Safer At Home- Round II
WBAY News has a nice summary of what the updated order does. Some of the most important impacts: K-12 public and private schools will remain closed for the rest of the current school year. Non-essential businesses will be allowed to do “Minimum Basic Operations”, such as ‘deliveries, mailings and curb-side pick-up.’
To justify his decision, Governor Evers states in the updated Safer at Home Order:
“When the Safer at Home Order was issued, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 was doubling every 3.4 days and, as of April 14, 2020, the rate of doubling is now approximately 12 days…
According to the model created by DHS (Department of Health Services), Wisconsin was projected to have between 440 and 1,500 deaths from COVID-19 by April 8th. These numbers were based on projected significant exponential growth in positive cases; however, since the Safer at Home Order, there has been a decrease in exponential growth in the number of cases and by April 8th, Wisconsin had only 99 deaths.”
DHS officials added that “maintaining restrictions is the state’s only intervention without treatments or vaccines available” per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
That is some real progress, and gives some context to the governor’s monumental decision. In an announcement for DHS, Mr. Evers describing returning to economic normalcy in this way: “We can’t think of this like flipping a switch-it’s like flipping a dial.” He also joined a partnership with other Midwestern governors designed to “reopen the regional economy.”
As reported by the Sentinel, opposition was swift from Republican state legislators. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald stated that “Rural counties of our state haven’t seen nearly the number of cases that urban and suburban areas have, yet are bearing the full economic impacts of this crisis.” In a joint statement, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said “The governor can’t just keep extending the date, waiting for some new knowledge to appear.”
While the Safer at Home measure has saved lives and slowed the virus’s spread, 380,000 thousand Wisconsinites have lost work, according to the Sentinel. In a letter to President Trump, jointly written with the governors of Michigan and Pennsylvania, Governor Evers reported that Wisconsin faces $2 billion in lost revenue due the effects of the virus.
Being a politician involves unpleasant realities. In fact, that may be the entire job description. They are often called to do a cost-benefit analysis and choose the “less bad” of two bad outcomes. Gov Evers provided some justification for the continuation of the Safer at Home order. Yet, the already devastating impacts of the virus on the state’s economy in just three weeks will exponentially grow in weeks and months to follow as long as restrictions are in place.
As my good friend Steve Swedberg wonderfully summed up in his Coronavirus Is Also An Economic Crisis:
“When people hear about the economy, there are those who think it comes down to a callous reduction of dollars and cents. It’s much more than that. Macroeconomic and microeconomic fundamentals have direct impact on one’s livelihood. A livelihood is what is required to put food on the table, a roof over one’s head, buy clothes, pay for education and health care…you get the idea.”
When Steve and I speak of the economy in the context of the virus, we are not speaking of the economy as an end in and of itself. The economy, jobs and all those related terms are valuable because of what they can do for people. Having a stable career and money in one’s pocket skyrockets social mobility, happiness and other quality of life indicators.
Governor Evers believes that extending the Safer at Home order is the right decision, the “less bad” of two awful options. Considering the already devastating economic impact of the virus and the Safer at Home order, with 380,000 people losing work, $2 billion in lost revenue, schools shuttered and costs sure to rise, he needs a stronger justification.
As my college professors told me: “the loftier the argument, the higher burden of proof.” Shutting down a state requires one hell of an argument, perhaps the end-all, be-all argument from a governor.
Mr. Evers gave us the start of one in today’s order. I await the rest.
He gets an incomplete for now.
I hope he finishes his homework before flunking and dragging the state under.
Originally published at https://theprimacyofpolitics.blogspot.com.