Liberals and conservatives are approaching the COVID-19 pandemic through very different moral frameworks.
In a 2008 TED Talk, psychologist Jonathan Haidt said the worst idea in psychology is the notion that humans are born as a “blank slate.”
Like the cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, Haidt was rejecting the notion that the human mind is a blank slate at birth, an idea that can be traced to thinkers from Aristotle, to John Locke, to B.F. Skinner and beyond.
“Developmental psychology has shown that kids come into the world already knowing so much about the physical and social worlds and programmed to make it really easy for them to learn certain things and hard to learn others,” explained Haidt, a Professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Citing research from the brain scientist Gary Marcus, Haidt said the initial organization of the brain essentially comes with a “first draft.” Studying the anthropological and historical records, Haidt found that five pillars of morality exist across disciplines, cultures, and even species:
What’s interesting is that these moral pillars differ sharply across ideological lines in America today. Haidt found that both conservatives and liberals recognize the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity values (though liberals value these a little more than conservatives). Things change, however, when examining the three remaining foundational values—loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. While conservatives accept these moral values, liberal-minded people tend to reject them.
The difference is extraordinary, and it helps explain the different ways Republicans and Democrats are experiencing the coronavirus. In May, a CNBC/Change Research survey found that while only 39 percent of Republicans said they had serious concerns about COVID-19, 97 percent of Democrats said they had serious concerns.
While some of the divergence could stem from the fact that blue states have been hit harder by COVID-19 than red states, Haidt’s research would suggest that another reason Democrats are more concerned is because liberals have an intense appreciation of the care/harm moral pillar.
Indeed, the preeminence of the care/harm moral can be found in the rhetoric of many progressives.
“I want to be able to say to the people of New York, ‘I did everything we could do,’” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in March. “And if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.”
The care/harm moral is even found in the latest social media emojis. Last month, as USA Todayreported in an exclusive story, Facebook rolled out its new “care” emoji.
“The new Facebook reaction—an emoji hugging a heart—is intended as shorthand to show caring and solidarity when commenting on a status update, message, photo or video during the coronavirus crisis that allow users to express how much they care about others,” the paper reported.
Cuomo’s language (and to a lesser extent Facebook’s emojis) suggests that, for many, care for others is the preeminent virtue. As such, efforts to protect people must be taken above lesser social considerations.
Understanding the different moral framework conservatives and liberals are using helps us understand why blue states have taken a much more aggressive approach in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
As The Atlantic explains, with a few exceptions, such as Ohio, Republican governors have been much more reluctant to impose sweeping restrictions on their residents than states led by Democratic governors. While governors in these states no doubt value care/harm, their moral framework likely gives them a heightened concern of other social considerations, particularly civil liberties.
The lockdowns, the Constitution Center explains, have threatened many of America’s most cherished civil liberties—the freedom to assemble, the right to purchase a firearm, the ability to freely travel, the freedom to attend church or visit a reproductive health facility. They’ve also put thousands of companies on a path toward bankruptcy by prohibiting them from engaging in commerce.
These infringements tend to be viewed as reasonable to liberals, who emphasize the care/harm moral but are less likely to recognize the sanctity/degradation moral. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, for example, said he never even considered the US Constitution—a document considered sacrosanct by many Americans—when he issued his lockdown order.
“That’s above my pay grade,” Murphy told Tucker Carlson in April. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. We went to all—first of all—we went to the scientists who said people have to stay away from each other.”
Similarly, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer saw no problem in suspending the Freedom of Information Act to prevent outside groups from assessing the model state officials used to justify locking down the entire state.
Those who view civil liberties and constitutional rights as sacred, however, are less than comfortable with such an approach. They will be less inclined to sacrifice sacred principles to support sweeping state efforts to protect people (and are probably more likely to see such efforts as counter-productive).
To be sure, some progressives do see civil liberties as sacred, and some of them have expressed dismay and bewilderment that so many progressives, in their enthusiasm for the care/harm moral, have abandoned civil liberties.
“[The COVID-19 crisis is] raising serious civil liberties issues, from prisoners trapped in deadly conditions to profound questions about speech and assembly, the limits to surveillance and snitching, etc.,” the progressive journalist Matt Taibbi recently wrote in Rolling Stone. “If this disease is going to be in our lives for the foreseeable future, that makes it more urgent that we talk about what these rules will be, not less—yet the party I grew up supporting seems to have lost the ability to do so, and I don’t understand why.”
If Haidt’s theory is correct, the reason is liberals and conservatives are, generally speaking, approaching the COVID-19 pandemic through divergent moral frameworks.
After all, the argument isn’t whether we should protect people.
“In any country, the disagreement isn’t over harm and fairness,” Haidt says. “Everyone agrees that harm and fairness matter.”
The argument isn’t even over how to best balance the care/harm moral with other considerations.
The disagreement is over whether efforts to protect individuals from COVID-19 should be balanced against other considerations—including constitutional and economic ones—at all.
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Another 2.4 million workers filed for unemployment claims last week, bringing the 10-week total to nearly 39 million. If all of these represent separate claims, that means that almost 1 in 4 workers has filed for unemployment since the coronavirus shutdowns began.
That’s bad news because unemployment is undesirable at best, and devastating at worst.
The situation has both short-term and long-term consequences for unemployed individuals, and really, it’s to no one’s advantage. At least not normally.
But now, because of Congress’ problematic additional unemployment benefit of $600, unemployment has become advantageous—even preferable—to some workers, employers, and state and local governments.
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 >>>
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>>>.
Instead of simply providing workers with a higher percentage of their usual earnings than the roughly 40% to 50% that state unemployment systems normally provide—which was appropriate and had bipartisan support—Congress messed up by giving everyone the same additional $600 per week, regardless of whether they had been making $100 a week or $1,000 a week.
Now, the majority of unemployed workers are receiving higher unemployment benefits than their usual paychecks.
A JPMorgan Chase analysis estimated that between 65% and 75% of workers are receiving more from unemployment than their paychecks. And an analysis by professors at the University of Chicago estimated that the median unemployment benefit equals 134% of workers’ previous wages, while 1 in 5 workers is receiving 200% or more of previous earnings and 1 in 10 is receiving almost 300% of previous earnings.
That’s both inequitable and counterproductive to the economic recovery.
As this table shows, someone in California who makes $36,000 per year—perhaps a nursing home or construction worker—would receive 53% more, or an extra $298 per week—by being unemployed as opposed to employed. (Note that individuals do not have to pay payroll taxes on unemployment benefits and a few states—including California—do not tax unemployment benefits.)
That’s hardly fair for the hardworking Americans who have continued to do their jobs each day.
In light of the unprecedented circumstances, it was appropriate for policymakers to temporarily increase unemployment benefits, but wrong for them to make unemployment pay more than employment.
Some policymakers who want to extend the expanded unemployment benefits until January or March of 2021 argue that it would be heartless to cut off bonus unemployment benefits on July 31.
But enticing workers with an extra $31,200 in unemployment benefits (potentially over $50,000 in total unemployment benefits) if they remain unemployed for a year could be far more damaging—both to individuals and to society.
Long-term unemployment results in lower incomes and fewer opportunities, as well as detrimental impacts on physical and emotional well-being.
Moreover, if Congress doesn’t fix this problem (by capping unemployment benefits at no more than 100% of workers’ wages) and instead extends excessive benefits, shortages of willing workers will contribute to more failures of small businesses.
Some lawmakers have suggested that those employers should just pay their workers more and raise their prices to cover the higher labor costs. But most small businesses are struggling just to stay afloat and wouldn’t be able to survive if they significantly increase prices. Those business failures would hurt both workers and their customers.
Take day care facilities, for example. Many parents will not be able to go back to work until day care centers reopen, but if providers raise prices enough to pay child care workers more than they are making on unemployment, families wouldn’t be able to afford child care.
Although larger businesses may be able to hang on in the short term, they likely will turn to increased automation for the positions they can’t fill. That will exacerbate unemployment and leave workers with even fewer options.
And finally, while a massive public health pandemic such as COVID-19 warrants a federal government response, such measures must be targeted and directly aimed at combating the pandemic and enabling an economic recovery.
That’s not the case with the $600 benefit, which invites misuse and abuse. In some cases, it’s also unfairly redistributing and driving up costs.
In Portland, Oregon, for example, the school district and teachers union teamed up to devise a strategy—Friday furloughs—that will allow teachers to work less and earn more.
Instead of the usual $460 in daily district pay supported by Oregon taxpayers, Friday-furloughed teachers would receive an average $730 in unemployment benefits supported by federal taxpayers.
These excessive unemployment benefits hurt the nation’s recovery. And at an estimated cost of $279 billion through July alone—equal to $2,170 for every household in the United States—the House’s proposal to extend the benefit into 2021 would shift even greater costs onto ordinary Americans.
Americans are hard-wired for work. Beyond a paycheck, producing goods and services of value and interacting with others are fundamental to human flourishing.
It’s time for Congress to focus on creating an environment that fosters employment opportunities instead of unemployment incentives.
Rachel Greszler is research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, of the Institute for Economic Freedom, at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research.
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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The debate over COVID-19 lockdowns has thrust Sweden into the global spotlight. Anders Tegnell, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he’s confident Sweden’s approach is the right one.
As nations around the world begin to ease lockdown restrictions passed amid the scariest pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu, a new battle is brewing among disease experts and the punditry class.
On one side, are lockdown proponents who compare lockdown skeptics to anti-vaxxers who endanger lives because they are drunk on “freedom” and want to prematurely ease restrictions, which they say could result in a new spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Lockdown skeptics, on the other hand, draw the battlelines differently.
“On one side are ideologues heavily invested in the idea of lockdown, regardless of the cost,” The Wall Street Journal recently described one skeptic’s take. “On the other are scientists with data that the lockdowns are overkill.”
While there is room for middle ground here—I know several medical professionals who say lockdowns made sense initially to “flatten the curve,” but that stage is now over—it’s fair to say the political debate around lockdowns has become largely a two-front war.
As I wrote last week, the costs of lockdowns become clearer every day: nations around the world staggering into recessions and Great Depression-level unemployment. The benefits of the lockdowns, at least for lockdown skeptics, are less easy to quantify.
“There is no correlation between fatalities and lockdown stringency,” columnist Simon Jenkins recently observed in The Guardian. “The most stringent lockdowns—as in China, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Britain—have yielded both high and low deaths per million.”
The debate over lockdowns has naturally thrust Sweden, which has foregone a hardline approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in favor of a softer one encouraging voluntary action, into the global spotlight. The results of Sweden’s policy have so far been mixed.
While Sweden’s outbreak has to date been deadlier than its Scandanavian neighbors, The New York Times recently conceded that “it’s still better off than many countries that enforced strict lockdowns.”
While Sweden has endured a great deal of criticism for its “laissez-faire” approach, Anders Tegnell, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, recently defended his policies, stating that while a degree of social distancing is the right approach, lockdowns are not grounded in actual science.
“Nothing to do with [them] has a scientific basis,” Tegnell said, according toThe Guardian.
The origins apparently stem from a trip President George W. Bush made to the library in the summer of 2005 over concerns about bioterrorism, which prompted him to read The Great Influenza, a book on the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 written by John M. Barry.
Shortly thereafter, the Bush administration enlisted two federal government doctors, Carter Mecher and Richard Hatchett, to develop ideas to implement during the next pandemic. Mecher— who “had almost no pandemic policy expertise,” according to the Times—then met with Dr. Robert J. Glass, a New Mexico scientist at Sandia who specialized in developing models to explain how complex systems function.
And that’s where the story gets interesting. Via The Times:
Dr. Glass’s daughter Laura, then 14, had done a class project in which she built a model of social networks at her Albuquerque high school, and when Dr. Glass looked at it, he was intrigued.
Students are so closely tied together — in social networks and on school buses and in classrooms — that they were a near-perfect vehicle for a contagious disease to spread.
Dr. Glass piggybacked on his daughter’s work to explore with her what effect breaking up these networks would have on knocking down the disease.
The outcome of their research was startling. By closing the schools in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, only 500 people got sick. If they remained open, half of the population would be infected.
“My God, we could use the same results she has and work from there,” Dr. Glass recalled thinking. He took their preliminary data and built on it by running it through the supercomputers at Sandia, more typically used to engineer nuclear weapons. (His daughter’s project was entered in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2006.)
Dr. Mecher received the results at his office in Washington and was amazed.
If cities closed their public schools, the data suggested, the spread of a disease would be significantly slowed, making this move perhaps the most important of all of the social distancing options they were considering.
If the Times is correct, it would appear that federal social distancing policy is to some extent the brainchild of a trip George W. Bush made to the library in the summer of 2005 and a 14-year-old girl’s science project. (You can read more about Laura’s Glass’s science project, which reportedly took third place at the 2006 Intel fair in Indianapolis, in this Albuquerque Journal article.)
To be clear, there’s no direct evidence to my knowledge that this is what Tegnell, who earned a PhD in Medicine from Linköping University in 2003 and a MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2004, was referring to when he said the lockdowns are not based on science.
Moreover, there’s nothing to say the lockdowns don’t work simply because the policy stems from George W. Bush and a child’s school project. (The lockdowns will ultimately be judged on their results, not their intellectual genesis.)
Nevertheless, Tegnell’s assertion that there is no “scientific basis” for the lockdowns deserves attention. There’s a tendency to assume central planning is inherently rational and scientific, but this is hardly true. Karl Marx, perhaps the most famous central planner in history, was horribly unscientific in his methods, explained the historian Paul Johnson.
“[Marx] failed precisely because he was unscientific: he would not investigate the facts himself, or use objectively the facts investigated by others,” Johnson observed in the book Intellectuals. “From start to finish, not just Capital but all his work reflects a disregard for truth which at times amounts to contempt. That is the primary reason why Marxism, as a system, cannot produce the results claimed for it; and to call it ‘scientific’ is preposterous.”
For his part, Tegnell says the science of COVID-19 is becoming clear on at least one point, whatever the models of Laura Glass’s hypothetical town said in 2006.
“We feel more and more confident about [not] closing schools,” Tegnell told TV host Trevor Noah in a May interview. “It’s not something that really is going to be effective for this kind of disease. Schools don’t seem to be very much of a motor of this epidemic.”
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“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire
“It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.” – Adolf Hitler
“The people want wholesome dread. They want to fear something. They want someone to frighten them and make them shudderingly submissive.” – Ernst Rohm, Hitler’s chief of the SA (Storm Trooper)
“The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.” – Joseph Mengele, MD, “Angel of Death” at Auschwitz
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
How quickly we forget that in January President Trump restricted traffic from China, and Dr. Fauci was not pleased. Fauci opposed eliminating flights from China. He disagreed and then ultimately, he agreed. That’s newsworthy.
Time has proven that locking down the entire country for a virus that kills and hospitalizes less than seasonal flu has been a huge mistake promoted by VP Mike Pence and his unvetted Task Force globalists. Both Fauci and Birx are tightly bound to WHO Director Tedros, a Marxist-Leninist apologist for China. Funds for their activities come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which wants to vaccinate us all, just as they did in Africa with devastating results. President Trump agrees to restore partial funding to WHO, run by a Marxist-Leninist. Why?
Gates is a population reduction aficionado as are Anthony Fauci and George Soros. Gates’ goal is not life, but death and the reduction of world population.
Physicians throughout America have complained about being forced to falsely label the cause of death as Covid-19. Dr. Scott Jensen, Republican member of the Minnesota Senate spoke to Laura Ingraham about the actual infection rates.
Birx is still claiming that the “shelter-in-place” directive was saving lives, but now we know that’s not true either. Over 36 million, or nearly 22 percent of Americans are without work; the economy continues going down the drain and many people have lost everything.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came forth and acknowledged that new hospitalizations caused by COVID-19 are from individuals who did, in fact, stay home. Fox News confirmed that the percentage of new coronavirus patients who listened to the government and stayed home is at 66%.
What Michael Smith of Wells, Maine wrote in the WSJ is absolutely true, “We have torched the house to rid it of spiders.” He went on to say that the governments’ response will kill us if the virus doesn’t. If unemployment hits 32 percent, some 77,000 Americans are likely to die from suicide and drug overdoses as a result of layoffs. Deaths of despair.
We can’t open now, says Chinese mouthpiece Dr. Tedros for the World Health Organization, not for five years. “It could take up to five years before the coronavirus pandemic is under control.” And WHO friend, Dr. Fauci, is not going to authorize reopening if the virus is not under control.
First, we had to flatten the curve, then we had to follow the data of gigantically flawed models, and now we need more testing, which only shows you how many more people have gotten this virus. It’s not enough. Now we need antibody testing. That doesn’t mean anything anymore. Now we need a vaccine.
Flu vaccines rarely cover the exact type of seasonal flu, and in any given year, a flu shot is only about 40-60 percent effective. The CDC reported that the 2020 flu vaccine was 45% effective against type B and 37% effective against type A. It’s doubtful a Covid-19 vaccine would be any better, and we certainly don’t want it mandated.
President Trump said in an interview last week that he is gung-ho to distribute a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is developed. “Our military is now being mobilized so at the end of the year we’re going to be able to give it to a lot of people very, very rapidly,” the president said in an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.
If a flu vaccine is only 40 – 60 percent effective, why would a Covid-19 vaccine be any better. No one has ever come up with a vaccine for the common cold virus or even for HIV-AIDS. No thanks, I don’t want the speedily made vaccine that will inject my body with foreign elements that could well make me sick or shorten my life.
Oh, those lovely vaccines! The 1960s polio vaccine that gave everyone soft tissue cancer was grown on monkey kidneys. The cancer-causing SV-40 monkey virus is genetically passed to your descendants. And guess what? The Daily Post is reporting that Bill Gates offered Nigeria’s House of Representatives $10 million if they passed a compulsory vaccine bill.
A Digital “Snapshot” for Every Injection
On May 12th, PRNewswire reported that ApiJect Systems America, Inc., a public benefit corporation based in Stamford, CT, announced that it has been awarded an HHS-DOD Title 3, Data Processing Agreement (DPA) contract valued up to $138 million to accelerate the building of a new U.S.-based, high-speed, population-scale emergency drug injection capability with prefilled syringes from its subsidiary RAPID USA Inc. RAPID USA’s emergency program, “Project Jumpstart” is being initiated to supply 500 million prefilled syringes by year-end. Jumpstart will develop the capability to manufacture a minimum of 30 million prefilled syringes per month once therapeutic drugs and vaccines become available.
If coronavirus vaccines were planned to be optional – respecting the vaccine choices of individuals, not more than 100 million doses would be needed. The fact that 500 million doses are being manufactured is an admission that the DoD and HHS plan to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory. The DoD awarded a $238 million contract enabling prefilled syringes for the future Covid-19 vaccine.
Before giving an injection, the healthcare worker will be able to launch a free mobile app and “tap” the prefilled syringe on their phone, capturing the Near Field Communication (NFC) tag’s unique serial number, GPS location and date/time. The app then uploads the data to a government-selected cloud database. Aggregated injection data provides health administrators an evolving real-time “injection-map.” No thanks big brother!
Remdesivir v. Hydroxychloroquine
Dr. Fauci has never backed the very cheap 60-year-old drug, hydroxychloroquine. In fact, he has criticized its usage. Yet around the world, including within the U.S., this cheap drug has had excellent results, especially when given early in a Covid-19 diagnosis. There is little money to be made with this drug and the accompanying antibiotic, Azithromycin.
Ivette Lozano is a Dallas doctor who is treating her coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine and the recovery success rate of her patients is 100%. In the following video she explains how Texas has passed a bill that disallows prescribing hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin without giving a diagnosis to the pharmacist. They’ve eliminated the privacy of the HIPPA law because this drug is successful and cheap and obviously, they don’t want it used.
A recent Gateway Pundit article, brilliantly researched by Joe Hoft, exposed the connections with remdesivir. The very first case of Covid-19 was in Washington state and the clinic where the patient was treated for declining health happened to have samples of the drug to give him intravenously. He recovered. By mid-February a Chinese company was mass producing remdesivir, despite studies showing a lack of benefit.
Gilead is partnered with Wuxi AppTec, an international pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device company located in China and owned in part by George Soros.
Gilead has endorsed and is engaged with a drug purchasing group,Unitaid which is an outgrowth of the United Nations, Millennium Declaration of 2000, which is now the U.N. Global Compact (sustainability via UN Agenda 2030).
If you thought the drones were bad telling us to keep our distance from each other, how about the Darpa Robot enlisted by police to enforce distancing. The robots are able to scan anyone walking on the sidewalks, record license plates, use infrared vision, and one of the scariest uses of this technology is the capability to detect cellphone serial numbers within a designated patrolling area. According to CBS, the devices are actively being used and can be seen in 16 states including New York at the Lefrak City Apartments in Queens and LaGuardia Airport.
In Kentucky, now run by Democratic Governor Andy Beshear rather than Republican Governor Bevin, authorities have ordered Louisville residents who have been exposed to the flu virus, but won’t self-quarantine, to wear a tracking device to ensure they don’t leave the house.
In Tennessee, a 39-year-old homeless person who tested positive for the virus and was incarcerated at the local Nashville fair grounds, escaped and fled. He was stopped and arrested by Metro Nashville Parks police two miles from where he had been quarantined. Metro Parks has charged the man with a single count of escape from a penal institution, a class A misdemeanor. The statute that defines this crime makes no mention of it being used to enforce quarantine orders. And our Governor Bill Lee claims to be a constitutional conservative.
Senate hopeful Bill Hagerty’s stint as Tennessee’s Department of Economic & Community Development Commissioner ended with the Volunteer State becoming the “most dependent state in America for trade with China.” He was appointed by ‘NeverTrumper’ Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in 2011. Haslam proudly stated he did not vote for Trump. At the expense of American workers, Hagerty’s first-choice candidate in the 2016 Republican primary was Jeb Bush. And even after Jeb’s candidacy flamed out, he shifted to supporting pro-amnesty Marco Rubio.
In Ventura County California, Dr. Robert Levin, director of Ventura County Public Health spoke before the board of supervisors about a plan to hire up to 50 new “contact tracing investigators” to “find people who have COVID-19 and immediately isolate them, find every one of their contacts, make sure they stay quarantined and check in with them every day.” He said they would be physically removed from their homes and isolated. He had to walk it back!
The despotic Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island has told people to “social shame” those who refuse to wear masks. Those with compromised immune systems should wear protection, but for healthy people, wearing masks actually can make them more susceptible to the virus.
Had we sheltered the compromised and elderly and allowed the economy to remain open, we may have had a higher number of deaths, but the immunity would have spread throughout the nation saving us from the debacle of debt, inflation, job loss, suicides, alcoholism, drug addiction, and domestic violence which has outnumbered the deaths from this virus. We’ve been sold another lie; dumbed down Americans don their masks to go out into public. I’m ashamed of my fellow citizens and how easily they were brainwashed with lies and propaganda.
Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia celebrated the state’s lowest number of hospitalized coronavirus patients and the fewest number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators on Saturday, 15 days since he loosened lockdown restrictions in the face of persistent attacks from the mainstream media and the public disapproval of President Trump. Currently, 995 people out of a population of 10.62 million, have died from Covid-19 in Georgia, according to the model, and it projects that number could climb to 4,691 by August 4. But it hasn’t.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida ripped into the media for their failing, dire predictions of his coronavirus response. He said to mainstream media, “You were all wrong about my state, we’re in better shape without draconian lockdown.” He’s right.
Dr. Scott Atlas’ recent article in The Hill gives five facts as to why we need to reopen our economy, stop the panic and end the total isolation.
A Seattle police officer sacrificed his job to speak the truth on the abuse of power by the government. Greg Anderson is married with children, but he could not continue to follow orders he knew were against the Constitution and Bill of Rights. A federal judge blocked Governor Beshear’s (D-KY) temporary ban on mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic from applying to religious services.
The Hill reports that legal challenges to the stay-at-home orders are gaining momentum. The Wisconsin Supreme Court invalidated the state’s coronavirus health order, a decision that’s already generating momentum behind similar challenges across the country.
Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer lost a fight to force a 77-year-old barber out of business. Despite moving to sustain his livelihood and remain economically afloat, the Michigan governor pulled strings and issued a cease-and-desist order against Manke.
Ultimately, a Michigan judge ruled for Manke when the state’s Attorney General failed to make the bogus case that Manke posed “imminent danger to public health.” The repressive fascistic Governor plans to keep the state closed until a vaccine is available.
And Michigan protesters plan “Operation Haircut” demonstration to push back against state’s ‘tyrannical’ stay-at-home order by Whitmer.
As I discussed Wednesday, the Alameda County Health Department backed down in its face-off with Elon Musk over the closure of Tesla’s car plant in Fremont, California. Musk reopened the factory, openly defying the government’s order to remain closed. The health officials acquiesced to the fait accompli by granting it after-the-fact provisional approval.
As I argued previously, Musk’s act qualified as economic civil disobedience, especially since he expressly offered himself up for arrest and punishment. His ultimate success was a testament to the power of that peaceful strategy for political change. The government probably wanted to avoid the public controversy that would result from jailing someone like Musk.
But there was another consideration in play that probably influenced the official decision to relent. Shortly before daring the government to arrest him, Musk had also threatened to simply leave California over the COVID-19 lockdown, tweeting:
Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sic] on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.
This is a serious threat. As Tesla’s website states:
As one of the largest manufacturing employers in California, Tesla stimulated $5.5 billion in sales activity and generated $4.1 billion in direct spending in the state in Fiscal Year 2017 alone. The same year, Tesla also created 51,000 jobs in California, including our employees and jobs throughout our supply chain.
That surely amounts to a lot of tax revenue, which government officials are no doubt wary of letting slip away.
And it’s not like Tesla is lacking options. There is no shortage of American states eager to receive all that economic activity and revenue. Musk mentioned Texas and Nevada, but Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, immediately volunteered his state to be Tesla’s new home.
Stitt replied directly to Musk’s “last straw” tweet on the very same day, writing:
Oklahoma is open for business.
We’re doing it safely, responsibly and based on the data in our state.@elonmusk, let’s talk!
P.S. Route 66 would make a great place for a test drive…
Not to be outdone, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, also publicly courted Musk on Twitter, writing:
We want you here @elonmusk in Colorado, we are the best of all worlds. We’re very pro-business, low taxes, also pro-immigration, pro-LGBT, globally-minded. Bright, smart, motivated ppl love to live here. @Tesla HQ, Cybertruck, gigafactory look no further!
Musk graciously, though noncommittally, responded to his suitor, “Hi Jared, Colorado is great! I think your policies make a lot of sense.”
Contrast these welcoming invitations to his treatment in California, where Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez responded to the same tweet by writing, “F–k Elon Musk,” to which one Twitter user answered, “You already did. That’s why he’s leaving.”
Yet, as it turns out, even California cannot screw its tax-paying producers with complete impunity, and its officials know it.
And this is owing to another safeguard of freedom that is as deeply American as civil disobedience: federalism.
Imagine if states were not allowed to determine any policies of their own, if all policies were set at the national level, and if the Lorena Gonzalezes of the world reigned in Washington. There would be no place of refuge for producers like Musk, other than leaving the country (or maybe in Musk’s case, eventually the planet!).
With much fewer options, unruly entrepreneurs like Musk would be in a much weaker position when they push back against onerous government impositions.
But since Americans are able to “vote with their feet,” state governments are at least partially incentivized to compete for their tax dollars: often by vying to be less oppressive than rival states.
That is exactly what you are seeing when you have state governors tweeting that they are “open for business” and promising “low taxes,” competing to woo a private citizen. It is also probably what you’re seeing when California bureaucrats stand down in the face of outright defiance.
America’s federal structure has withered under the constant assault of centralizers in Washington. But we owe much of the liberty and prosperity we retain to the extent to which it has survived.
And it may play an even bigger role in a post-COVID-19 America. While most states of the union have imposed some restrictions on freedom in the wake of the pandemic, there have been huge variations: with some governments grimly committing to draconian, economy-crippling lockdowns for months to come, and others imposing lighter restrictions that they are already beginning to lift.
Maybe the stricter governments are right, and they will become havens of survival while their rival states become death traps. Or maybe they’re wrong, and they will become economic wastelands while their rivals become prosperous refuges for producers.
In either case, federalism will prove beneficial, as taxpayers can vote with their feet to reward the wiser policymakers.
This is one of the biggest reasons that it is vital to avoid centralized, top-down solutions, even for the biggest and scariest problems, like pandemics. Decentralization is better, both for freedom and problem-solving.
Now that shelter-at-home has normalized remote work, tax bases will become even more mobile, as it is less necessary to live anywhere in particular (especially in big cities) for the sake of one’s career and earnings. This may make jurisdictional competition more fierce, which may bode well for freedom.
Another set of ideas that sheds light on these issues is the work of the economist Albert O. Hirschman, author of the widely cited 1970 book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty.
…differentiated between “voice” and “exit.” In any given system or organization, voice is essentially about expression: protesting, voting, speaking out, or otherwise raising your concerns and hoping the organization responds to them. Exit is about leaving the system to join — or maybe even to create — a new one.
It is important to note that voice and exit are complements, not substitutes. The power of exit enhances voice, ensuring decision makers have an incentive to listen to you.
Federalism afforded Elon Musk the power of exit, which in turn amplified his voice such that it could not be ignored, even by California bureaucrats. As state policies radically diverge in the wake of COVID-19, we may see a lot more of that, even among small business owners, and workers too.
Elon Musk is known as a pioneer in many industries, from cars to space rockets. He may have just pioneered new political territory as well. By flexing his “power of exit” to win back a measure of freedom, he may not only prove to be a maverick, but a forerunner.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFoundation for Economic Education (FEE)2020-05-16 06:23:462020-05-16 06:25:31How Elon Musk Beat a California Dictate by Flexing the "Power of Exit”
Our small business success story this week comes from Arizona. A doctor who, after seeing his colleagues contract COVID-19 while providing care to COVID patients, became sick and tired of the risks and decided to act. He designed an intubation box to protect medical professionals during the intubation process and went to local businesses for help in creating it.
Reeser first took his design to Phoenix-based mattress company, Tuft & Needle, which has built and donated dozens of intubation boxes to hospitals across the Valley using his plans. Hundreds more have been sent across the country with the help of additional partners.
While Tuft & Needle didn’t have the resources on hand to make these boxes for Dr. Reeser, they did know who to call. Soon, they were on their way to building the boxes for Reeser and his colleagues.
However, Reeser wasn’t finished. He approached Urban Plough Furniture, which normally serves hospitality and office space firms, to make the same safety devices. Founder Matthew Moore, who had seen six months worth of business dry up, jumped on the chance to help his community and his company:
“And magically, Dr. Reeser shows up at our doorstep,” Moore said.
Like Tuft & Needle, Moore’s company has been producing the intubation boxes at cost and donating them to doctors in need — they’re not making up for lost profits. But he says the work has given him purpose.
This is what it means to “buy,” or in this case “ask,” local. Small businesses are always going to fight – and often lose – to faceless corporations that have lower per-product costs and thus can sell everything at a lower price. However, your local small business sees purpose in helping you and your family – whether it’s during the pandemic or during more normal economic times.
Serving communities takes all kinds of shapes. Buying local means that when times are tough, you have allies and friends to get you, your family, and your neighbors through tough times. Reeser and Moore are just a single example of the amazing community teamwork that is taking place across America.
How can you be a part of supporting local?
This post is part of 2ndVote’s coverage of business charity during the COVID-19 public health, social, and economic crises. We are highlighting companies large and small which are doing their part to help their communities.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png002ndvote .comhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png2ndvote .com2020-05-16 06:06:582020-05-16 06:08:39Ask and Ye Shall Receive: Local Businesses Keep Doctors Safe
One fallout of the Covid-19 crisis is its severe thrashing of our economy. Not only have all the impressive economic gains of the Trump administration evaporated, but we are now adding to our national debt in scary ways. I hope that all the bailouts are temporary means to solve a temporary problem.
To use an analogy: One of the saddest things about a midlife crisis is that permanent damage can be done to “solve” what turns out to be only a temporary problem. I pray that America won’t adopt the permanent solution of socialism to solve our temporary coronavirus crisis.
One of the most frightening things about the bailouts is that some people find that they are receiving more money for not working than they did when they were working.
Long before the crisis, we have seen the rise of popularity of socialism among the young in America. A Gallup poll about a year ago found that four in ten Americans embrace some form of socialism. Yipes.
In short, if we are not careful, this crisis could end up greasing the skids toward socialism.
President Trump wants to see us “inch” back to work and to recovery. But many Americans want to see us embrace socialism. Long before the aLL crisis, NYC socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was arguing that the “super wealthy” should be taxed up to 70 percent of their income in order to fund the “green new deal.”
Dr. Richard Land, the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., knows firsthand what it is like to live in a socialist country. After graduating Princeton, he studied at Oxford to earn his Ph.D. He lived in the U.K. from 1972-1975 and experienced socialism there before Margaret Thatcher turned things around, beginning in the late 1970s. He said, “It was horrible.”
In a radio segment warning against socialism, he told me, “In Great Britain, nothing worked.”
Some people had been paying 91 percent taxes before Thatcher’s policies lowered it to 29 percent. She also privatized a lot of industries.
The results were amazing. Before Thatcher’s capitalist reforms, notes Land, England had the lowest per capita income in Western Europe. Because of her reforms, they ended up having the highest per capita income.
But, someone might ask, “What about Scandinavia?” Land notes that they too abandoned socialism because it doesn’t work. Instead, they have capitalism with a “liberal welfare state.”
What about all the young Americans who claim to embrace socialism? Land notes that they are thinking of socialism as just being “share and share alike.” But that’s not what it is. In socialism, the state becomes god. In a nanny state, you get the people more and more dependent upon the government for their very living.
That is what makes this present meltdown of the economy so frightening. There may be many on the marginal side of life who are content to rely upon the government—even as a way of life beyond the crisis.
Some people claim that the Scriptures advocate socialism. The Bible certainly promotes “share and share alike.” However, sharing is voluntary. Socialism involves government coercion and theft from Citizen A’s property on behalf of Citizen B. Meanwhile, the socialist government makes more money than either citizen in the administration of this theft by taxation and coercion.
Dr. Land observes, “Some people have said that the Bible teaches socialism. They’re wrong. They’re simply wrong and they’re very simplistic. The Bible tells us a great deal about the nature of man, which is pretty basic. And the heart of man, according to Jeremiah, is ‘deceitful and desperately wicked; who can know it?’”
Dennis Prager, founder of PragerU, once told me in a TV interview, “[Socialism] is against human nature. The moment you tell people that the community will take care of you, they work less. It undermines character.”
During the heyday of the Obama administration and their over-abundant spending on domestic programs, I asked Stephen Moore, an economist who has served both Presidents Reagan and Trump, about those who promote socialistic solutions because “it’s the Christian thing to do.”
Moore answered, “I always laugh and sometimes frown when people say the Christian thing to do is to continue to spend money recklessly like we are doing now….If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from somebody or somewhere….The real problem here is people say, ‘Oh, it’s so Christian to be spending all of this money on all these programs,’ and I say, ‘Wait a minute. Who’s going to pay the cost? Isn’t it Christian to care about your kids and your grandkids?”
May the coronavirus crisis be a temporary one. And may we be on our guard against any socialist framework that will do irreparable damage as a “solution” to this, Lord-willing, temporary problem.
Nope, its not the lawyers; its the “bean counters” that are ruining business. Let me give you an example, I know of a large machine-tool operation in the Midwest who used to be heralded for producing quality products. To this end, the company established an in-house school who taught their machinists how to build products, not just any old way, the company’s way. The school was led by the senior craftsmen of the business who took pride in their workmanship and passed this on to the new employees. When an employee graduated from the school, a machinist not only knew his job, but took pride in his work and became loyal to the company due to its reputation. Even if an employee dropped out and went elsewhere, he would always recommend his former company’s products because he knew they were built with quality. This school went on for a number of years and became a part of the corporate culture. However, in the 1980’s the company hired a team of MBA’s to look over their operations and make recommendations for improvement. You must remember, this was a time when cost cutting was the norm. After looking over the financial statements of the business, the management consultants concluded the school represented a costly overhead and convinced the company to close it down.
Shortly after the school’s closure, the company started to experience a drop in morale, absenteeism and tardiness began to rise, and craftsmanship began to deteriorate. Product quality dropped significantly and the company began to lose customers, so much so, they eventually sold off their machine-tool operations and went into a totally new line of business. Keep in mind, prior to this the company was a leader in the machine-tool industry and generated substantial profits from it.
Obviously this story isn’t unique as we have witnessed several such changes in the corporate landscape during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The point is, the bean counters have taken charge of business which has triggered sweeping changes in how we deal with our customers, our vendors, and our employees.
LOSING THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Under the bean counter approach to business, numbers are all that matter. Of course, paying attention to the bottom-line is always important, but this should not result in a callous way of operating a business. To me, studying the numbers is analogous to watching the dials and gauges of a machine. It is like watching the speedometer of an automobile, but if I observe an emergency vehicle approaching or see a drunk driver nearby, I am going to ignore the gauge and do what is proper. I am going to make a human decision and do what is best for my passengers and myself, as well as the other surrounding vehicles. If I only did what the dials and gauges told me, I would probably harm others.
The bean counter approach to business represents a very mechanical way of operating. Let me give you an illustration. I have a friend here in Florida who is the state sales manager for a home health business (a lucrative business for a retirement state like Florida). The company was recently purchased and a new management team put into place run by bean counters. After studying sales figures, management found a salesman who wasn’t making his quota and, consequently, instructed my friend to terminate his employment. My friend knew the salesman in question and realized he was experiencing some personal problems. After considerable discussion with corporate management, he convinced them to let him (the Sales Manager) work with the salesman a while longer to see if he could help him. He pointed out to management, the alternative was to start the laborious and costly process of recruiting and teaching a replacement. Management acquiesced and granted the salesman a stay of execution. Over the next few weeks, the Sales Manager was able to work with the salesman, helped him overcome his personal problems and rebuilt his confidence. Since then, the salesman has gotten back on track and has been exceeding quota ever since.
Bean counters do not understand or appreciate the true business of a company. They make knee-jerk reactions based strictly on numbers, not on human intuition or social interaction. It is no small wonder the corporate world has become dehumanizing. I know of a medium sized semiconductor business in the Southeast who also experienced a similar phenomenon. The company was founded by a man with little formal education, but a lot of “street smarts.” He took a hands-on approach to the startup of the company which grew in leaps and bounds. As the company settled into maturity, the founder began to slow down and brought in a new management team to take over the reins. His new management team had some pretty slick business school credentials but, inevitably, they were nothing more than bean counters. Under their watch, corporate growth was arrested and the company’s stock diminished radically. Today, a company that was at one time a robust and thriving business with loyal customers and dedicated employees is a mere shadow of its old self.
Conducting business is more about our interpersonal relations with customers, vendors and employees, than it is about watching dials and gauges. As the famed W. Edwards Deming once said:
“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.”
Keep in mind, Deming understood the need for statistical analysis and watching the bottom-line, but he also realized they were nothing more than the dials and gauges of the business.
Under the bean counter approach we have lost the personal touch for conducting business. Companies have become cold and calculating, certainly not the types of businesses we want to work for or with. Always remember that bean counters believe conducting business is simply manipulating numbers, not in building products or servicing customers. Yet, for some unfathomable reason, we have put them on a pedestal and expect them to competently guide our companies, but the only thing I see them guiding is our foreign competitors who take over our market share.
To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the bean counters.”
“Business is about people, not just numbers.” – Bryce’s Law
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Tim Brycehttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngTim Bryce2020-05-14 06:45:012020-05-14 06:46:02PODCAST: The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Bean Counters
The steps we take to reopen America safely will determine whether the United States has to contend with an economic depression—regardless of whether COVID-19 is suppressed in the next several months or the next year.
How we build on those steps will not just be critical in restarting the American economy, but also could help to increase the soundness of the economy coming out of this crisis.
The Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission has put forward 179 recommendations for governors, local leaders, federal officials, and the private sector on the steps necessary to reopen America.
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 >>
The full report from the commission takes a comprehensive approach to combating this crisis and includes many facets of the challenge we face. It reflects a strong belief that saving lives and saving livelihoods are inextricably connected.
But as we talk specifically about getting America back to work, here are 12 of the most urgent actions that policymakers should take to prevent an economic depression.
1. Allow businesses in counties with low incidence of COVID-19 to reopen. Just five states—New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California—account for 54% of all of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and 61% of all related deaths. Most counties (80%) have had less than five deaths related to the new coronavirus.
2. Use stay-at-home orders sparingly and only where necessary. Better, more targeted approaches should focus on infection hot spots, isolate the sick from work, and protect the more vulnerable (those who are elderly, in nursing homes, or have preexisting conditions).
3. Establish a national portal with accessible data on the spread of the coronavirus as well as the modeling used to support decisions made by governments at all levels. Access to information is absolutely critical for governments, medical professionals, businesses, and individuals to make the best decisions on how best to respond. Specifically, the availability of this information will reinforce consistency in standards that can be carried out locally and helps physicians. More access to information also will help to eliminate uncertainty about the virus that hurts the confidence of businesses and consumers.
4. Immediately allow all medical offices to reopen. Many states shut down health care services considered “nonessential” to prepare for projected massive surges in patients infected by the coronavirus. This government-created impediment has hindered the ability of medical professionals to meet Americans’ ongoing health care needs, and many medical workers are being unnecessarily furloughed. Amid an unprecedented health crisis, over 1 million health care workers face unemployment.
5. Review all regulations that have been waived or modified in response to COVID-19 and consider permanent changes. Such a clear statement by President Donald Trump to executive agencies would provide more long-term confidence and stability for businesses by ensuring regulatory regimes work in good times and bad, facilitate innovation and market advancement, and still protect health and safety.
6. Expand liability protections with a safe harbor for businesses and workers that follow guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in good faith. A safe harbor by Congress would provide much-needed confidence and stability that encourages business owners to reopen.
7. Liberalize future Paycheck Protection Program loans to broaden eligible expenditures, extend the relevant period, and limit the loans to businesses that were hit hard. Businesses that were forced to shut down must rehire and retrain employees, secure inventory, reestablish vendor relationships, and settle balances. Congress should broaden what can be paid for and forgiven with new PPP loans for businesses that suffered a substantial decline in gross revenues because of the coronavirus.
8. Reduce small-business tax liability with a “physical presence” standard. Every small business that sells online, no matter where physically located, is subject to the more than 10,000 different taxing jurisdictions around the country—each with its own tax rates and rules. This burdensome, complex requirement threatens to bankrupt many small retailers and prohibit others from retooling to ship new products. Congress should protect vulnerable retailers by codifying a physical presence test for tax collection.
9. Make legislative and regulatory changes to expand access to capital for small businesses. Entrepreneurs will drive recovery by reopening existing businesses and taking on new risks to fill new needs in the post-crisis world. Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission should remove barriers for small businesses to access peer-to-peer lending, credit unions, and investment finders. By simplifying exemptions and disclosure frameworks, and working to simplify regulations, small public companies will find it easier to recover and grow.
10. Incentivize research and development and infrastructure investments with permanent full expensing. Starting in 2022, research and development expenses and new spending on machinery and tools no longer will be fully deductible, discouraging innovation and investment. R&D spending is critical as the private sector develops new remedies and reorganizes to meet the needs of a post-coronavirus recovery.
11. Honor and enforce contractual insurance obligations. The virus has caused extensive property damage, and many businesses aren’t getting the business interruption coverage for which they contracted. Insurance coverage should be honored to the fullest extent agreed upon in the individual terms of contract, which should be enforced fully by the courts if necessary or resolved through legal arbitration.
12. Eliminate all tariffs imposed since 2018. Trade freedom is vital to economic recovery and to build certainty in supply chains. Countless U.S. jobs depend on materials from Great Britain, the European Union, and around the world—and vice versa. The Trump administration should remove Section 201, Section 232, and Section 301 tariffs to benefit all parties.
Every day that passes increases the amount of time that it will take to get the economy up and running again.
If broad-based lockdown policies are continued much longer, we face a real prospect of a depression with economic suffering and social and public health effects that could last for years.
For the complete list of recommendations, visit the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission’s website at CoronavirusCommission.com.
Charmaine Yoest is a vice president of The Heritage Foundation, where she leads the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity. Yoest previously served in the Trump administration in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services. Twitter: @CharmaineYoest.
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!
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00The Daily Signalhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Daily Signal2020-05-14 06:28:152020-05-14 06:30:1112 Urgent Actions to Reopen America and Prevent an Economic Depression
The litany of government fiascoes speaks for itself.
On April 1, 2020, a letter-to-the-editor appeared in my town’s newspaper in which the author declared that the COVID-19 pandemic proves capitalism to be “woefully inadequate to sustain itself through any type of major crisis.” He suggested that we must embrace a massive expansion of government without offering the slightest hint that this prescription might create a problem or two of its own.
It was breathtaking to read. I anticipated the line, “April Fools!” but this guy wasn’t kidding. Read it for yourself here. Mere weeks into the pandemic, he pronounced a sweeping judgment on an entire economic system (which in its pure form, we don’t even have!)—not just for the moment, but for whatever the duration of the crisis could be.
Try to follow the logic: An unexpected virus appears half a world away. A one-party socialist dictatorship lies about it, jails whistleblowing doctors and silences critics—evil on a grand scale that leads directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. That would normally prompt a hint of doubt about socialist dictatorships, but not in this instance. The author races straight to the conclusion that capitalism can’t handle it and what we need here is uncritical acceptance of gargantuan government (like they have where the virus came from).
Of course, you can’t follow the logic because there isn’t any. Not a shred. It’s the old, familiar knee-jerk reaction that defenders of freedom and markets deal with every day. Capitalism, even when adulterated with endless restrictions, taxes, political cronyism and the like, is a hair-trigger away from mindless, sweeping condemnation. The benevolent state, in spite of its monotonous and often deadly failures, gets a pass.
People who think this way judge capitalism against a fictional, utopian ideal and find it wanting; they judge the state by nothing more than the good intentions it expresses. They turn a blind eye when its intentions aren’t really good or when they produce disastrous results. The letter writer couldn’t wait until the pandemic’s end to render an informed assessment; he judged Big Government a home run before it even got to first base. Whatever the state does to handle it must be right! That’s a magical claim that would embarrass even an unlicensed witch doctor.
Meantime, while politicians deal with the pandemic by shutting everything down and ballooning the national debt, capitalists are revving up production of the very medical devices and equipment needed to solve the problem. We should forgive them if they all decide, “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Let somebody else take the risks. I’m headed to Galt’s Gulch.”
Where does this blame-capitalism-first nonsense come from? That’s an intriguing subject, but one for another essay. For now, I simply want to offer a partial catalogue of dubious state actions as documented in these articles. It’s not the final word on the matter because the pandemic is ongoing, and governments aren’t done yet. Count on a lot more mischief. In the meantime, the headlines alone should inoculate most readers against the “government is always right” virus:
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFoundation for Economic Education (FEE)2020-05-13 08:33:192020-05-13 08:33:19It's Wildly Wrong to Blame Capitalism for Government's Botched Response to COVID-19
“You know our governors are under great stress,” said Waters. “The protests that have been organized, the protests trying to intimidate our governors to open up everything are protests where the people participating in that should be ashamed of themselves. They should not be encouraged in any way.”
“So we’re doing everything that we can give support to our constituents, to our citizens, to the people who work every day, who have families to take care of.” Waters added. “So if we do that, this will support our states and our governors and not having to open back up. So that you know the small businesses that are in direct contact with people — nail shops, beauty shops, barbershops, flower shops — these are people in touch with folks every day, and they’re risking their lives, and we don’t want them opened up. ”
The governors are under stress? No, the people are under stress. Lives are being destroyed, the economy is being torpedoed, by the totalitarian lockdowns. And yet Waters sides with the governors.
On June 24, 2017, Waters held a town hall meeting at the Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, California, and did not permit anyone who lived outside of Waters’s 43rd Congressional District to be admitted inside the facility; such individuals were instead relegated to an outdoor “overflow space.” In light of these facts, it is worth noting that Waters herself does not reside in her own 43rd Congressional District, which is one of the poorest districts in the state of California. She owns a $4.8 million mansion in the upscale Hancock Park section of Los Angeles, several miles outside of her District.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Discover The Networkshttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDiscover The Networks2020-05-13 06:58:572020-05-13 06:58:57Maxine Waters: We Don’t Want Businesses ‘Opened Back Up’
Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested Saturday that he is suing a California county after “unelected & ignorant” health officials spoiled his plans to reopen over coronavirus concerns.
Musk criticized local California officials, saying that he is preparing to relocate to Texas or Nevada after Alameda County Public Health Department interim health officer Erica Pan said Friday that Tesla does not have the okay to reopen.
“Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately,” Musk wrote on Twitter before condemning the county’s “unelected & ignorant” health care officials who he said are “acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!”
Alameda County, where Tesla’s headquarters are based, “is still a bit stricter” on when businesses can open up, Pan told reporters during an online town hall meeting.
“We have not given the green light. We have been working with them looking at some of their safety plans. But no, we have not said that it is appropriate to move forward,” she said after being asked about Tesla in particular.
Musk was not impressed with Pan’s remarks.
“Frankly, this is the final straw,” he said in a following tweet. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sic] on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”
This is not the first time the tech tycoon has lashed out at officials over the coronavirus pandemic. Musk criticized government officials in April for instituting economic lockdowns, calling them “fascist” during an April first-quarter Tesla earnings call.
Stay-at-home orders were instituted throughout the country to slow the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 75,000 people in the United States.
Musk said during the call that people should be allowed to quarantine themselves if they wish, but added: “to say that they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.”
Meanwhile, California’s economy is falling off a proverbial cliff.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home orders in March forced non-essential businesses to close, prompting millions of Californians to file for unemployment. The Democrat’s administration is predicting that the state will hit 18% unemployment after registering a 3.9% unemployment rate at the start of 2020.
A friend of mine who traveled China from the 1970s until recently described what the country was like 30 years ago:
Its cities were sprawling, impoverished places with dirt roads and low-rise structures. With few automobiles in the country back then, the Chinese people got around mostly by rickshaws and bicycles. The country had only a few tall buildings and just two sizable airports, in Beijing, its capital, and Shanghai, its financial center. China had no modern highways, bridges or high-speed rails, and the only trains that traversed the country were pulled by antiquated steam engines.
To get an idea of how much things have changed, please watch this 40-second clip of the Chinese city where COVID-19 originated. As the video shows, Wuhan bears no resemblance to the backward, desperately poor place it was just three decades ago. The same is true of cities throughout China.
Over the past 30 years, China has undergone a stupendous, caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation that has created some of the world’s most eye-popping roadways, bridges and architecture. Now within sight of overtaking the United States as the world’s dominant economy, China has also built a massively lethal military that poses a serious threat to America’s long-standing combat superiority—as reported by the Washington Times, China’s military is forcing the Pentagon to confront the end of U.S. battlefield dominance.
How Did This Happen?
From where did the money come that funded China’s dramatic makeover from a Third World backwater to an economic and military superpower? Trillions of dollars used to finance its spectacular ascendancy was handed willingly over by its greatest patron: the United States of America.
Since the late 1980s, China has been allowed—allowed—to extract trillions of dollars from the U.S. economy in the form of massive trade surpluses. As a result, the communist nation now has glistening cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, while America is saddled with fading cities like Baltimore, Detroit, and Atlanta, once-thriving metropolises now marred by urban blight, rampant crime, sorry schools, generational poverty and other canaries in the coal mine of a nation in decline.
And to rub salt in America’s self-inflicted wounds, Chinese nationals who were allowed—allowed—to attend our top research universities and work at our most sensitive high-tech companies robbed America blind, surreptitiously sending many of our nation’s most vital technological and national defense secrets to our communist adversary hell-bent on chopping America off at the knees.
During the presidencies of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, China was allowed—allowed—to rip America a new one in what will go down as the most lopsided trade and stolen technology bludgeoning in history.
But don’t blame China for the trade imbalances. Its leaders were just doing what a nation’s leaders are expected to do: negotiate the best deal they could get. If the country on the other side of the table is willing to absorb an epic thrashing in the process, so much the better. And the voluntary thrashing America took lasted 28 consecutive years, from 1989 to 2017, a period when much of America’s manufacturing base was allowed—allowed—to sell-out its workers by offshoring production to China.
With America’s worn-out infrastructure badly in need of replacement, our political class instead ran up crushing debt and deficits, squandering trillions of dollars stolen from future generations on endless foreign wars and failed social programs. Meanwhile, China was using its trade-surplus windfall and stolen technology to build some of the world’s most impressive cities and a fearsome military.
In 2017, the United States began a strategic shift in its approach to China. Unless its relationship with the communist superpower is redefined, America’s days in the sun will be over, and the 21st century will be known as the “Chinese Century.”
Videos You Do Not Want to Miss
Below are nine related videos, each a visual reminder that China’s stunning rise at America’s expense could never have occurred without assistance from the four U.S. presidents who stood by and clapped as the Communist nation ate America’s lunch.
Viewing the videos will take a while, but doing so will help you see with your own eyes that while America was inching along on its hands and knees, a house of cards propped up by ruinous debt, China was making a great leap forward for the ages.
Click here to see China’s stunning road network. In 1988, China had zero modern highways; today, its world-class road network extends an astounding 84,000 miles, the longest road system in the world.
Click here to see China’s magnificent Beipanjiang Bridge, the highest bridge in the world. Of the world’s ten tallest bridges, eight are in China, zero in America.
Click here to see China’s incomparable Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the longest ocean crossing in the world. Designed to last 120 years, the $15 billion bridge-tunnel structure is a testament to China’s engineering might.
Click here to see China’s jaw-dropping 9-tower “horizontal skyscraper” in Chongqing. Known as “The Crystal,” the complex’s horizontal sky bridge straddles four 60-story skyscrapers, 820 feet in the air. Built at a cost of $3.6 billion, the mixed-use megastructure has a shopping mall with 450 stores. Is there anything like this in America? Of the world’s 25 tallest skyscrapers, 14 are in China, only two in the United States.
Click here to see a dynamic chart of China’s meteoric ascendancy to the world’s No. 2 economy.
Click here to see China’s stupendous Beijing Daxing International Airport. The world’s largest airport, Daxing can handle up to 250 takeoffs and landings per hour. By comparison, America’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, accommodates just 100 total movements per hour. Business Insider’s 2018 list of the 14 most beautiful airports in the world includes three in China, zero in the United States.
Click here to see how the U.S. auto industry was allowed—allowed—to sell-out its workers by offshoring jobs to China and other countries with dirt-cheap labor, a betrayal that determined the 2016 presidential election.
Click here to see China’s most powerful weapons, including nuclear-armed ICBMs that could reach the United States in 30 minutes. Three decades ago, China’s military was primarily land-based; today, it boasts a 2-million-man army, a blue-water navy, the world’s third-largest air force, and advanced cyber and anti-satellite weaponry that could be the deciding factor in a war against America.
Click here to see Chinese female soldiers on dress parade, as impressive a display of military precision you’ll likely ever see.
Finally, my friend believes America’s best days are behind it. Having done business throughout China, he observed that Chinese workers are intensely proud of their country, eagerly working as tirelessly as a colony of ants toward a common goal of national ascendancy.
America once was blessed with widespread patriotism, but over the last half-century, it has been polarized into two camps with diametrically opposite objectives. One side believes America should continue as a two-party constitutional democracy, the other wants that system scrapped in favor of single-party socialist rule.
No matter which of those hardened positions gains ground in November, half of America will continue working at cross purposes with the other half. A country at irreconcilable odds with itself is not a recipe for national ascendancy; it’s a recipe for national decline. The winner? China.
Major credit card companies should block payments to pornographic sites, according to a group of international campaigners and campaign groups who say they work to tackle sexual exploitation.
A letter seen by the BBC, signed by more than 10 campaigners and campaign groups, says porn sites “eroticise sexual violence, incest, and racism” and stream content that features child sexual abuse and sex trafficking.
One leading site, Pornhub, said “the letter [was] not only factually wrong but also intentionally misleading.”
Mastercard told the BBC they were investigating claims made in the letter on pornography sites and would “terminate their connection to our network” if illegal activity by a cardholder was confirmed.
The letter was sent to 10 major credit card companies, including the “Big Three”, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The signatories from countries including the UK, US, India, Uganda and Australia have called for the immediate suspension of payments to pornographic sites.
The signatories of the letter include the conservative non-profit group the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) in the US, and other faith-led or women and child rights’ advocacy groups.
The letter alleges it is impossible to “judge or verify consent in any videos on their site, let alone live webcam videos” which “inherently makes pornography websites a target for sex traffickers, child abusers, and others sharing predatory nonconsensual videos”.
“We’ve been seeing an increasingly global outcry about the harms of pornography sharing websites in a number of ways in recent months,” said Haley McNamara, the director of the UK-based International Centre on Sexual Exploitation, the international arm of the NCOSE and a signatory of the letter.
“We in the international child advocacy and anti-sexual exploitation community are demanding financial institutions to critically analyse their supportive role in the pornography industry, and to cut ties with them,” she told the BBC.
A report on the appetite for child abuse videos on pornography sites was published in April by India Child Protection Fund (ICPF). The organisation said there had been a steep increase in demand for child abuse searches on pornography sites in India, particularly since coronavirus lockdown.
Monitoring pornography online
Pornhub, the most popular pornography streaming site, is named in the letter. In 2019, it registered more than 42 billion visits, the equivalent of 115 million a day.
Pornhub was under scrutiny last year when one of its content providers – Girls Do Porn – became the subject of an FBI investigation.
The FBI charged four people working for the production company that created the channel of coaxing women into making pornographic films under false pretences. Pornhub removed the Girls Do Porn channel as soon as the charges were made.
Commenting to the BBC in February regarding this case, Pornhub said its policy was to “remove unauthorised content as soon as we are made aware of it, which is exactly what we did in this case”.
In October last year a 30-year-old Florida man, Christopher Johnson, faced charges for sexually abusing a 15 year old. Videos of the alleged attack had been posted on Pornhub.
In the same statement to the BBC in February, Pornhub said its policy was to “remove unauthorised content as soon as we are made aware of it, which is exactly what we did in this case”.
The Internet Watch Foundation, a UK organisation that specialises in monitoring online sexual abuse – particularly of children – confirmed to the BBC that they had found 118 instances of child sexual abuse and child rape videos on Pornhub between 2017 and 2019. The body works in partnership with global police and governments to flag illegal content.
In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson for Pornhub said they had “a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content, including non-consensual and under-age material. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”
“Our content moderation system is at the forefront of the industry, utilising leading technologies and moderation techniques that create a comprehensive process to detect and rid the platform of any illegal content.
Pornhub said the letter was sent by organisations “who attempt to police people’s sexual orientation and activity – are not only factually wrong but also intentionally misleading.”
American Express has had a global policy in place since 2000 that says it prohibits transactions for adult digital content where the risk is deemed unusually high, with a total ban on online pornography. In an interview with the Smartmoney website in 2011, a spokesperson for American Express at the time said this was due to high levels of disputes, and an additional safeguard in the fight against child pornography.
Yet, the organisations also sent the letters to American Express, because they say American Express payment options have been offered on pornography sites – including one that specialises in teenage themed content.
A spokesperson for American Express told the BBC that while the global policy still stood, American Express had a pilot with one company that allowed for payment to certain pornography streaming websites if the payment was made within the US and on a US consumer credit card.
Other major credit card companies, including Visa and MasterCard, do allow both credit and debit card holders to purchase online pornography.
In an email to the BBC, a spokesperson for Mastercard said they were “currently investigating the claims referred to us in the letter.
“The way our network works is that a bank connects a merchant to our network to accept card payments.
“If we confirm illegal activity or violations of our rules (by card holders), we will work with the merchant’s bank to either bring them into compliance or to terminate their connection to our network.
“This is consistent with how we have previously worked with law enforcement agencies and groups like National and International Centers for Missing and Exploited Children.”
Some moves have been made by online payment companies to distance themselves from the pornography industry.
In November 2019, Paypal, the global online payment company, announced it would no longer be supporting payments to Pornhub as their policy forbids supporting “certain sexually oriented materials or services”.
In a blog on their site, Pornhub said they were “devastated” by the decision and the move would leave thousands of Pornhub models and performers who relied on subscription from the premium services without payment.
A pornography performer who shares material on Pornhub, and who asked to remain anonymous, said a payment freeze would have devastating implications for her earnings.
“Honestly, it would be a body blow,” she said. “It would wipe out my entire income and I wouldn’t know how to earn money, especially now in lockdown.”
Following mounting pressure for more accountability from pornographic sites, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska sent a letter to the US Department of Justice in March asking Attorney General William Barr to investigate Pornhub for allegedly streaming acts of rape and exploitation.
In the same month, nine Canadian multi-party parliamentarians wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for an investigation into MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, which has its headquarters in Montreal.
Signatories of the letter:
International Centre on Sexual Exploitation, UK,
National Center on Sexual Exploitation, US,
Collective Shout, Australia
European Network of Migrant Women, Belgium
Word Made Flesh Bolivia, Bolivia
Media Health for Children and Youth, Denmark
Apne Aap, India
Survivor Advocate, Ireland
African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect, Liberia
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00National Center on Sexual Exploitationhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngNational Center on Sexual Exploitation2020-05-09 07:59:442020-05-09 08:02:18Call for Credit Card Freeze on Porn Sites
Let’s be as apolitical as possible and reason this out. Based on what we have learned thus far of COVID-19 and a still somewhat foggy but clearing future, there is only one rational route to take through the lifting fog.
First, there are four important premises on which to form the base for making the decision.
PREMISE ONE: Perhaps the most important “given” to accept is that whatever we do, more people will die. This is the brutal truth that no politician or media preener is willing to say, but is the one truth we know more than any other. We need a full and honest understanding that there are no magic unicorn solutions available. Every option we have means people dying. This is the harshest of all givens. COVID-19, or our most extreme measures to shut it down, will continue to kill Americans. Accept this truth, and the choice becomes clearer.
PREMISE TWO: We have no idea when — or even if — a vaccine will be available. Those people who think we should stay shutdown “until it is safe,” are on a fool’s errand. That’s the unicorn search. It’s not possible, not with COVID-19, not with the flu, not with cars, not with swimming, not with virtually anything in life. The very most optimistic estimates do not have a vaccine ready until January, and it is unknown when it can be deployed to 340 million Americans. Waiting even that long, the shortest possible time, would create a catastrophe from which we may never recover, and possibly cost as many lives due to the shutdown as would be saved due to the shutdown. Death from heart attacks, strokes, suicides, drug overdoses are just as real as deaths from COVID.
PREMISE THREE: We have treatments we are developing, but as with other coronaviruses and the flu virus, they will help but they will not cure or stop. They are merely aids that are probably saving lives now. We will refine those as we move forward, but no one says they are silver bullets, simply tools for the medical professionals to use to help some patients. And the ones available anytime soon are available now.
PREMISE FOUR: So without staying shut down for a vaccine or treatments, there is only one reason left for a shutdown: to keep hospitals and the medical system from being overwhelmed. Well, we can now confidently say that has not happened and will not happen. It is one of the few things we can be sure about. Even as horrific as New York was, it never came close to running out of ventilators or ICU beds. States that did not shut down or only partially did fared even better. Florida, supposed to get as bad as New York and Italy, did not reach a fraction of those levels even with the elderly population. Hospitals laid off idle workers due to elective surgeries being banned.
Without vaccines, treatments or flattening the curve to help hospitals, what is the rationale for continuing the shutdown? Well, nothing. There is no longer a viable reason — particularly if you can accept PREMISE ONE. If you cannot, then you are stuck waiting for the unicorns, and destined for disappointment — we’ll have deaths either way.
So if we do not stay shut down, and we accept that more deaths are inevitable with any choice, what’s left?
We re-open. Everything.
With only a few locally-driven exceptions, end the shutdowns and target resources heavily on protecting nursing homes, creating multiple layers of protection, i.e. extensive testing for staff, no visitors who have not been tested within, say, 48 hours, immediate removal of anyone showing symptoms to a pre-determined location, and perhaps more creative measures. At the same time, keep allowing local decisions. So the New York City metro area may want to remain shut down. Local decisions will still serve residents best over a one-size-fits-all.
We realistically cordon off the vulnerable elderly, specifically targeting nursing homes, along with those with comorbidities, and everyone else returns to a form of normal life.
We will rapidly see some things happen. First, it will serve as a catalyst to achieve greater amounts of immunity among the healthy, which reduces the risk for everyone, while returning us to pretty full economic activity — depending on how long the devastation from the shutdown lasts.
One fairly rapid development should be the replenishment of grocery store shelves. The food shortage, which could become severe, is not due primarily to COVID, but to the shutdown in response to COVID that has disrupted many portions of the supply chain. If one link is broken, perhaps there is a workaround. But if several are, we find ourselves in a situation where farmers are letting crops rot and dairy farmers are pumping and dumping milk. The chain broke through the shutdown. But that food shortage is resolved quickly by re-opening, while perhaps providing extra protections for some areas such as meat processors. More resources will be available if we are open.
But other things will also happen, and this is the brutal truth and hardest part. Let the virus move its way through the healthy population, as Sweden is doing, as Florida and Texas and some small midwestern states have partially done. COVID becomes another risk in our lives, like the hundreds of others we face every day.
Other things will happen. The graphs that have become a part of daily life will curve back up and people will react fearfully and ignorantly.
An important element for this being successful with the American people would be confident, calming leadership, something in short supply. Following his norm, many of President Trump’s decisions have been right and helpful, and arguably better than many other world leaders. But his temperament at the mic and on Twitter can be harmful. It isn’t always. I like to see him punch back as much as the next guy. But that is the wrong tactic in this sort of environment, particularly as we re-open and the numbers start creeping back up.
As long as you don’t only imbibe the spin of the #resist media, with some exceptions, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is actually becoming the gold standard on this. Like Trump, he pushed back against shutting down, and then only did a partial one, and is reopening again. On policy, they have been akin. But in tone, DeSantis has been calm, reassuring, and in charge. In fact, some Florida newspapers have grudgingly admitted as much.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, one of Gannett’s more influential papers in the state and steadfastly opposed to much of what DeSantis does, editorialized:
“…the governor’s calm demeanor during a rough stint of on-the-job training, and his repeated efforts to place pragmatism above politics by weighing available data before making decisions, have been commendable. And, we think, helpful overall.”
The reality is the charts will start curving up for a while. But remember PREMISE ONE, any choice we make from here, continued shutdown or re-opening, is going to mean people die. There will be no “safe” time to re-open. We cannot wait until January or January 2022 or maybe never for a vaccine, or for fully effective treatments. There are no silver bullets or magic pills in near enough time.
But there is a quick death of our economy and even way of life looming, and a potential spiral downward no one can really see the end of. That is far too much risk when we now know that protecting nursing homes will really diminish deaths — by 40 percent or more — and re-opening will provide more resources for nursing homes.
So we weigh it all and accept the trade-offs, ugly as they may be. Because long-term — which precious few politicians think in terms of — this will be better for quality of life, livelihoods and quite possibly the actual number of lives saved.
http://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.png00Rod Thomsonhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngRod Thomson2020-05-08 08:56:202020-05-08 09:04:30Data Acknowledges The Brutal Truth: There Is Only One Way Forward