The Great Depression… The Great Recession… But what are we in today? This government-caused economic downturn is unlike anything we have ever experienced. Never have we seen anything of this magnitude. So, what should this recent catastrophe be called? Gene Epstein has coined the term ‘The Great Suppression’.
How government has suppressed business
The economy is an intricate system of individuals and businesses. Every industry is built upon other industries. When one of these industries shuts down, it affects the rest of the economy. It’s like sitting on a chair that’s missing a leg. The economy cannot function when we just start shutting down entire industries.
Businesses across the country have been forced to close their doors because they have been deemed ‘non-essential’. Being essential is subjective, though. Those businesses are essential to the people that own them and to the people who work for them. The barber down the road cannot afford to pay bills if they are shut down. Nail salons, hotels, restaurants, bars, and more are being forced to close. San Jose even forced a gun store to close. This has displaced hundreds of thousands of workers and has led to a need for the Trump Stimulus Bill. This is like having someone break both of your legs and then offer you a wheelchair, only to expect you to praise them for charging you ten times what the wheelchair was worth on the back end.
Companies began to assist in the marketplace by sending out at-home testing kits for Covid-19. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shut them down by discrediting their viability because these tests had not gotten FDA approval and had not used government approved testing permitted by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). This has been hailed as a major advancement after the initial testing was only done through the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at state and local public health labs. However, the testing would not have had such a slow rollout, had it not been for government suppression of private businesses offering Covid-19 at-home testing kits.
Another suppression of business is Certificate of Need (CON) laws. CON laws are restrictions on the amount of beds and hospital facilities that can be erected in a certain geographical location. This means that government believes that it can account for how many beds and hospitals that communities should have, and who can house and care for the sick. Despite being done away with on a federal level, over three-quarters of the states have some form of CON laws. This has placed a hindrance on companies and individuals to fulfill the need for treatment facilities. When the demand for beds increases, companies and individuals cannot open up business, like hotels, to help house the sick. This is resulting in hospitals having to allocate the available beds to those deemed most in need and turning away those who will more than likely survive the illness. This is the real-life result of rationing. If health care is a right, then why are people being turned away? Furthermore, companies should have the availability to help house these people, at least to help with the social distancing that we are attempting to achieve.
Many businesses have begun to produce masks in order to help stop the airborne spreading of Covid-19. This, in conjunction with not touching your face and washing your hands, had been the idea for not spreading this virus. However, the government initially stated that masks didn’t help, despite using them in hospitals, and only after independent claims did they retract that statement and deem masks as a benefit. The reason that government made the first claim is believed to divert the toilet paper effect that we had just recently seen. The government wanted to allocate the masks to hospitals, but in effect actually caused many people to go unprotected, thereby spreading the virus even more through disinformation.
How the government has suppressed churches
The first amendment of the Constitution states that government will make no law hindering people’s ability to practice their religion, but it also states that the government should make no law hindering people’s ability to peacefully assemble. However, during this time the government has violated both of the tenants of the first amendment by arresting multiple pastors for holding church services amid this Covid-19 outbreak.
In Florida, Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested on two misdemeanor counts: unlawful assembly and a violation of health emergency rules. What is peculiar about this case is the freedom that people have to make choices to go out into the community. Howard-Browne was charged with these crimes because there would be a larger outcry if all the people had been charged with these crimes, which would seem to be the logical action for the state to take given the nature of the charges. However, the idea here is that the state takes out the “leader” and the followers will scatter. Idaho lawmaker and pastor of The Altar, Tim Remington, came under fire when he refused to stop holding church services. Authorities said that while churches are not deemed essential services, a police investigation showed that people were abiding by the social distancing parameters issued by the governor.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that he would permanently close any church or synagogue that refused to follow his orders to stop gathering. This is taking the violation of the first amendment to a whole new level. De Blasio is not just saying that he will arrest people or charge them with a crime, but he is saying that he will permanently close the doors on a place of religion. Furthermore, he seems to have targeted Judeo-Christian faiths as he did not mention mosques or other houses of worship. This would be an even further violation of people’s rights to peacefully assemble and worship in their faith.
It is worth a mention that a few states like Ohio, Texas, and now Florida, along with a few others, have excluded churches from their stay at home order, citing 1st amendment concerns.
How government has suppressed the individual
This started with the suggestion of social distancing. Then we progressed to shutting down “non-essential” businesses. And now we are at a quasi-quarantine phase. Some state governments have made it a misdemeanor to leave your house for nonessential reasons or even associate with a group of ten or more people. This includes leaving your town. There are social pressures at play which are causing people who have been planning major engagements like their weddings to postpone them or even cancel them. Weddings fall under the prohibited forms of gathering, but Pastor Remington’s church was able to pull it off without penalty.
States are beginning to really crack down on their stay-at-home orders. In California, a paddleboarder was alone in the ocean when a patrol boat pulled up, escorted him to the shore, and then arrested him. In New York, cops pepper sprayed a woman’s boyfriend and arrested her. She was taken to the local jail where she was housed with several other women for 36 hours. None of these women had been tested for Covid-19 and could have easily spread the disease to all of them, had one of them been infected.
A man in New Jersey coughed on a store clerk and told her that he had the coronavirus. The man was charged with making terroristic threats in the third and fourth-degree, harassment, and providing false information. What is scary about this is how much of a slippery slope we are on if this man is convicted of terrorism for this. With drones already beginning to monitor cities in California, what’s next? People being charged with terrorism for leaving their homes during quarantine after a drone catches them on camera?
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking to extend its power by further circumventing the fifth and fourteenth amendments and holding citizens indefinitely without due process. At the same time, Florida wants to arrest people without bail for violating the stay at home order. However, this is nothing new. Anytime there is a crisis, the first thing government tries to do is to extend its power. Kentucky has been putting ankle monitors on patients who ignore the self-isolation order. In Newark, NJ, it has become a crime to spread “fake news” about the coronavirus. This could lead to people being tried for crimes against the public for simply sharing articles.
How Government made the problem worse
As usual, the government has no idea how to deal with such a crisis. This has been seen throughout history. The Civil War, The Great Depression, 9/11, The Great Recession, and it continues today. They place extreme burdens on us. They injure us and then attempt to make things better by placing a band-aid on the wound.
The government’s reaction to this was to force businesses to shut down, causing a spike in unemployment not seen since the Great Recession. The unemployed have a number of issues that most of the employed do not. During the Great Recession we saw 10,000 more lives lost to suicide than the previous year. The unemployed have a much harder time obtaining health care in comparison to their employed counterparts. Only 48% of the unemployed are insured, meanwhile 80% of the employed workforce are insured. This suppression becomes a dangerous combination that has the potential to increase the number of deaths in America, and even globally.
Schools can’t even figure out what to do with students. Classes have been suspended indefinitely. College students are wondering if they will get a refund. Some students are moving to online classes, but not all are able to. There are thousands of seniors in high school that are supposed to be graduating. Many of these kids have military commitments. Will they need to take another semester to graduate? Will they be getting GEDs? Everything is up in the air and there is no way for government to lay out a solid plan, and even if they could it would take an extremely long time to effectively implement.
This time the band-aid is suppression. There are several more smaller examples of things that the government has done to suppress the people. This has been a test to see how people will react to this type of forced shutdown, and so far, it has gone off without a hitch.
We have a health issue that was at first suppressed by the Chinese government. Then the Federal Government couldn’t address the issues of trade and the spread of illness coming into the country. Now they lock everyone down, and after that they have come to realize that there is no way to keep the economy afloat this way. So next comes the stimulus bill which will inevitably hurt worse than it would ever help. Plus, we have to remember that government’s ability to even get the stimulus money out will take an exorbitant amount of time, including possibly being part of the 2020 tax year filings.
The Great Suppression
We have had a number of fluctuations in the market. Some have been the cause of market failures and some the failures of government. Never have we seen this type of economic downturn. This recession, and potential depression, is not the result of a market or government failure per se, but rather the poor actions of government. The suppression of businesses, individuals, the Constitution, and more has led us to an otherwise avoidable recession.
Let’s help make this term stick so that it will be forever be equated with the failure of government. This is a way to make sure that future generations know the true root cause of this economic catastrophe; government suppression.