By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor
America is opening up! Kind of. Different states, curiously reflecting their red/blue political leadership, are opening at different paces. Except, of course, for the House of Representatives which apparently feels that the best way to represent the American people is to not go to work. Oh well, that’s Washington for you. Still, while parts of the government can’t be bothered, thoughtful free market policy people are proposing ways to lead us out of this crisis…and some other crises as well. Read on …
Waive Goodbye to Regulations…One of the best things that has come out of the battle against COVID-19 and its attempt to wreck the economy is a recognition that we have a way too regulated country. In an attempt to keep things going, and bring some sanity back into our lives, the Trump Administration and state and local governments have waived a whopping 570 regulations. Americans for Tax Reform has compiled the list at https://www.atr.org/rules. Have fun reading and let’s hope these bad regs stay dead after the virus passes.
Alaska Stands Up for State Employees. Reading state Administrative Orders hardly seems like an exciting pastime, but Alaska Administrative Order #312 is the exception that tests the rule. Issued by Governor Michael J. Dunleavy, the order aggressively ‘ensures that the State of Alaska honors the First Amendment free speech rights of state employees to choose whether or not to pay union dues and fees through payroll deduction.’ A ripening fruit of the U.S. Supreme Court Janus Decision, this is one piece of bureaucratic procedure worth the read here.
Paycheck Protection Loans…Making Sure the Money Goes Where it’s Needed Most. In its well meaning efforts to help Americans, American businesses and save the economy, the Federal Government rushed through the CARES Act, a principal provision of which was PPP — the Payroll Protection Program. Designed to provide low interest and forgivable loans to small businesses — the backbone of the economy and chief job creator — the program had some loopholes and just plain holes that allowed for money to be siphoned off to larger corporations. Mario Lopez, President of The Hispanic Leadership Fund, has suggestions for how Treasury Secretary Mnuchin can improve the program here.
The Pandemic and Education: Are Catholic Schools on the Ropes? There are so many aspects of the impact that Coronavirus is having on the American way of life that sometimes some very important ones can slip right by our notice. While everyone debates the outcome of parents learning to home-school, not many have thought about what education will look like when we return to “the new normal”. Sure, Public Schools will reopen. But private schools have also been shut down by lockdown orders and many, particularly Catholic schools, may not be able to reopen. Why should you care, if you’re not Catholic? Because Catholic schools provide a first level, lower cost option to parents seeking school choice — in short, better education than that offered by sometimes inadequate government schools. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken aggressive steps that have raised the ire of opponents of school choice and private schools and gained praise from supporters. But her actions may not be able to save Catholic schools as Rebecca Klein writes in HUFFPOST. And Charlie Kirk, Founder and President of Turning Point USA, makes a surprising ecumenical plea for Catholic education in Newsweek. It’s an issue that may effect you more than you know.
Lives Versus Livelihoods: the Way Forward. The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, has released the daft of a comprehensive plan to save American lives and save the American economy. The Blue Ribbon panel has produced serious work that deserves serious consideration. The report offers over 264 recommendations over 5 phases. See the draft report here.
Why Go Back to Work, Part II. The issue of whether lower income workers will go back to work when they are potentially making more from the Federal COVID-19 unemployment is a real one. Frankly, why should they? More money for not working at a fast food restaurant, coffee shop, or any other menial job just makes sense. But we need those jobs done. Isabel Soto, of the American Action Forum has done research on how the issue plays out in different states. She offers her findings, and possible policy steps here.
And Finally, Something You Didn’t Know You Needed to Worry About…Broadband Boondoggles. It is not news that Government wastes a lot of money — your money!. But did you know that Government owned (that means taxpayer funded) broadband networks are rarely successful, poorly targeted and underutilized? Often they end up being sold for less then they cost to private companies. How bad is it? Read the Taxpayers Alliance Report here and find out more at http://munibroadbandfailures.org.
Events: It’s not all bad. My commute from my couch to my ZOOM or TEAMS meeting takes 15 seconds. 30 if I stop for coffee, 45 if I put on pants. And most events and meetings are now on line. Check to make sure your event has not been cancelled. The good news: You don’t have to wear your mask at a livestream event.
- HERITAGE FOUNDATION offers a selection of Virtual Programming on a variety of topics, always with interesting and highly credible presenters. Check out this site for a complete listing.
- ACTON UNIVERSITY. Four Day Conference. June 16 – 20, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Apply at university.acton.org.
Andresen Blom is a Washington based policy and political analyst and author who has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico.