

The lack of certainty regarding the future of cryptocurrencies leaves them open to season fluctuations. Not a single person is sure of what the future holds for cryptocurrencies, which leaves many people with a lot of questions concerning adopting the cryptocurrencies.

As it currently stands, too many factors affect the price of BTC. Government regulations, market factors, security breaches, ‘HODLing among many other factors. The lack of proper measures in place to ensure that the effects of all the aforementioned factors are mitigated leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over cryptocurrencies like BTC.

4.   Fluctuating Demand

BTC’s demand is always bouncy. Therefore, there is always a fluctuation in its price. Since BTC’s supply is almost constant. Moreover, just like the real gold becomes harder to mine with time, bitcoin halving makes it harder to mine the digital gold as the reward will be two times smaller.

At the same time, huge fluctuations in the demand will always have a ripple effect on the price. This makes BTC a bad choice for a global currency. There is just too much uncertainty in its price for people to gladly accept and use BTC.

So, Will BTC Ever Stabilize?

Having seen why cryptos are so unstable, let’s discuss what does the future hold for BTC? Will Bitcoin ever stabilize?

As the leading cryptocurrency in the world, BTC is expected to be the first digital coin the price of which will stabilize. If BTC is to be considered a true global cryptocurrency, it has to overcome its volatility.  But how can it achieve this?

Ways BTC Can Reduce Volatility

Increase Demand For BTC

Since there can only be 21 million BTC in existence, the community should work towards increasing the demand and usage of BTC to a global scale. Once the demand is on a global scale and its usage is frequent and ‘normal’, the fluctuation in the price will be lower and BTC will be deemed stable.

Address Security Breaches

Since BTC is open-source software, the community has the collective responsibility of ensuring that the platform is safe for public use. Loopholes in the network should be reported and any individuals engaging in unscrupulous deals should be permanently banned from using BTC. Once the whole ecosystem becomes safe for the use of all, the confidence levels will go up and more people will adopt BTC.

Mass Education

Although most people generally have an idea of what cryptocurrencies are, very few of them have proper knowledge of how to use BTC instead of fiat currencies. If the global usage of BTC is to increase, there is a need for proper mass education and sensitization programs. These programs will see an increased uptake of BTC and other cryptocurrencies.

Conclusion

BTC has a long way to go. Bitcoin is far from the point of long-lasting stability.  Its volatility is too high for it to be used on a global scale. However, cryptocurrency is still a young technology that will show a massive potential once the stakeholders will start work towards making it stable.

PODCAST: Govs Get Their Priorities out in the Re-open

They got in line at Peach Tree Battle Barbershop at 7 a.m. For a lot of them, it was the first haircut they’d had in a month and a half. “I certainly don’t want to spread it to anyone,” customer Matt Maddox said, “so I’ve got a mask. But I’m not concerned.” Others, like Atlanta restaurant owner Hugh Acheson, understands that staying closed will hurt, but argues, “Now is not the time for fine dining.” Either way, their governor, Brian Kemp (R), is giving them a choice — which is more than a lot of Americans can say.The eyes of the whole country will certainly be on states like Georgia, who flipped the signs to “open” on businesses like salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, bowling alleys, and more for the first time this morning. But that’s not to say things are even remotely the same as before. Local officials can’t flip a switch and tell people to go back to normal. But what they can do is allow Americans to make those decisions themselves based on how the churches, stores, and restaurants respond. As Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) said earlier this week, “It’s one thing for government to say, ‘Okay, it’s safe to go out. [But] if people don’t believe it’s safe, they’re not going to go.”

As Scott Rasmussen and I talked on “Washington Watch” Thursday, “Everybody has a role to play in governing society.” He’s in New York City, where the virus is still a major concern. But, he said, “When they [do] open up restaurants in our city here, some people will be excited and run right out the door. But many are going to hold back, and they’re going to wait for the restaurant owners to demonstrate that it’s safe. Maybe the tables aren’t quite as close together as they used to be, or maybe some other steps have been taken. And by the way, those restaurant owners are also going to have to convince their employees that it’s safe to come back to work… This is going to be a process, where we collectively will learn how to behave in this new environment.”

After 40 days in isolation, people are going to take the threat seriously. They’re going to be cautious. But, as Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) pointed out, the Founders’ model was “Let’s trust the people.” Of course, that freedom requires accountability. But there’s a way to do this that ensures people — and the economy — are protected. “It’s not a binary choice, that’s for sure.” That’s why the best approach is the one the president has taken. He’s given governors the tools, the resources, suggested benchmarks, but in the end, he’s made it clear to the states: You know what’s best for your community.

Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kans.), a medical doctor in his own right, has been up close and personal with the virus. He’s talked to people who will be scarred for life after their work with patients in the ICU. And he still believes there is a “responsible and safe way to start opening certain parts of the country.” What does that look like? “Well,” he said, “What we need is more testing availability — and probably more Personal Protective Equipment as well… And then, we need a community [commitment] to responsibility.”

One way to make sure we’re doing this right, Dr. Marshall suggests, is to start partnering with the people who know best. “I’ve been challenging the health care folks in each community to reach out to their own businesses around town. There [are] infectious disease nurses at hospitals, at county health clinics, [who] are some sharp, sharp people. We need to get them involved out in the private sector. [They could be] talking to the local schools and to the local businesses. What does [this] look like going forward?” As he agreed, “This will not be solved at the federal level. It’s going to be solved at the local community level now.”

At the end of the day, FRC’s Ken Blackwell said, “The American people are smart people. We don’t hide in the midst of a crisis. We push back intelligently against it.” This is not, he reminded listeners, “an either-or.” “It’s not a public health strategy versus an economic strategy…” We understand all sides and the importance of a measured, consistent approach. “But at the end of the day, it’s no accident why we are the most prosperous and the most free democratic constitutional republic in the history of the world. It’s because we cherish liberty, and we trust people.” And now, more than ever, our leaders need to do both.


Tony Perkins’s Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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$66 Mil, Federal Agents, National Guard Wasted on 2,500-Bed Camp That Averaged 30 Immigrants

Against the advice of frontline agents, the federal government opened a temporary immigration detention facility that was barely used and cost a ghastly $66 million to operate for just five months. During that time the tent encampment situated in a rural west Texas community near the Mexican border housed an average of just 30 detainees, according to a scathing federal audit that blasts the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the waste. Though it has a 2,500-person capacity, the facility never held more than 66 illegal aliens on any given day, investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found.

Not only did Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pay a private contractor tens of millions of dollars in facility costs, it spent “about $5.3 million for food services—the preparation and delivery of meals and snacks—it did not need,” the congressional probe reveals. In an enraging example, investigators write that, during the first three months, the government paid for about 675,000 meals despite ordering only 13,428 because there were not enough detainees. The U.S. also “leveraged significant federal personnel resources” that added up to an additional $6.7 million. This includes 75 unarmed guards to monitor the camp around the clock and officers from DHS agencies such as CBP, the Border Patrol (BP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as soldiers from the National Guard. Investigators did the math and figured that each illegal immigrant detainee that stayed at the camp was guarded by four soldiers, three security guards and at least one CBP agent. The resources “could have been allocated to other missions,” the GAO writes in its report.

Here is a breakdown of the federal officers wasted on this seldom-used immigrant detention camp in addition to the separately paid contract security guards. Twenty-one CBP agents responsible for facility operations, such as detainee intake, welfare checks and transportation, among other things. Eleven BP agents from the El Paso sector, one of the nation’s busiest, 10 CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations and five ICE agents to help coordinate on decisions made about individuals at the facility. On top of all that, 116 Texas National Guard soldiers were deployed to the encampment for logistical support such as meal distribution and monitoring security cameras, among other duties.

The facility in the El Paso County town of Tornillo was once used to detain illegal immigrant minors and was briefly reopened for single adults around the beginning of August 2019. It finally closed at the start of 2020, but not without fleecing American taxpayers. It’s not like the government didn’t have opportunities to shut it down earlier. In fact, initially the camp was only supposed to open for three months at a cost of $47 million and could have been closed based on the numbers—less than 1% of capacity. Instead, the feds extended the deal for two months at a cost of $19 million. “Border Patrol officials in the El Paso sector told us that the sector recommended to Border Patrol headquarters that the facility be closed and resources reallocated elsewhere for other CBP missions, due to the consistently low numbers of individuals held at the facility and the personnel resource requirements to operate the facility,” the GAO report states.

But, as we regularly see in government, there is often little consensus—or cooperation—among agencies, even when they exist under the same umbrella. In this case the DHS, the gargantuan agency created after 9/11 to prevent another terrorist attack. Congressional investigators write that CBP pushed to keep the Tornillo camp open though it was hardly used. The 60,000-employee agency is charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. while facilitating lawful international travel and trade and apparently it pulled more weight than the frontline BP agents. “In contrast, CBP headquarters officials told us, despite the consistently low numbers of detainees held in the Tornillo facility, they decided to continue operations for the 2,500-person facility because they were operating in an environment with considerable uncertainty related to migrant flow and wanted to prepare for the possibility of increased apprehensions,” the report says.

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COVID-19 Recovery Panel Suggests Path for ‘Expeditious’ Return to Work

States should “expeditiously” allow Americans to go back to work in certain areas during the COVID-19 pandemic while proceeding cautiously with targeted mitigation, caring for the vulnerable, and making realistic boosts in testing and contact tracing, The Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission recommends.

The 17-member commission released a host of recommendations Monday designed to guide the private sector and governments at every level in reopening the coronavirus-battered economy.

The panel chaired by Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James also calls for the federal government to relax regulations to speed up innovation in health care.

The 17-page report, with 47 specific recommendations, emphasizes the need for President Donald Trump, Congress, and state and local leaders to exercise bipartisanship to restore public trust.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


The recommendations, approved after the group’s second meeting Monday, cover the first two phases of its five-phase plan for reopening America. These two phases are 1) “Return to a more normal level of business activity at the regional level based on scientific data” and 2) “Slow the spread of the coronavirus while expanding testing, reporting, and contact tracing.”

Still to come are the commission’s recommendations for three more phases: 3) “Continue to build the science,” 4) “Establish U.S. leadership in leading the free world in economic recovery,” and 5) “Reduce future risks of pandemics.”

“These initial recommendations for recovery provide governments at every level and the American people with a framework to slow the spread of the virus and to prudently begin getting back to work and to some sense of normal,” James said in a prepared statement.

“The commission is moving quickly to make sure our five-phase plan will save both lives and livelihoods,” she said. “I look forward to bringing these ideas to President Trump’s Great American Economic Revival effort and to the American people.”

The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission assembled by Heritage includes experts with experience in government, public health, disaster response and relief, academia and education, business, and religion.

Its suggestions come just days after the Trump administration released a three-phase approach for restarting the nation that will be decided on a state-by-state basis.

“Businesses in counties with low incidence should be allowed to reopen,” the report says, adding:

In some cases, it may be necessary to impose some limitations. For example, restaurants might have to limit the number of patrons they seat at any given time, and staff might be required to wear masks and gloves; grocers may continue  to take steps to ensure that commonly touched items are kept clean. Healthy, low-risk workers should be allowed to return to their jobs immediately, and vulnerable populations (the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions) should remain at home.

The report says states should continue to take steps to protect those at special risk for contracting the disease, such as the elderly, those in nursing homes, and those with preexisting conditions.

Individuals who develop coronavirus symptoms “should immediately notify their employer, remove themselves from the workplace, and self-isolate,” the report states.

The recommendations call for “repeat testing” in 48 hours if a symptomatic person tests negative. The result would determine whether a person returns to work or follows the latest mitigation guidance.

“Governors should also focus on the remaining populations unable to return to work, including individuals who do not feel comfortable returning to work but otherwise can be offered an antibody and an antigen test and then offered the opportunity to return to work,” the report says.

The commission recommends that states gather better data through targeted testing and contact tracing, but specifies that governors should “reject calls for complete testing of every American prior to loosening social distancing.”

States instead should “embrace targeted testing,” the commission says, adding: “We must not keep the economy shut down until universal testing is available.”

The panel also calls for testing asymptomatic Americans and “random-sample” testing” at the state and county levels to “help to determine the prevalence of the virus.”

States should develop contact tracing with privacy protections, the commission recommends. Contact tracing means determining who someone diagnosed with COVID-19 came in contact with in recent days.

“As very large numbers of those who are infected are asymptomatic, they do not know they have the virus and they pose a major threat to older Americans, particularly those that have certain underlying health conditions, such as cardiac and respiratory problems, or who suffer from diabetes and obesity, the report says.

The commission calls for containing virus infection hot spots and those areas where evidence suggests a hot spot is likely to develop, through “targeted mitigation measures.” The panel says public officials “should consider taking more aggressive steps to combat the contagion in these areas.”

On the state level, the commission also recommends that:

  •  Governors take the lead on “pro-business reforms to jump-start the economy and encourage consumer confidence.”
  • States help families return to work by making existing K-12 funding “student-centered and portable.”
  • States remove occupational licensing requirements and reduce regulatory burdens on essential services.

The commission suggests that local public health officials and governments at the county and municipal levels work to protect vulnerable populations, limit the spread of the virus, and ensure the health care system responds effectively. It says local officials should leverage “unique relationships” with community leaders, businesses, nonprofits, and the faith community to address local needs.

At the federal level, the commission calls for Trump to “direct federal agencies to provide additional access to information on the spread of the novel coronavirus, including [computer] modeling and data.”

The commission suggests the president should direct agencies not to enforce a range of regulations against small businesses, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“The commission recommends that the president call for a review of all regulations that inhibit economic growth and extend the two-for-one and centralized review requirements to the independent regulatory commissions and agencies,” the report states.

The Trump administration early on implemented a policy of rescinding two government regulations for every new one imposed.

The Department of Health and Human Services should do more to increase innovation in medicine, the commission says. Other relevant agencies should make permanent all “interim guidance and interim final rules streamlining crisis response,” it adds.

The commission says the administration should reduce tariffs to reinvigorate supply chains:

Unsurprisingly, global trade will decrease because of the coronavirus. The World Trade Organization has forecasted global trade to fall between 13% and 32% in 2020. The removal of U.S. tariffs would benefit the economy not only in the long term but would also help speed up recovery.

The commission’s report makes numerous recommendations to Congress, focused on containing the virus and on targeted and temporary economic relief that avoids bailouts. These suggested congressional actions include:

  • Provide funding to facilitate access to testing in coordination with the president.
  • Provide the executive branch the flexibility to suspend costly regulations without an extensive process.
  • Increase the charitable deduction cap for taxes.
  • Make authorized funding “portable” for children from low-income families and children with special needs so that the money could be used to pay for in-home tutors and behavioral therapies, among other uses.
  • Protect civil liberties while creating new programs related to testing, contact tracing, or any other public health measure.

Of civil liberties, the report says:

The erosion of civil liberties in the name of security is never temporary, as we have seen post–September 11. America must not devolve into a surveillance state; such power is always susceptible to abuse and is a distinct danger inherent in the deployment of contact-tracing technologies. Congress should both investigate privacy issues regarding utilization of IT [information technology] solutions and provide incentives for the development and deployment of those technologies consistent with American values and law.

The commission suggested that the private sector and civil society do more to inform and educate young people and minorities about COVID-19.

Faith-based groups and nongovernmental organizations should increase their focus on mental health, the commission says:

Community organizations are already noting mental health challenges for people experiencing social isolation and stress. Communities need programs designed to address mental health problems specifically related to the isolation of pandemic.

For the health care sector, the commission calls for ensuring that vulnerable populations don’t wind up at the bottom of the triage process.

“The elderly, medically fragile, and persons with significant disabilities should always be treated with dignity and a recognition of their inherent and equal worth as a human being, the report states.

When businesses open, it says, they should have a plan for doing so safely and responsibly:

Businesses have learned much about the value of work from home arrangements, and should continue to encourage and facilitate ‘work from home’ wherever possible. Where this is challenging, businesses should encourage and facilitate appropriate public health measures in the workplace, including as appropriate shift-work strategies and minimizing mass gatherings wherever possible.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

How and When Should States Reopen? This Congressman Has Answers

This Is How Big the COVID-19 CARES Act Relief Bill Is

Trump, Advisers Look to Specifics of Reopening Economy in Phases

The Truth About China and the Coronavirus

Free Market Group Calls on California, 4 Other States to Suspend Government Union Dues


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Defending Trump’s “Opening Up America Again”

Perhaps I am a bit edgy due to corona virus house arrest. Just kidding. However, this guy’s email really annoyed me.

We’re in lock down and people are hurting wondering how they will pay their bills. All this was not happening 4 years ago. Over the last 4 years we have continued to see our freedoms erode. Yet, some keep hoping Trump will be our savior. What has he done over the last 4 years? All I’ve seen was more decay.”

Here is my response:

Where do you think we would be had Hillary won? Trump has fought for our freedoms like no Republican since Reagan. He has Republicans, Democrats, never Trump conservatives and 99% of the media fighting against his America first agenda. I give the guy credit.”

Folks, I refuse to dump on the only guy with the guts to fight for us. Trump has accomplished an extraordinary long list of unprecedented achievements for We the People.

Corona virus placed Trump between a rock and a hard place. Upon learning about the corona virus, Trump immediately implemented a travel ban from China. Democrats and fake news media accused Trump of overreacting and racism.

Democrat and conservative media began reporting corona virus as the worst to hit the planet and we’re all gonna die. I stopped watching Tucker Carlson on Fox News because every evening his reporting about the virus became scarier and scarier. Media scared the crap out of Americans on both sides of the political aisle.

Some folks say Trump should not have gone along with Dr Anthony Fauci and other experts’ proven-false prediction of 2 million deaths. Trump could not challenge the “experts”. With nationwide fear so high, members of his base would have joined fake news media and Democrats in crucifying him. Therefore, I do not think Trump screwed up by appearing to listen to Dr Fauci. Trump did what he had to do. He did not willingly risk collapsing the remarkable economy he built via deregulation.

With the exception of Rush Limbaugh, pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle were afraid to oppose the shutdown. Everyone surrendered to the narrative, “We can not sacrifice lives for money.” Was Trump suppose to stand out there all alone, appearing to endanger lives by refusing to support the shutdown? Fake news media would have eaten him alive with many of his supporters joining them.

Trump is a master deal maker with excellent instincts. He had to go along with the program until more Americans realized that the predictions of catastrophic high deaths was fake news. People realize that the so-called corona virus crisis is Democrats’ dream weapon to unconstitutionally control every aspect of our lives.

I am hearing tons of heartbreaking horror stories about the shutdown destroying lives. Cruelly, Democrats and fake news media are lovin’ it. They plan to blame Trump for the economic suffering to stop his reelection. In realty, their insidious fear-mongering pushed America into this self-induced mess.

A 106 year old woman recovered from corona. Ninety-eight percent of people who catch corona virus recover. Rush Limbaugh pointed out that in 2018, the normal flu season caused 810,000 to be hospitalized and 30 to 60,000 died. Hospitals were not overrun and we did not shutdown the country. We are nowhere near such numbers with corona virus.

Still, a lot of Americans remain petrified of corona and oppose Trump reopening America. At the same time, many Americans are fed up with governors’ draconian edicts.

The swiftly growing nationwide rebellion against the shutdown gave Trump ammo to be the adult in the room. Despite the fears of many, Trump announced “Opening Up America Again” beginning May 1st. Trump said some states will reopen before May 1st. Governors are empowered to tailor the reopening of their state. It is up to residents of each state to aggressively protest to rein in their power-obsessed governor.

Speaking of wacko power-obsessed governors, California Gov Gavin Newsom implemented an extreme lock-down for residents while tent city vagrants and illegals roam free. Newsom’s boot on the neck of residents contributed to creating mile long lines of cars to get to Second Harvest Food Bank. Meanwhile, Newsom proudly announced he will give $125 million in corona relief checks to illegal aliens.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” How on earth did Gavin Newsom get elected? Californians should start saying no to Newsom’s insanity.

After Trump announced his plan to reopen America, CNN immediately began cranking up more corona virus fear to undermine reopening America. We all know that upon the first death after the reopen, Democrats and fake news media will call Trump a murderer, guilty of crimes against humanity. They’ll say ego-driven Trump selfishly sacrificed lives to save his economy. They will even find a way to absurdly throw racism into the mix.

Who in the political universe would be able to withstand such attacks other than our Superman president, Donald J. Trump? Trump’s leadership, guts and commitment to the American people will make him victorious over their evil smears.

I’m on the Trump Train, folks, riding it all the way through November 2020 and beyond.

© All rights reserved.

COVID-19 Damage Control: At What Cost?

This is not to say that the virus does not exist, nor that pockets of America do not suffer disproportionately from the health consequences of COVID-19. As the hysteria-driven lockdowns of coronavirus persist, constitutional conservatives are slowly emerging from under their beds.

Spear carriers for social isolation and economic constriction in America have reacted to critics with the same derision accorded wearers of red MAGA hats.

In less than thirty days, Americans have been persuaded to swap Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties in exchange for the illusion of protection from a virus that has touched a relative few.

However, neither the vast majority of Americans, nor family, friends, or neighbors, have been infected by the virus. Yet, the American public is expected – no, required – to support a one-size-fits-all national response that, to this writer, is akin to killing a flea with an elephant gun.

As international travel is acknowledged as the world’s COVID-19 courier, I’m led to an inescapable conclusion:

COVID-19 is, first and foremost, an unintended consequence of three factors, in order of significance: Open Borders movement, business globalization, and international tourism.

Presently, the nation of Sweden has the most relaxed posture in western Europe regarding COVID-19; she has no lockdown whatsoever. Many media pundits are nearly gleeful in reports of higher infection rates in Sweden compared to the rest of Europe. However, in its daily briefings on the virus, the Sweden Department of Public Health insists that its infection rate would be much lower, had the government enacted screening measures early on, for Swedish vacationers returning from Italy.

According to the state department of health here in Minnesota, our rate of infection as a percentage of the population is the lowest of any state in the nation.

The mean age for deaths attributed to COVID-19 here is 86. Pre-existing health problems accompany nearly all the fatalities, and the majority have been residents of nursing homes.

This past week, several meatpacking companies throughout the Midwest – names like Smithfield, Cargill, Tyson, and Brazilian conglomerate JBS – reported closures of plants in which anywhere from 20 to 80 employees tested positive for corona virus. What do nursing homes and meatpacking plants share in common? The majority of workers in both industries – industries hard-hit by labor shortages- are recent arrivals from third-world nations; populations for whom international travel is commonplace.

New York City – the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States – is also America’s symbol for the “nation of immigrants.” Additionally, she is a preeminent international business center. Business travelers from across the globe travel in and out of New York City by the hundreds every single day.

Finally, New York City may be the most popular tourist destination in America for foreign travelers. Walk down Fifth Avenue on any given weekend in Autumn if there is any doubt.

Is it any wonder, then, that COVID-19 fatalities in the New York Tri-state area make up as much as half of the nation’s COVID-related deaths?

What we are witnessing is the unintended consequence of unbridled, open borders migration, be it for business, escaping third world poverty, or tourism.

Globalists are hard at work on damage control. Their messengers of doomsday scenarios will claim victory regardless of the outcome. If the death count is high, they’ll say “we told you so”. If the death rate is low, they’ll take credit for convincing the world to heed their warnings.

And let’s not forget the icing on the cake.

Leftists the world over are not about to pass up an opportunity to exploit a crisis that could hurt the President’s re-election campaign. If turning a blind eye to civil liberties sends President Trump packing and derails the conservative/national sovereignty contingent, well, you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette. Collateral damaged be damned.

And the collateral damage? There are many versions of death. Nearly all agree that economic recovery will be long and drawn out, at best. The fallout will certainly be the death knell for many rural towns throughout the Midwest that have been hanging on by fingernails for years as it is. Hospitals will go broke. Record numbers face unemployment. Children are kept from schooling. Small retail businesses and the hospitality industry are crushed, many for good. Socializing is verboten. All in the name of containing a virus for which attributable deaths in New York’s Tri-state area (a population of nearly 20 million) make up roughly FIVE ONE HUNDREDTHS OF ONE PERCENT of its population.

My late mother, a nurse, had a one-liner of dark humor she picked up on the hospital floor: “the operation was a complete success, and the patient died.”

NOTE: This is a guest column by my friend Bob Enos of Willmar, Minnesota.  Regular readers of Refugee Resettlement Watch may remember Bob who compiled a great deal of information on the economic cost of migrant and refugee labor and wrote several articles for RRW in the past.

Watch Mr. Enos give a presentation to a county board meeting in 2015 about his economic analysis of the cost to the county and state of the immigrant labor that benefits large global corporations at taxpayers’ expense.

Go here to read previous posts at RRW either written by him or about his work.

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

It’s Time to Privatize the United States Postal Service

The country would be wise to let the market take a shot at cleaning up government waste.


Last week, the Trump administration unveiled a proposal to privatize the United States Postal Service (USPS). The plan comes as part of a broader initiative to trim and reorganize the federal government. And given its track record of waste and inefficiency, the USPS is a great place to start cutting the fat.

“USPS’s current model is unsustainable. Major changes are needed in how the Postal Service is financed and the level of service Americans should expect from their universal service operator,” the White House’s new proposal reads. The plan goes on to say that the administration plans to “fix” the post office before beginning the process of privatization. “USPS privatization through an initial public offering (IPO) or sale to another entity would require the implementation of significant reforms prior to sale to show a possible path to profitability.”

In terms of “fixing” the post office before taking it out of the hands of the government, the Trump administration has proposed reassessing the USPS’s ties with labor unions. This would give the new owners of the post office more freedom to set wages and provide benefits that are economically realistic.

The document reads:

“Freeing USPS to more fully negotiate pay and benefits rather than prescribing participation in costly federal personnel benefit programs, and allowing it to follow private sector practices in compensation and labor relations, could further reduce costs.”

As it stands today, much of the financial mess the USPS has found itself in is because of the exorbitant benefits programs that come with collective bargaining. In fact, as it stands today, the USPS still owes over $100 billion to its retiree health benefits fund.

It should come as no surprise that the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) have joined the likes of Bernie Sanders in opposing privatization. Commenting on the matter the NALC President Fredric Rolando said:

“NALC has long been committed to working with all of the stakeholders and not one has floated the idea of privatization except private shippers, who would love nothing more than to see the Postal Service dismantled. Now that we know that this administration and its Task Force will make recommendations on reforms to achieve OMB’s privatization goals, NALC will work tirelessly with other stakeholders and Congress to oppose this faulty privatization plan every step of the way to preserve this public institution, which is based in the Constitution.”

To be sure, when Rolando speaks of other “stakeholders” he is speaking about the other labor unions who have a vested interest in seeing this perpetual cycle of inefficiency continue, so long as they continue cashing checks. In fact, Mark Dimondstein, the president of the American Postal Workers Union echoed this sentiment, calling the privatization proposal “draconian” and predicting that it “would end regular mail and package services at an affordable cost.”

But as it stands currently, costs are hardly affordable. In addition to the billions of taxpayer dollars used to fund the post office, “consumers” also have to pay to use the USPS services, which essentially means that post office patrons are actually paying twice.

But all this just speaks to the larger point that the post office has been an incompetent disaster for far too long. It is about time some sort of action was taken.

No one looks to the post office as a beacon of government competence. Actually, no one looks to the post office for any sense of efficiency at all. And while the United States Postal Service has frequently found itself at the butt of many jokes, the truth of the matter is that its incompetence is costing the American taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

For the last 11 years in a row, the post office has experienced financial losses. In 2012, it was revealed that the USPS had experienced a net loss of $15.9 billion dollars. In 2013, this number decreased to a still enormous $4.8 billion, followed by $5.3 billion in 2014. As far as fiscal year 2018 is concerned, the Postal Service has already reported a $1.3 billion dollar loss. If any private company had experienced net losses to the tune of several billions of dollars, they would quickly find themselves out of business. But the post office is a beast of a different color.

As the USPS is a government protected monopoly, it does not have to respond to market demand. And since the taxpayers are on the hook for funding the USPS regardless of its performance, there are almost no consequences for its ineptitude. In fact, in many cases, it has been rewarded for its incompetence by having more money thrown in its direction.

It might be easier for Americans to look the other way and ignore all the wasteful spending if the post office actually held some sort of relevance in our daily lives. But in the digital age, there is really no justification for extorting money from taxpayers in order to pay for an outdated service that most people do not need. All correspondence can now be done through email and online shopping has completely replaced the need to send off for physical retail catalogs. Most bills are also already sent through email, with many companies even offering discounts for going “paperless.”

While congressional approval is needed before any manner of privatization can occur, it has been met with opposition by both members of Congress and labor unions. Unfortunately, the term “privatize” scares many, who fear what might happen if the post office is put in the hands of “greedy capitalists.”

Luckily for the critics, the post office serves almost no purpose in our digital age, making these concerns virtually unfounded. Not to mention, considering the USPS’s reputation for inefficiency and waste, it would take a great deal of effort for the private sector to do a worse job than the government has done.

Bernie Sanders recently expressed his concerns over Trump’s plans for the post office, saying:

“If the goal of the Postal Service is to make as much money as possible, tens of millions of people, particularly low-income people and people in rural areas, will see a decline in or doing away with basic mail services.”

But those who, like Sanders, are wary of putting the post office in the hands of the private sector might be surprised to learn that many European countries began privatizing their postal systems years ago. And it didn’t end in a disaster. For example, when Germany privatized the Deutsche Post in 1995, it helped saved the country’s mail system.

In the wake of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany was ready for change. Much like the USPS, prior to privatization, the Deutsche Post was slow and costly. Eager to get this wasteful agency out of the state budget, Germany decided to experiment with privatization. While the process was rather long, privatizing the German post and giving it control over its own operations allowed it to function like an actual business.

Now able to make decisions without the input of state authorities, Deutsche Post was able to implement policies that saved vast amounts of money. Instead of hiring new couriers to replace those who had retired, the German post opted to leave the positions vacant. They also centralized routes to save money where they could. Coincidentally, this plan to centralize routes is also part of the proposal by the Trump administration.

The only law that the German government placed on the Deutsche Post was to mandate that letters were to be delivered to all areas of the country, meaning no one could be excluded.

Sure, this one stipulation did give the government a little control over the post, but it was far preferable to the previous situation. Since it was now privately controlled, Deutsche Post was still able to make the important budget decisions that ultimately led to its eventual success. In fact, the German privatization model was so successful, it now runs the DHL shipping company. And while the German model provides a beacon to look to abroad, even the United States has had its own experiment in privatizing the mail.

In 1844, Lysander Spooner was frustrated by the increasing costs of the USPS. Recognizing that as a government monopoly, the post office was exempt from having to actually care about its consumers’ needs, Spooner founded The American Letter Mail Company. Charging less and providing better services than the USPS, Spooner’s venture became a direct competitor to the almighty state.

However, while the American Letter Mail Company did end up having several locations in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, the USPS was not impressed. Angered by Spooner’s success, the government made threats to railroad companies who preferred Spooner’s services. When the state fought back, the Circuit Court actually began to doubt that the government had any authority to monopolize the mail. While the Constitution does give the government the power to run the Postal Service, it does not explicitly bar other companies from competing with state-run services. However, the state sought legislative action against Spooner, reinforcing its monopoly.

Commenting on the advantage private enterprise has over government-run  services, Spooner wrote:

“Universal experience attests that government establishments cannot keep pace with private enterprise in matters of business — (and the transmission of letters is a mere matter of business.) Private enterprise has always the most active physical powers, and the most ingenious mental ones. It is constantly increasing its speed, and simplifying and cheapening its operations. But government functionaries, secure in the enjoyment of warm nests, large salaries, official honors and power, and presidential smiles — all of which they are sure of so long as they are the partisans of the President — feel few quickening impulses to labor, and are altogether too independent and dignified personages to move at the speed that commercial interests require. They take office to enjoy its honors and emoluments, not to get their living by the sweat of their brows.”

Governments love to think inside the box. In fact, they are almost incapable of operating in any other fashion. But this has led to major inefficiencies, which, in the case of the USPS, have become too expensive to ignore. While Congress would need to approve this plan before any measure of privatization can occur, our elected officials would be wise to look at the options the private sector has to offer. If we are truly seeking prosperity, rather than financial insolvency, then the country would be wise to let the market take a shot at cleaning up government waste.

COLUMN BY

Brittany Hunter

Brittany was a senior writer for the Foundation for Economic Education. Additionally, she is a co-host of Beltway Banthas, a podcast that combines Star Wars and politics. Brittany believes that the most effective way to promote individual liberty and free-market economics is by telling timely stories that highlight timeless principles.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Trump Outlines 3-Phase Approach to ‘Opening Up America Again’ Amid COVID-19


CLICK HERE FOR THE GUIDELINES TO

OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN


President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a cautious, three-phase approach—one that still gives wide latitude to governors—for reopening the shuttered economy in states that have had low rates of transmission of COVID-19.

“Based on the latest data, our team of experts now agrees that we can begin the next front in our war, which we’re calling, ‘Opening up America again,’” Trump said. “… We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time.”

The president has said he would like to see the economy moving again by—or even before—May 1 in some states. He said the plan is based on “hard, verifiable data” and that the peak death rate from the disease is now behind us.

When can America reopen? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, is gathering America’s top thinkers together to figure that out. Learn more here.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


“Thanks to our all-out military operation and the extraordinary devotion of our people, we believe we will experience far fewer deaths than even the optimistic projections,” Trump said.

“We have incredible people that we’re working with, and we’re going to bring our country back, and it’s going to be bigger and better and stronger than ever before,” he said.

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, presented slides to explain the phases of the process of reopening the country. Birx said each phases would be “related to 14 days of decreasing evidence of illness.”

  • Phase one is designed to “mitigate the risk of resurgence” and would allow public venues, such as arenas, theaters, and restaurants to reopen, only under certain social distancing conditions. However, “all vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place,” and low-risk individuals should continue social distancing.
  • Phase two only applies for regions with no evidence of a reboundVisits to hospitals, nursing homes, and similar locations will remain prohibited. However, schools, day care centers, and camps can reopen, and nonessential travel can resume. Public venues can begin to ease social distancing restrictions.
  • Phase three is also for states or areas with no evidence of a rebound, but has fewer restrictions than phase two. Even vulnerable individuals would have more freedom, but should still practice social distancing, while others are urged to avoid “crowded environments.”

The president noted that “benchmarks must be met at each phase.”

Reacting to the president’s plan, Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James stressed that “good public health policy is good economic policy.”

“The administration is rightly working to restore livelihoods in the midst of catastrophic job losses, while also taking care to balance Americans’ health and safety,” said James, who is also chairwoman of The Heritage Foundation’s 17-member National Coronavirus Recovery Commission. The panel is working to provide recommendations to federal, state, and local governments, as well as to the private sector.

“I look forward to working with the administration to help move prudently toward getting Americans’ lives back to normal,” she added.

Vice President Mike Pence said the phased approach will focus on preventing recurrence of the coronavirus in states where it has declined.

“There is a focus in the president’s new guidelines on the most vulnerable,” Pence said. “We made this very clear to the governors today. These new guidelines for opening up America again can be implemented on a statewide basis or on a county-by-county basis.”

“The predominant and completely driving element that we put into this was the safety and the health of the American public,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who also serves on the White House’s coronavirus task force.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Canada’s Government-Run Health Care Buckles Under COVID-19

How Far Can the Government Restrain Citizens’ Lives During COVID-19? What You Need to Know

Can the President Adjourn Congress and Make Appointments Without Senate Confirmation?

As Joblessness Soars, Paycheck Protection Program Needs More Money, Fast

China Keeps Suppressing Religion While Squelching Truth About COVID-19

RELATED VIDEO: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Trump Set to Lay Out Plan for Reopening America

President Donald Trump intends to announce guidelines Thursday for states to “reopen” as the nation makes progress against the coronavirus pandemic.

“The data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new [COVID-19] cases. Hopefully, that will continue,” Trump said Wednesday evening in the Rose Garden at the White House. “These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country, which we’ll be announcing tomorrow.”

Trump also threatened to use his “constitutional authority” to adjourn both houses of Congress so that he could make recess appointments because Senate Democrats continue to block dozens of his nominations, some of which he said are important in the fight against COVID-19.

Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution grants the president the power, “on extraordinary occasions,” to “convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper.”


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Trump said he and the White House coronavirus task force will brief governors Thursday on the guidelines to reopen the country, then announce them to the public.

The president said the change won’t happen all at once, since each state is different.

“We’ll be opening up states, some much sooner than others,” Trump said.  “We think some of the states can actually open up before the deadline of May 1, and I think that will be a very exciting time indeed. Governors are looking forward, they are chomping at the bit to get going.”

Trump spoke to industry leaders and CEOs earlier Wednesday in a conference call to get feedback on reopening the nation’s economy, among them Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James.

Trump announced Tuesday that James is among influential leaders named to 17 “Great American Economic Revival” groups that he would consult on getting the country back to work.

“I am grateful to work with President Trump alongside economists, scholars, and industry leaders on the Great American Economic Revival,” James said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to developing plans to get Americans back to work as soon as it’s safe to do so and helping the nation recover from COVID-19.”

James, named by the president to the “thought leaders” group, continued:

“Heritage recently formed the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, bringing together experts in medicine, economics, business, government, disaster relief, and education to develop recommendations to save both the lives and livelihoods of Americans from this pandemic and provide our nation’s leaders with a road map to reopen America when the time comes to do so safely. I am excited to bring those recommendations to the president’s Great American Economic Revival team.”

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

Trump administration officials note that while there are coronavirus hot spots in the Northeast and former hot spots on the West Coast, 25 states have fewer than 2,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nine states have fewer than 1,000.

The U.S. has seen 605,390 cases of COVID-19 and 24,582 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although Vice President Mike Pence put the death toll at over 27,000 Wednesday evening.

Responding to reporters’ questions, Trump again said that the federal government has the authority to require individual states to reopen. But, he said, he prefers not to take that route.

“If we’re not happy, we’ll take very strong action against a state or a governor,” Trump said. “If we’re not happy with the job a governor is doing, we’ll let them know about it. As you know, we have very strong action we can take, including a close-down. But we don’t want to do that. We’re working with the governors.”

Pence, a former Indiana governor as well as congressman, has been the president’s point man in communicating with governors.

The vice president, who also chairs the White House’s coronavirus task force, noted that 3.3 million tests for COVID-19 have been administered, yielding 619,000 positive results.

Still, Pence noted, 24% of all counties in the United States have zero confirmed cases of the contagious disease caused by the new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

“Sadly, we mourn the loss of more than 27,000 of our countrymen,” Pence said. “Despite the heartbreaking losses, we are getting there, America.”

Rhode Island is getting hard hit by COVID-19 cases that originate in New York City and Boston, even as those cities are seeing a decline, said Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the task force.

Birx said things are looking up, but offered a sober warning.

“I will just remind the American people again, this is a highly contagious virus. Social gatherings, coming together, there is always a chance that an asymptomatic person can spread the virus unknowingly,” Birx said, adding:

No one is intending to spread the virus. We know if you are sick you will stay home. But to all of you out there that would like to join together and just have that dinner party for 20, don’t do it yet. Continue to follow the presidential guidelines. We really appreciate the work of the American people.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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Public Health Steps Should Benefit, Not Punish, the Public


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

GOVERNMENT CHARITY: More Loss, Debt and Inflation

“What I’m not saying is that all government spending is bad. It’s not – far, far from it, but there is no free lunch, as a former colleague of mine used to say. There is no public tooth fairy. Father Christmas does not work on the Treasury staff this year. You can never bail someone out of trouble without putting someone else into trouble.” – Arthur Laffer

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” –  Thomas Jefferson

“I have never believed in the fallacy that the federal government can buy its way out of economic troubles through needless spending. For that reason, I am proud to oppose ‘stimulus’ packages and endless corporate bailouts, which will do little but weaken the long-term integrity of the American economy.” – John Fleming

“The appropriation of public money always is perfectly lovely until someone is asked to pay the bill…the people will have to furnish more revenue by paying more taxes.” – President Calvin Coolidge

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.” –  James Madison


No society can safeguard public health for long at the cost of economic health.  Whenever massive government interventions have been tried, they have always ended in poverty, scarcity, and too often, mass death and genocide.  The further government takes its power, the harder it will be to wrest it back.  And it has already gone way too far.

We need to pull out of this global shutdown as soon as possible, in fact America never should have been shut down, but the socialist politicians will not easily give up all the police powers they have accumulated over these many Covid-19 weeks.  They have habituated the sheep of America into a “new normal,” a normal that is causing suicides, drug and alcohol addition, and domestic abuse. The shutdown is killing the economy and is no good for our health.

This virus and the stimulus will only result in more loss, debt and inflation.

Congressmen Thomas Massie and Andy Biggs

There are two Republican members of Congress who uphold the Constitution on a regular basis.  They are not always in good graces with the rest of their party in doing so, but they abide by the U.S. Constitution.  I hope they know there are Americans who appreciate their stance and love for country.

Thomas Massie (R-KY) demanded a recorded tally as opposed to a voice vote on the $2.2 trillion ‘‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘‘CARES Act.”  Rep. Massie tweeted, “I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously. In a few moments I will request a vote on the CARES Act which means members of Congress will vote on it by pushing ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘present.’”  Thomas Massie has repeatedly spoken out against stay-at-home measures and business closures amid the pandemic.

Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) was right there with Massie.  Both of them knew it was important for Americans to know how their representatives voted on this bill.

President Trump excoriated Rep. Massie. “He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous … and costly,” Trump tweeted of Massie. “Workers and small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault. It is ‘HELL’ dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the ‘big picture’ done. 90 percent GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”

Throw Massie out?  He and Andy Biggs are two of the finest old right constitutional conservatives in Congress!  I’m sorry President Trump, but your words were malicious and defamatory.

This was the first time I was ashamed of what my President said to a representative who has a 98% conservative voting record and consistently relies on and votes for the Constitution of the United States.

Massie ultimately failed when the House approved the package, but his effort was noted by Americans who love their constitution.  President Trump responded in a negative way to Congressman Massie. Trump loves America and her citizens and he is under great stress trying to help us through this horrid communist China inflicted debacle, but a day or two more wouldn’t have made a difference.  Both of these Congressmen support the president and Tom Massie is owed a public apology and a private phone call.

A yea or nay vote was taken, and we do not know who voted against it other than these two Congressmen.  We know that when Speaker Pelosi returned from vacation, she added enough pork into the bill that had nothing to do with rescuing those who lost jobs and businesses thanks to the politicians shutting down the country and destroying the booming economy and stock market.

Former Congressman Ron Paul called the recent measures to control the spread of COVID-19 a “grab bag” for some in government.  He said what he is worried about is that some in government have inflated the risk and response for their own political gain.  “I think it’s blown way out of proportion to the danger. People who want more government power and more control over people and want to get big appropriations and get their special deals passed, that’s what’s happening now,” Paul said of federal and state government responses to the virus.

Pelosi Pork

The Covid-19 relief aid gave $25 million to the Kennedy Center, $350 million to refugee resettlement, $75 million to PBS, $25 million went to congressional salaries and expenses, a $10 billion loan to the post office, and $150 million in funding to the National Endowment of the Arts and National Endowment of the Humanities.  Her additions are amoral.

Critically, that $150 million comes in the form of grants with no expectation of being paid back. Meanwhile, much of the funding afforded to small businesses in the bill comes in the form of loans, which the companies will have to reimburse.

The word “sunscreen” appears dozens of times, 49 to be exact, in the CARES Act, and it’s thanks to the Treatment of Sunscreen Innovation Act (SIA) being placed into the bill. The Act requires FDA to provide a streamlined approach to approving new over-the-counter sunscreen ingredients, including evaluating applications that an ingredient is safe and effective on an expedited timeline.

What in heaven’s name does this Act have to do with rescuing workers and families in this ungodly crisis — except to say that powerful members of Congress are skilled in never letting a crisis go to waste.  Even the New York Times editorial board wailed that “the urgency of the moment does not justify the egregious misuse of public resources.” Someone should tell Nancy Pelosi the news.

Art Laffer on Stimulus

Several weeks ago, Art Laffer was on Stuart Varney’s program.  Varney was discussing how the “rescue plan” was stalled and that it needed to be passed to save the people. Varney has obviously banned Art from his program even though Art was telling the truth. Laffer was dead set against the stimulus and called the bill “a helicopter money proposal” of handouts that has a bad track record historically.  “It never works, it just causes the problem to get worse and worse,” said Laffer, known for his “Laffer curve.”  “You don’t tax people who work and pay people who don’t work and expect more work,” he said.  Laffer believes the stimulus is extending the self-induced recession.

Laffer noted he’s “been on all of these crises on the inside, from Nixon in 71-72 … through Jerry Ford, up to the present.”

He proposes, instead, cutting the payroll tax for the next seven to eight months “to make sure that it’s more attractive for people to work and more attractive for companies to hire.”  I agree with him.

And he suggests guaranteeing or granting liquidity loans to businesses to help them stay afloat.  “Just the payroll tax cut and liquidity lending,” he said.

Laffer took a shot at Congress. “Whenever politicians make decisions, whether they are panicked or drunk, the consequences are rarely attractive,” he said.  Link

And now, we are printing trillions of dollars that we don’t have…hello to massive inflation.

The Davy Crockett Charity Story

There are a number of stories about Davy Crockett voting against charitable donations that should not come out of the largesse of the U.S. treasury.  However, none of them are historically authentic.  Here are the true facts.  Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it avail monies from the treasury to be given to anyone, including American citizens.  It is to be used to run the federal government.

Article 1, Section 8, gives the enumerated powers of the federal government delegated to Congress. The first is the power to tax and to spend the money raised by taxes, to provide for the nation’s defense and general welfare. These were terms transferred from the Articles of Confederation and understood by the men at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, but obviously not by today’s congressional creatures.

This section was supplemented by the 16th amendment, which permitted Congress to levy an income tax, which would not have been approved of by our founders.

Although the Spending Clause is the source of congressional authority to levy taxes, it permits the levying of taxes for two purposes only: to pay the debts of the United States, and to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. Taken together, these purposes have traditionally been held to imply and constitute the “Spending Power.”

Unfortunately, Alexander Hamilton’s broad reading of Art. 1, Sec. 8, met with opposition from many of the other Founders. James Madison repeatedly argued that the power to tax and spend did not confer upon Congress the right to do whatever it thought to be in the best interest of the nation, but only to further the ends specifically enumerated elsewhere in the Constitution, a position supported by Thomas Jefferson.

Nevertheless, today, the term “general welfare” is gravely overused to the nation’s demise.  Thus, we see this unconstitutional welfare giveaway that should never have happened, and neither should the shutdown of this nation ever have happened.

Conclusion

Oh, how I wish to write about something other than the virus and America’s police state, but every day more comes to the fore to counter the lies of “experts” and the mainstream media.

The real threat is not the virus, but the spirit of fear spread by federal, state and local governments with the help of the democratic socialists in mainstream media.

Fear is not from the Almighty, it is from the enemy.  God actually commands us not to fear, or worry. The phrase “fear not” is used at least 80 times in the Bible, most likely because He knows the enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories.

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.  Deuteronomy 31:6

But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.  Proverbs1:33

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  II Timothy 1:7

This is Holy Week for both Jews and Christians as we celebrate Passover and Easter.  May the Lord give us all a spirit of peace, love, and joy in Him.

© All rights reserved.

Coronavirus Commission Examines How to Get America Back to Work

Before many Americans are able to go back to work, the country will have to reach four goals amid the COVID-19 pandemic, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said as the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission began to study related issues.

“No. 1, we need to stop the spread. That has not been stopped,” Frist, a physician who is a member of the commission assembled by The Heritage Foundation, said of the new coronavirus Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

Second, Frist said, the nation must gear up “contact testing.”

“We have to identify who has the disease and then who they have been in contact with, and we need to develop that infrastructure in every community across America,” the former senator from Tennessee said.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


“No. 3, we need to define the science,” Frist said, adding: “So we need to further define how long a person has been exposed [and] how good their immunity is in going back to work.”

Fourth is a gradual return to work “community by community, not state by state,” following stay-at-home orders at the state and local levels, he said, while the federal government is encouraging social distancing and coordinating the national response.

The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission includes experts from public health, business, and government who will identify steps needed to rebuild the economy after the pandemic.

The commission’s first formal meeting, to be held remotely, is set for Thursday.

The meeting comes ahead of what the federal government expects to be the peak week for deaths from COVID-19. The United States has logged 419,975 confirmed cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus and 14,262 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Commission member George Allen, a former U.S. senator and governor of Virginia, said a short-term goal for the nation is to increase production of protective masks and COVID-19 tests to meet the need.

“We need a Manhattan Project approach on antiviral therapeutics that could be produced four to six months before the winter onslaught when recurrence occurs, because the vaccine is going to take over a year and that’s assuming this coronavirus doesn’t mutate,” Allen said during the conference call.

The Manhattan Project was the name of America’s secret effort during World War II to develop the atomic bomb.

Allen predicted that some moderate social distancing is “here to stay,” while teleworking likely is going to be more common even in the long term.

“It’s going to change our society the same way 9/11 has changed our society,” he said of COVID-19.

Allen also called for breaking American dependence on China for pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies.

“We as Americans should no longer be vulnerable to adversarial countries for our supply chain of medicines, pharmaceuticals, and medical services,” Allen said, adding:

Heck, people wouldn’t even feed their dogs dog food from China or want Sheetrock from China. So why should we have our medicines and some of these masks and so forth coming in from China when we can make it here? If not here, then our neighbors in Canada and Mexico can make it.

Two policy experts from The Heritage Foundation, Paul Winfree and Charmaine Yoest, serve as executive directors of the commission.

“We believe fundamentally that good public health policy is going to lead to good economic policy,” said Yoest, vice president of Heritage’s Institute for Family, Community and Opportunity and former president and CEO of Americans United for Life.

“The two have to move forward hand in hand,” said Yoest, who served for almost a year as assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services early in the Trump administration. “Once the American people are confident of the health approach, they’ll start feeling confident about going back to work and jump-starting the economy.”

The “big question” the commission will confront is how to expedite an economic recovery through the actions of federal, state, and local policymakers, said Winfree, director of Heritage’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, who was deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council during the first year of the Trump administration.

“One of the questions that has come out of the Trump administration is this question about whether we are going to see a V-shaped recovery or whether we are going to experience it for a longer season,” Winfree said.

“I think it’s critical for anything we end up doing from here on out, [to] make sure that folks remain attached to their places of work so that whenever we defeat the disease, ultimately we can get America back to work and cooking again as quickly as possible,” he said.

Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James is the commission’s chairwoman. James was director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush and Virginia secretary of health and human resources while Allen was governor.

Commission members also include former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla.; John A. Allison IV, former CEO of BB&T Bank and retired president of the Cato Institute; Lawrence J. Blanford, president of Green Mountain Coffee; Kevin P. Chavous, president of academics, policy, and schools at K12.com; former Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner; and Timothy E. Flanigan, chief legal officer for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Also members are Noe Landini, CEO of Rex Management; the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Nelson J. Sabatini, former Maryland secretary of health; Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center; and Frances F. Townsend, executive vice president of MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings.

The commission also includes former White House physician and retired Brig. Gen. Richard J. Tubb; Gail Wilensky, economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE; and Robert L. Woodson Sr., founder and president of the Woodson Center.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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COVID-19 Should Make Us Appreciate Miracle of Life, Not Make Abortions ‘Essential’


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Why Accepting Even Two Million Covid-19 Deaths May be Better Than a National Lockdown

We’ve heard much during the Wuhan flu crisis about a “worst case scenario” of two million dead Americans, a staggering number. But missing from the national conversation is something equally important:

What’s the worst case scenario given our present course of action, largely locking down the country and freezing life like an insect stuck in amber?

What if worse coming to worst means a great depression, descent into tyranny, millions more dead from other causes and a permanently impoverished nation?

Almost the entire virus debate has centered around whether the experts are correct about the infectivity and virulence of the disease and in their projections (which have often been drastically wrong). But even if we assume that the experts having the government’s ear — and there are dissenters who don’t — are absolutely inerrant in their expressed judgments, there’s a problem with just “listening to the health professionals’” prescriptions:

Like most everyone else, these individuals have only a narrow range of expertise; they are epidemiologists, virologists, infectious disease specialists, etc.

They are not epidemiologists-cum-philosophers/political scientists/sociologists/economists.

So they provide counsel on how to achieve a narrow goal contemplated from a narrow perspective. This is not a put-down. It is their job to do just that.

Congruent with this, these experts consider the health related consequences of the disease, not the civilizational-health related consequences of their cure — which may be worse than the disease.

The latter is the job of statesmen, commentators, academics and the wider population. All these groups, unfortunately, are found wanting in this.

Unemployment claims are at a record high, but I don’t have to tell you how the current lockdowns are ravaging our economy. Many businesses and jobs will never come back, yet this concern not only is just the iceberg’s tip, it isn’t even, as critics may say, just about “money” — because money isn’t just about “money.”

Money represents resources, people’s capacity to obtain food, shelter, clothing, health care, education and everything else that preserves life and makes it worth living. Note here that poverty is associated with a host of negative health and health-related risks, such as a higher incidence of manifold diseases, depression, anxiety, stress related disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse and crime.

Yet even more must be considered. Remember now that if the following seems radical, it is a worst case scenario. And if we can consider the worst case scenario on one side of the equation, we must for balance and perspective consider the worst case scenario on the other side as well.

What if locking down the nation means causing a great depression lasting a decade or more?

What if this economic disaster leads, as history teaches it can, to the rise of demagogues and loss of freedom?

What if there are consequently millions more deaths from other causes due to economic malaise and descent toward tyranny?

What if, in other words, we essentially destroy our civilization as we know it?

Will it have been worth it to ensure there’d be fewer Wuhan virus deaths — even two million, shocking though that number is? Civilizational destruction, something permanent, would be a steep price to pay to combat a pandemic, something temporary.

Know that I’m not insensitive to the vulnerable’s plight. Near and dear to me are two people in an extreme high-risk category and a handful of others somewhat at risk, and I have an in-law physician relative who contracted the virus, began treating herself with hydroxychloroquine and is currently hospitalized. But I also recognize the truth of economist Thomas Sowell’s observation that sometimes in life “there are no solutions; there are only tradeoffs.” Are we making the right tradeoff now?

I’ll emphasize that my worst case scenario isn’t at all fanciful. Many are concerned about a depression resulting from our lockdowns and about the erosion of freedom as people, as people will, trade liberty for security. In fact, The New York Times, of all entities, recently ran a headline warning, “For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power.”

“Leaders around the world have passed emergency decrees and legislation expanding their reach during the pandemic,” the paper writes in its subhead before asking, “Will they ever relinquish them?”

Anyone who grasps the nature of power — and of the power hungry — won’t bet the answer is yes.

Now ask yourself: If the given amount of power is currently being seized, what would happen in an infinitely worse situation such as lockdown-caused depression and social upheaval?

Speaking of autocrats, the mainstream media have rightly been castigated for doing despotic China’s bidding and touting its “response” to the virus; never mind that China created this problem and that its response’s immediate effectiveness is actually unknown because Beijing lies like it breathes. But what if China has responded rightly, not in its tyrannical measures but in one respect?

What if Beijing’s apparent decision to get people back to work and accept virus related deaths leaves it stronger over the long term? There is some possibility, a scary one, that China could emerge from this as the world’s superpower — a status it craves — under our worst case scenario.

Also consider Sweden. That it continues commerce and life largely unchanged and is striving for “herd immunity” may be instructive. Are we just prolonging the inevitable?

Of course, one lockdown motivation is to slow the virus’s spread so that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that there won’t be a true turning point until a vaccine is developed. Yet some say this could be 18 months away, an eternity in lockdown terms.

In the meantime, restoring normal commerce and freedom without experiencing increased virus contagion appears unlikely. But since such restoration would be beneficial, focusing on developing herd immunity while pursuing wide-scale testing and the insulating of vulnerable groups may be the wiser course.

Remember, too, that we’ve been through this before. During the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19, 675,000 Americans died; adjusted for today’s US population this amounts to a bit more than two million people — exactly our worst case scenario number.

We weathered that pandemic, of course. But people were far different then, and, correspondingly, we’re far different politically today. If President Trump advocated the Swedish model and there were hundreds of thousands of deaths, never mind two million, every one would be laid at his doorstep and he’d likely be ousted from office (as it is, it was already suggested last month that Trump may be guilty of “negligent homicide”). The same could befall any governor acting likewise, never mind that he might have helped save the future — because the alternate future would never be known.

This is why I know certain things. No, I don’t have definitive answers; this is a fluid, serious situation with many unknowns, and we all should act responsibly and not claim knowledge we don’t possess. But I do know some questions, as posed above, that should be asked and maturely debated. I also know this won’t likely happen, given man’s nature in general and the state of our politics and media in particular.

This is why we’d better hope for a highly efficacious Wuhan virus treatment — and fast. Because if we’re going to lockdown our nation for months on end, well, we may learn the hard way that we might as well have just thrown away the key.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Gab (preferably) or Twitter, or log on to SelwynDuke.com.

© All rights reserved.

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