By David Glenn Cox
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmire has asked the state legislature for an additional 100 million dollars in spending to help deal with the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. A noble effort once tried by the Michigan legislature in 1932. Like painting a battleship with a toothbrush or passing out rice one grain at a time. Michigan seeks to surmount the hurdles put in place by Mitch McConnell. McConnell wants liability protection for employers, so they cannot be sued for forcing workers into unsafe conditions before allowing any stimulus.
Mitch wants an elevator pass for a one-story building. An American dies every minute from Covid 19 but Mitch is concerned with protecting employers from liability. Remember, we’re all in this together! So, if you die because you are forced to work in the public making hamburgers or taking care of someone’s sick grand ma, trying to feed your family. Mitch wants to make sure you can’t sue your employer. The irony of the Captain of the Titanic worried about a customer satisfaction survey. Not far from here up on the main road are all the usual suspects. Target, Office Max, Wendy’s, McDeath, you get the idea. But TGI Friday’s is gone and so is the Perkin’s restaurant with a for sale sign in the window. Across the street from the Perkins, an independent restaurant has also closed.
Five restaurants closed within five miles of my house how many would that be for the entire city of Denver? Perkins and Friday’s are chains, how many employees at the home office are being let go? How many franchises owners now own vacant property near the interstate? How many wholesale grocers are letting drivers go? How many restaurant suppliers are letting salesman go? Back before the Mini-Depression of 2008, I worked in Atlanta for a wholesale Industrial engine supplier. Atlanta had two automotive assembly plants, a Ford plant, and a Chevy Truck factory. We didn’t do business with either factory but when they closed, boy did we feel it.
There was a hole in the market. The market just shrank while the number of vendors stayed the same. Those factories had copy machines and uniform vendors, Coke machines, floor mats by the door. They had ball point pens and paper clips as well as furniture and decorations. When they stopped making cars, they stopped making a lot of things. One of my suppliers had these beautiful offices lush with greenery. Tall potted palms by the door and vines climbing a stairway trellis. After commenting favorably, they said, “It’s a service. They water them and take care of them and if they die, they replace them. I returned after the corporate merger to find a desert. You want a pencil sharpened around here you better bring your own sharpener and your own pencil.
The small, closed sign on the front door explodes exponentially out the back, affecting people in a hundred unseen ways. The price of gasoline goes up or down depending on demand and so moves up that food chain. The lunacy of talking about fracking during the recent Presidential campaign, “Biden is going to ban fracking!” The price for a barrel of fracked oil is about seventy-five bucks but you can buy the real thing for forty-five. Another good reason fracking is a bad idea. It’s boom and bust industry. It is profitable only in a time of high demand and the first thing cut once the market retreats, leaving economic damage and unemployment claims in its wake. But we always count forward and we never count back. “Son, there is money to be made and if it leaves this town a wasteland, so be it!”
Now Mitch wants his targeted stimulus, he wants to pick and choose which hungry children he feeds. Coincidentally, Mitch’s list of the worthy is also similar in nature to a list of contributors and at the very tippy top of that list is, Not You! Mitch is insistent that state and local governments be starved before any Federal aide is forthcoming. It is as crazy as trying to cure head lice with a baseball bat. The damage done reverberates through the economy and returns as tax increases. Once you’ve lost your home, it is doubtful you will ever own another one. Prosperity lost is never found by sawing off the branch you are sitting on. Money spent at the bottom will percolate towards the top. Money spent at the top will percolate into someone’s pocket or the Mercedes dealership.
Friday’s and Perkins are gone but their workers are still here. They were attacked by an invisible virus that destroyed their employment no differently than a hurricane or Japanese Zero. To walk away saying, ‘we only help our friends, besides you don’t look that sick to me.” Mitch want’s his limited stimulus and doesn’t want to listen when the Federal Reserve says, “Doing too much is better than too little.” It is because of the Triumvirate, President Trumpy, President Elect Biden and President Mitch McConnell. McConnell is like vampire only able to strike under the cover of darkness. “I can sabotage Trumpy or I can sabotage Biden.” I can just hear him on the phone with Trumpy. “Okay, listen up pin head!” McConnell has six years and Trumpy has twenty minutes.
So, by stifling a stimulus President McConnell is sabotaging the American economy and Donald Trump. But Trumpy is a non-reality-based organism immune to logical criticism. At the same time Mitch fires a shot across the bow of the incoming administration. “I dealt with one orange idiot I’ll deal with you too.” If I were a Trumpist, I would probably support Trump. But if I were a lobbyist, I’d follow McConnell. Trumpy is their mouthpiece, but Mitch McConnell is their bag man.
“Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources.” – FDR