By the Free Enterprise Club
“15 days to slow the spread.” Do you remember that? It was all the rage in the media in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’d hear it on news broadcasts. You’d see it in commercials. And you’d read it as you scrolled through the various social media platforms.
But it didn’t take long before those calls to “slow the spread,” became calls to “cancel everything.” And too many government leaders across the country bought into it by instituting huge lockdowns and other draconian measures.
Certainly, COVID was an issue that warranted some action, but it never should have included crushing small businesses or trampling on the rights of the people.
And yet, here we are more than a year later. The states with the most severe COVID restrictions are experiencing much slower economic recovery than those that fully reopened.
Blue states are struggling
California still has not reopened, despite being the first state to lockdown back in March 2020. Finally, after months of inconsistencies, confusing decisions, and hypocrisy from leaders like Governor Newsom, the state appears to be poised to fully reopen by mid-June.
But the outlook isn’t bright. Even with such extreme lockdowns and other measures, California still experienced a deadly surge from COVID. And along with that, its economy is in turmoil with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates at 8.3%.
Not surprisingly, there’s been a mass exodus from the state, causing it to lose a seat in the House of Representatives. And those that have remained are so fed up that they are trying to recall their governor.
But California is not alone. In a recent report, Michigan has been named as the state with the slowest recovery. Even Governor Whitmer couldn’t help but acknowledge that her radical measures, which at one point included prohibiting citizens from visiting family and friends, couldn’t stop COVID.
And then there’s New York, where Governor Cuomo’s COVID failures have been well documented. Just like California, the state also lost a seat in the House of Representatives due to a significant decline in its population. New York City alone lost approximately 900,000 jobs with a current unemployment rate of 11.4%.
But how do these blue states compare to our own?