Earlier this week, Senator Mitch McConnell said that perhaps big-spending states with lousy balance sheets might need to file for bankruptcy. Naturally, the howls of indignation and panic came from spendthrift governors whose states happened to fit Mitch’s unflattering profile.
Unsurprisingly, some of these govs have also been extremely reluctant to relax their “martial law” type grip on citizens. In the name of “safety” and “caution”, they keep moving the goalposts for opening businesses farther down the field.
Governors Whitmer of Michigan and Cuomo of New York have remained stubbornly stuck on a one size fits all approach, in spite of the fact both states have large swaths of rural areas virtually unaffected by COVID 19. Gavin Newsom, California’s chief executive, looking at a similar landscape, is using the same authoritarian playbook.
The Empire State, with a population of over 19 million people, is divided into 64 very diverse counties. Using COVID 19 numbers as of this writing, almost 69% of those areas have less than 150 infections. A few have under 10.
Michigan has over 10 million residents and is broken into 83 extremely diverse counties. Over three-quarters of those regions have less than 150 folks testing positive for the coronavirus. Roughly 25% of all 83 counties have less than 10 people infected!
Gov. Newsom has his grip on 58 Golden State counties. Those located in rural locales are vastly different from those in urban areas, where the virus has been most active. In the less populated areas, virtually half of Newsom’s counties have under 150 people down with the illness. In northern and less dense eastern sections of California, ten regions have 10 or fewer cases. Several have only 1, 2, or 3!
Yet, 2 months into this crippling crisis, not one of these three governors has committed to a timeline or concrete benchmarks, “allowing” desperate, clamoring residents to go back to work. This in spite of data proving hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men and women are living in parts of their states, basically statistically unaffected by the virus.
So much for the whole “safety first” issue.
What appears more likely is the safety these pols are most interested in is their own. After a typically reflexive, loud, public push back against President Trump’s claim he had the power to open states, these governors got what they’d asked for, but apparently not what they really wanted.
Since given the green light, to make some of the difficult, sometimes life or death decisions elected chief executives have to make, there’s been a whole lot less chatter about how US Constitution empowers them to do just that.
Instead, following the president’s clever bit of political jiu-jitsu, the governors’ “asks” have been mostly focused on getting free stuff, with few if any strings attached. They want more money and supplies at the federal government’s expense.
Time for Cuomo, Whitmer, and Newsom to use the powers they demanded, and wean people in some of the areas cited above, of the economic ventilators that are barely keeping them financially viable.
Until they do at least that much, they don’t deserve any more federal taxpayer dollars.