Country needs our protection from pandemic, too


Image by Shutterstock.

Nobody knew the number “15” could be so challenging and deadly. Challenging for citizens to do their best to social distance for at least 15 days, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Deadly to our nation’s economy.

Despite this, we’ve been a mostly cooperative group because Americans tend to be try-hards when it comes to protecting our citizens. Our regulation nation does whatever it can to protect us from every disease, accident and tragedy.

That we’ll all be safe and well is what everyone wants, but we can never fully succeed in that quest. Living is still, and always will be, a risky business. According to the National Safety Council, nearly 39,000 died in car accidents last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that recent past flu seasons have seen as many as 61,000 deaths in one year. Based on data from the National Institute of Mental Health, 47,000 died from suicide in 2017. And the National Cancer Institute says that nearly 610,000 died from cancer in 2018.

These casualties were important, too—all people loved by someone. But none of these diseases, accidents or tragedies triggered a complete shutdown of our economy.

We’re braking hard right now for the global pandemic and national emergency that is COVID-19. It’s already taken hundreds of American lives, and it will take many more. The majority of deaths from this virus occur in the elderly, who also have serious underlying health conditions.

According to the CDC, the virus has an incubation of 2 – 14 days after exposure before symptoms may appear. It makes the “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” plan sound reasonable.

Nursing homes, schools, churches, restaurants, bars, sporting events, festivals, concerts, non-profit fundraising dinners, and many small businesses and large corporations have been shuttered during this time. It’s an effort to reduce personal contacts in order to reduce the number of infections and hospitalizations. Flattening the curve can avoid spikes that could overwhelm our health care providers.

But grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and essential businesses remain open and are continuing to receive foot traffic. People still need food, gas, medicine, and other essential supplies and services. Turns out that immobilizing 300,000,000 people for long periods of time just isn’t that easy. Basic human needs must still be met.

It’s too soon to tell whether or not 15 days will flatten the curve. The experts could be right, or they could be wrong. At this point, it doesn’t matter.

If they’re right and it worked, we can take what we’ve learned about virus containment and slowly and cautiously restart our economy. If the experts are wrong and it didn’t work, we have to seriously question the amount of public good that can be done by continuing restrictions.

For example, coronavirus cases are soaring in New York City. Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, stated, “Clearly, the virus has been circulating there for a number of weeks…” It’s possible that the virus is already too far ahead of us.

What we do know, though, is that our economy went from robust and healthy to one that is on life support. Whether the experts are right or wrong, at the end of this 15-day period, it will be time to make an adjustment in favor of restoring economic health.

We can continue to protect the elderly, children, and those with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions. Let their 15 days become 15 weeks, if necessary.

For the rest of us—who are healthy and able to work—be ready for the call to get this country’s economy back on the move.

Even one coronavirus death is too many. But our country is dying and needs our protection, too.

Policies of current president created roaring economy

red star

Image by Shutterstock.

The “you didn’t build that” guy is back.

In 2012 at a campaign appearance, then President Barrack Obama said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Many small business owners didn’t take kindly to that remark. Every new business begins with an idea and the personal courage to follow through on it. Business ownership is an individual effort and risk. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half of all startups fail within five years.

The Obama administration backpedaled. It tried to reinforce the message that because business owners receive benefits from the government such as public education and the use of public roads, it supports the “you didn’t build that” notion.

Surprisingly, there can be a widespread and incorrect understanding that the government is some separate entity in this country—not a 100 percent taxpayer-funded one—that provides public goods. Statements like Obama’s fuel that misunderstanding.

The reality is that the small business owner builds a business and also funds public schools and roads through taxes. That’s a lot of individual building. Not government building.

Now Obama’s back on the campaign trail, trying to help Democrats get elected in the midterms. This time, he’s attempting to take some credit for the roaring economy.

There are times when a current president benefits from a past president’s policies.

One example is the Berlin Wall. It fell during the George H.W. Bush presidency. But history books will give greater credit to his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, and his policy of peace through strength. Reagan initiated the policy and Bush maintained it. He “stayed the course.”

The same is not true for the Obama – Trump transition. Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, campaigned to reverse the course of Obama—not maintain it. Now he’s called President Trump.

Under the Obama administration, business-harming regulations escalated. One of Trump’s first moves as president was issuing an executive order that directed government agencies to repeal two regulations for every new rule enacted. According to the White House, the regulation rollback was actually 22 regulations removed for every new rule instituted during 2017.

Obama also favored tax increases. However, Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress delivered a tax cut that benefits both individuals and businesses.

And according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, optimism among small businesses has soared. It’s been tracking it for 45 years, and it’s never been higher.

The optimism factor is very much leader-driven, and it surged directly after Trump was elected.

Juanita Duggan, NFIB’s president and CEO, states, “There is no question that the change of policy in Washington has everything to do with the increase in the optimism index.”

Historians will not connect Obama with this current economic surge, no matter how often he attempts to take credit for it at campaign rallies. Losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wrote a book called, “What Happened,” where she blamed everyone else for her failures. Maybe Obama will one day write a book called, “I Happened,” where he takes credit for everyone else’s successes.

Many may feel a personal dislike for Trump. Pick a tweet. Any tweet.

For some, it makes it awfully tough to acknowledge anything positive coming out of his presidency.

But small business owners are less interested in tweets and personalities than they are in policy changes that will help, and not hinder, their businesses.

And when small businesses succeed, the country succeeds. According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, small businesses account for more than 90 percent of all companies in the country.

It remains to be seen if Trump can sustain this roaring economy. The midterm elections will have a lot to say about that.

Until then, give credit where credit is due. Even if it’s only begrudgingly.