One of the most difficult problems facing our political leaders has been to maintain the balance between mitigating the life-and-death health issues associated with the Corvid Pandemic impacting on approximately 20 percent of Americans and the economic and emotional problems produced by the shutdowns affecting the remaining 80 percent.
If the elected officials emphasize the economic and emotional issues as a reason for limiting the shutdowns and proposed regulations, they are accused of being irresponsible … reckless … and cold-hearted. If they focus mostly on dealing with the health issues, they are accused of being oblivious to the serious economic and emotional issues – especially among the children.
In a situation in which both sides will suffer, public policy must find the balance whereby each will suffer a fair share of the hardship. Since there is no precise teeter-point, the policy judgment calls must rely on an intelligent evaluation of the comparative risks, the proper deployment of available resources, commonsense, and a measure of gut-instinct. Underlying political considerations should be avoided.
If we look at the past two years in terms of that balance, we find an array of examples where public officials – mayors, governors and even presidents – have pitched and yawled with polices that leaned to far in one direction and then the other.
From the start of the Pandemic, the nation – motivated by excessive fear – had leaned too far in the healthcare direction – wreaking great unnecessary economic and emotional suffering on most of the population. We are seeing the results of those miscalculations today in terms of inflation, lingering disruption of the economy, worker shortages, school closings and serious emotional hardships.
There is one governor, however, who stands out for arguably hitting the balance point with precision. That is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He has been the subject of a lot of politically motivated attacks from the politically motivated news media. That is mostly because he is a potential conservative Republican presidential candidate. The leftwing newsies see it as their partisan obligation to damage him as much as possible. But the record … the results … and DeSantis popularity with the people of Florida tell a different story.
Florida was not immune from the Covid. There were lots of sick Floridians – and approximately 60,000 deaths. This was not the most in the country – and not the least. More in the middle. What you would expect if you had balanced policies.
DeSantis’ policies were more effective in mitigating the impact of Covid. He was ahead of the competition in providing effective mitigation protocols before the vaccines – and after. One of the most effective was his procurement and distribution of the monoclonal antibody treatment.
What DeSantis did not do was to ignore the other side of the Covid coin – the Draconian impact of extreme shutdowns on that 80 percent of the population who were not getting infected. Though he supported both masking and vaccinations, he opposed the mandates that would hit hard on local businesses. He went so far as to oppose President Biden’s ill-conceived mask and vaccine mandate orders on government workers and private sector employers. He was correct in terms of the science and the politics – with the Supreme Court striking down the Biden mandates.
De Santis re-opened schools after vaccinations levels went up – and specifically as young children were able to get vaccinated. Based on the science and the statistics, DeSantis opposed the masking of children in school – although he supported the various environmental protections and protocols.
The DeSantis balance has meant that folks like me in Florida, have been living relatively normal lives. There have been no limitations on places I can go to dine, shop or to be entertained without a mask. I can gather in crowds. I feel safe because DeSantis provided sufficient places for me to get tested and vaccinated. There were no long lines for either.
Because of the balance DeSantis struck, the Florida economy is among – and arguably THE — strongest in the nation. The best recovery.
Despite the Pandemic, Florida has had 20 consecutive months of job growth. Over the past year, Florida created almost 500,000 jobs. Florida is top in job growth – 20 percent ahead of the Nation.
The vast majority of Florida’s small businesses have survived the Pandemic. The main problem today is lack of workers. Florida currently has 500,000 job openings on the state’s list.
If it were not for the dishonest leftwing media harping, Florida’s Governor DeSantis would be praised as the most successful state chief executive at handling the Covid Pandemic and the economic and social issues. In striking the right balance he may have displeased folks on both extremes – but he has represented all their interests very well.
So, there ‘tis.