|As of this morning, 75 percent of Texas remains closed due to the government-ordered shutdown of the economy. As it has always been, it is up to Texans to save Texas from our politicians.
Here is today’s Texas Minute.
|– Michael Quinn Sullivan
Monday, May 4, 2020
|· According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 2 million Texans have filed for unemployment because of the government shutdown.
· For some perspective, the state has 28.9 million residents, of whom 7.5 million are under 18 and 3.7 million are over the age of 65. That leaves 17.7 million of what most people consider “working age.”
· Now, more than 1 in 10 of those working age Texans are out of work, and depressingly, that number continues to rise.
· This sort of dramatic increase in unemployment is unprecedented. It isn’t due to economic cycles or the disruption of war. Per the government data, 100 percent of these newly unemployed find themselves in this position because of orders from state and local government in Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott, county judges, and mayors.
· While the governor is bragging on national news outlets about reopening the state, the reality at home is far less cheerful. Texas remains 75 percent closed.
· If both of your hands and both ankles are shackled to a wall, you’re not free just because your captor releases your left ankle and promises to check on you in a couple weeks. Yes, 25 percent of your binds are released… but you are still shackled to a wall.
· For a real-world example, look at Dallas-based investor Ray Washburne, whose company owns a number of restaurants. He recently told Fox News that operating at 25 percent occupancy might as well be zero for his enterprises. In fact, he added, unless a restaurant can operate at closer to 100 percent, being open at 25 percent is almost worse.
· Now, replicate that across a great number of industries and business types… and the ongoing closures, layoffs, and unemployment becomes more apparent.
· Not only has this shutdown forced thousands of Texans into unemployment and decimated small producers and supply companies, but it will also negatively impact American energy independence. (Not to mention pulling the plug on a major source of revenue for state and local government.)
· Another sign of the economic hit? Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Friday sales tax revenues dropped 10 percent in March. When the April numbers are finally released, when the most stringent shutdown orders were in place, the state’s fiscal situation will be even worse. Yet so far neither Gov. Abbott nor Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have proposed any spending cuts.
|· It has become apparent that even if these shutdown orders are lifted right now, many Texas families are going to continue to be in rough shape. No one expects the continued government cash infusions to businesses to keep their workers employed forever (nor should they).
· And when those funds dry up, we can expect an even more dramatic increase of suffering Texans if our economy hasn’t rebounded enough for them to keep their jobs.
· Frankly, a real rebound won’t come from government officials or their actions. It will come from citizens… even if the citizens must defy the restrictions placed on them by their government.
· Dallas businesswoman Shelley Luther has famously stood up against her county’s (and the governor’s) draconian and arbitrary rules keeping hair salons and barbershops closed. As she has noted in numerous interviews, she reopened her salon because the independent contractors who sub-lease workspaces rely on her to do their work and feed their families. She is taking a risk, but that’s what Texans do.
· And she has inspired others to do likewise!
· If Gov. Abbott lifts the restrictions on hair stylists, beauty salons, and barbers ahead of his published schedule – as has been hinted – it will be despite Abbott himself and because of the persistent activism of Shelley Luther highlighting the arbitrary nature of the ongoing closure orders.
· Whatever politicians like Gov. Greg Abbott, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo decide to do, it is going to take a lot more Shelley Luthers if Texas is going to rebound stronger than ever.
· I’m confident Texans will rise to the challenge.
Today in History
On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island declared its independence from England.
“We are not insensible that when liberty is in danger, the liberty of complaining is dangerous; yet a man on a wreck was never denied the liberty of roaring as loud as he could… And we believe no good reason can be given why the colonies should not modestly and soberly inquire what right the Parliament of Great Britain have to tax them.”
– Stephen Hopkins
|(Stephen Hopkins was a member of the Continental Congress from Rhode Island, and a signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.)|
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