Right before your very eyes, the Leftist big-government dreams are crashing. This is only becoming more obvious as the economic shutdowns persist. Whether it is reliance on experts or the belief in a magic money tree to solve everyone’s problems, their illusions are rapidly being proven wrong.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer decided to show her inner tyrant while auditioning for Joe Biden’s VP slot. She created ridiculous rules that shuttered thousands of small businesses like landscaping and gardening centers. To flaunt her green policy cred, she also shut down people guzzling gas to go to their Upper Peninsula cabins or use their recreational vehicles. What she didn’t calculate was the lost tax revenue that would ensue.
So, despite her belief that government can solve all of the problems citizens face by controlling all aspects of their existence, she ran into a stark reality. The taxes paid for each gallon of gas, on profits from plant sales, and services rendered are a significant portion of the budget she has available to spend.
By limiting the state’s income by defining such a narrow range of permissible activity, Governor Whitmer was forced to lay off approximately 3,000 state employees for at least two weeks. According to Crain’s Detroit:
“The temporary layoffs affect just a fraction of the 48,000-employee state workforce and are estimated to save the state’s general fund $5 million this fiscal year, according to the State Budget Office.
State employees laid off will retain their health insurance and other benefits and “will be automatically enrolled into the unemployment process to help ensure that they have the support they need during this challenging time,” Whitmer said.
“I’ve mentioned that I’ve made a lot of hard choices in the past six weeks — this was one of the hardest,” Whitmer said Wednesday at a news conference in Lansing. “But this is the right thing to do to ensure that we can continue providing critical services to the people of Michigan.”
Seems like an extraordinary savings calculation for a projected two-week period. Especially since they will just be converting it to unemployment payments according to the governor. However, I would like to thank her for proving the money tree doesn’t exist. And the Leftist dream of government job guarantees and UBI is highly dependent on how many dollars they take in from people who are actually working.
President Cuomo was an idea some Democrats seemed to be taking seriously. Hopefully the events of the last few days have killed that premature thought. Yesterday the governor of New York got into an exchange with a reporter asking him about protestors at the state capital in Albany. The protestors were wanting the governor to allow them to go back to work before the widespread testing he feels is necessary for New York City.
His response was dangerously close to “Let them eat cake.” While he stated he understood the economic hardship, he said returning to work would be reckless. Albany and many of the counties north and west of the city have experienced fewer than 30 deaths during the epidemic and have a small fraction of the infection rate of Gotham according to Johns Hopkins data. The data makes the reckless assertion rather dubious. However, the governor offered a suggestion: “By the way — if you want to go to work, go take the job as an essential worker. Do it tomorrow.”
Excuse me, governor? Hospitals outside the city are empty and you don’t just go and demand a job from Wegmans. For most jobs in the medical field, outside of housekeeping and the kitchen, specialized training and licensure are required. Further, why should someone who owns a hair salon and has paid for their professional and business license go collect carts in a Walmart parking lot when they have had a few hundred positive patients and under-30 deaths in the last month?
If Governor Cuomo can’t pull his head out of New York City to appropriately govern the rest of his state, could we count on him to pull his head out of D.C. and appropriately govern the rest of the country? It gets better. And by better, I mean worse.
New York is getting hammered for not being able to deliver unemployment benefits. The Gothamist called getting benefits a “Kafkaesque Mess.” News from Buffalo reports residents approved for unemployment benefits are waiting on hold for hours to find out when they will receive them only to be disconnected before they can talk to anyone. This is despite 1,000 workers manning the phones, according to the governor.
Then yesterday, the system crashed. After touting support from Google to develop a portal to process claims, the governor had to say that the system was still backlogged and basically paralyzed with a significant backlog. The governor said:
“I get it. I get it. And we have 1,000 people working on it. We have Google working on it. And we have all these experts working on it,” he said. “They are trying to bring up a system that did a much, much lower capacity.”
I think it was a bunch of experts that created this problem in the first place, but I digress. If only someone had said the state systems were inadequate and the federal government should be processing these payments. Oh, wait. Someone did, President Trump.
If only we had a leader who had run into a system built for much lower capacity and put together a team to fix it. Oh yeah, that would be President Trump. Whether it was the public/private partnership that revolutionized testing in a pandemic or the marshaling of private-sector companies to manufacture thousands of ventilators, the administration made it happen in a matter of weeks.
Maybe Governor Cuomo will need to ask Trump to fix his unemployment system. Since he has already asked President Trump for everything he needed to manage the pandemic, it would make sense. Perhaps both he and Witmer could also take a lesson on managing different areas of their states differently than they manage their metro areas. You know, kind of like federalism.
In any case, if leaders like Cuomo and Witmer are the best the Democrats have to offer, I think I’ll take the status quo any day of the week.