Senior Fellow, Commonwealth Foundation
Gov. Tom Wolf, a spoiled trust-funder who’s never known anything but getting his way, extended his Pennsylvania lockdown as citizens cried out for relief.
Thousands of people gathered Monday to protest business closings for the Covid-19 crisis as arbitrary and counterproductive.
My son and I were among those who circled in vehicles the few blocks around the Capitol as others stood on steps and in streets in front of the domed building to listen to speakers decry the shutdown as damaging to livelihoods.
While I have been largely unharmed, my son has been furloughed from his sales job. His employer has cut back operations mostly to servicing appliances and televisions they’ve already sold.
Of course, my son is just one of many affected. I happen to be a customer of John and Sherrie who have been prohibited from operating their carpet and flooring businesses while a large competitor remains open.
Matt Brouillette, President and CEO of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, represented the experience — and views — of many in a Facebook post:
First, never once have I equated this virus with the common cold or just another flu. There are certainly comparisons we can make about the spread of viruses but I took this seriously and even supported the extraordinary measures we were told to take at beginning of the outbreak when we didn’t know what we were dealing with.
I closed my business and had everyone work from home before any edicts came down from the Governor. My family of 6 has also socially distanced ourselves and generally adhered to the guidelines coming down from the Governor.
But as the projections of 2.2 million deaths began to precipitously fall because we began to better understand the virus, our Governor has decided to ratchet UP his shutdown of businesses and lockdown of our lives.
Instead of continuing to encourage social distancing, avoiding large crowds, and targeting the most vulnerable with the protections and assistance they need, Governor Wolf is restricting us even more and using force even when ~80% of cases and deaths are in only 10 of PA’s 67 counties. More than half of PA counties have 0 or 1 death, yet he is applying the same restrictions on those counties as he’s applying to Philly.
Second, I’ve never once suggested we just open things up and go back to the way things were. We do know that the overwhelming majority of healthy people get it and get over it, without the need for hospitalization. And we also know who is most vulnerable—the elderly and those with certain health conditions.
We can target our assistance and protection of those people while also allowing healthy people to get back to work. As we learn more, it is most likely that this virus is not dissimilar to other viruses in that we eventually need to develop herd immunity. But by suppressing that from happening now, we are inviting back a second wave.
That’s why I believe it would be far better to allow those who don’t have health issues, who want to go to work, to be able to do so while also making our workplaces and public places safer. Accommodations can be made for those who don’t want to or can’t work right now.
Even as the “Reopen Pennsylvania Rally” proceeded, the governor extended the shutdown to May 8, apparently when some tentative steps toward reopening the economy are to be taken — maybe.
Gov. Wolf is disconnected from the reality of Pennsylvania citizens who produced signs of protests Monday pleading for a return of their freedoms. Two of my favorites read as follows:
“Daddy wants to go back to work.”
“We prefer freedom over safety.”
Gordon Tomb is a senior fellow for the Commonwealth Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based, free-market think tank.
Editor’s Note: Tom Wolf has been completely tone-deaf during this health crisis, so accustomed, as a trust-funder, to simply lecturing others and having them do as he demands, that he cannot communicate hope. He has instead descended into a morass of moroseness. He has substituted a will to power for leadership, droning on with the sadness of a man completely out of his league who is never willing to engage, preferring to lecture instead. That’s why Senator John Yudichak is no longer a Democrat, why trade unions are abandoning him and Democrats are quietly as furious with him as Republicans.
Gov. Wolf, you need to work with others for a change. Your extension of the lockdown for an additional week is a petty angry response that anyone would be so bold as to question you. You’ve been more interested in listening to Andrew Cuomo than us and it shows. When you began dealing with this crisis you took a measured approach many of us thought was appropriate. What you’re doing now is anything but. The people are speaking to you, Gov. Wolf. They’re looking for leadership, not sad lectures and vindictiveness.
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