Category Archives: Politics – Wisconsin

2nd Amendment advances as 1st Amendment retreats

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

Our country is engaging in cultural and civic (not civil, yet) war that is challenging some of the national principles that used to be held inviolable. As we watch the 1st Amendment make a confused retreat, we are seeing the 2nd Amendment make a vigorous advance.

The 1st and 2nd Amendments refer, of course, to the Constitution’s prohibition of the federal government from infringing on our natural rights to speak (among other things) and to keep and bear arms, respectively. But they are also used as shorthand to express our collective support for the underlying natural rights.

While the practice of our 1st Amendment right to free speech has ebbed and flowed throughout our nation’s history, the general ethos has been robust support for people to say anything they want as long as it does not drift into defamation or incitement – and even then we have generally been very generous with where that boundary lies.

I am reminded of a comment by Jim Croce: “I don’t care, as long as they don’t be putting their hands on me. I don’t mind people talking and saying different things. Everybody gotta say something.” That pretty well sums up what our attitude used to be about people speaking their minds. Now we are seeing the onset of outrage mobs that seek out people who express opinions with which they disagree and try to destroy them personally and professionally. This is the so-called “cancel culture” where we no longer meet objectionable speech with more speech. Instead, these mobs consider contrary opinions to be so fundamentally immoral that they must not be spoken, and the people speaking them must be ruined to force adherence to the current, if fluid, orthodoxy. What is even more chilling is that the opinions being canceled are views that were mainstream as recently as a few months ago. Support for law enforcement, standing for the National Anthem, celebrating Independence Day, honoring George Washington, etc. are things that were commonplace and integral parts of the national psyche. Now such views are just as likely to attract an online or physical mob to your doorstep. There has been a very rapid and scary retreat of our collective support for free speech.

Meanwhile, support for the right to keep and bear arms is exploding. I recently witnessed a couple of protest marches in suburban communities. In both cases, firearms were plentiful and visible in the hands of both protesters and counter-protesters. Furthermore, as the mobs and the elected Democrats who support them defund the police and force law enforcement into a defensive crouch, The People are taking the hint and arming themselves for personal protection.

Across the nation, federal background checks, which serve as a proxy for measuring the sale of all guns, were up 69% in June versus last year. Background checks specifically for handgun purchases were up 80% over last year. In many cases, people are buying multiple guns at a time with Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting showing a 145% increase in guns sold in June compared to the same month last year. The June estimates are on top of similar trends for April and May. According to industry analysts, roughly 40% of gun purchases in the past few months are being made by first time buyers. A quick trip to any gun store will find empty shelves and depleted inventories.

At the heart of the surge in gun ownership are two trends. First, there is the general concern for personal safety. Democrats are echoing the mob’s demand to defund the police and several cities have already started the process. With fewer police with fewer resources, law-abiding people are empowering themselves to defend themselves and their families. The old saying that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away” has become a stark realization for many people.

Second, Americans are watching Marxists and anarchists violently take over parts of our country. Often, they are doing so with the permission or support of government officials. We are witnessing the violent overthrow of portions of our government with the intent to rebuild something that is no longer American. The right to keep and bear arms has always been the last resort for a free people to ensure their right to self-governance. An armed citizenry cannot be easily subjugated.

Our natural rights, as secured in our Constitution, are the bases and guardians of our government and way of life. While we continue to push our nation toward our founding ideals, we must never surrender the ground we have fought so hard to gain.

 

Biden Dumps Wisconsin

Heh

Joe Biden is no longer planning to travel to the Democratic convention site of Milwaukee to accept the party’s presidential nomination, citing coronavirus concerns.

Convention organizers said in a statement Wednesday that Biden will instead accept the Democratic nomination and deliver a speech from his home state of Delaware, and other speakers also will not go to Milwaukee.

 

Epic Battle

I’m highly entertained.

As Epic Systems continues with plans to return staff to its Verona campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, employees there said the leaders of the medical record software company have largely dismissed their concerns, stifled dissent and retaliated against some managers, fostering an atmosphere of fear.

The Cap Times corresponded with 26 employees Tuesday, at least 13 of whom said they have knowledge of managers being demoted for expressing concern about the company’s plans to bring its nearly 10,000 workers back to its 1,000-acre campus starting next week. Every employee who spoke with the Cap Times requested anonymity for fear of retribution, some specifically citing the demotions.

The retaliation, several employees said, is a part of an ongoing effort to control and monitor staff dissent and responses to management decisions, including removing critical posts from an internal company web page and failing to provide data or details about what is driving decisions.

Company leaders have defended the plans, saying that having employees working in-person on campus is integral to cultivating the culture necessary to produce software. They are requiring employees to return in phases, starting next week and continuing through September, with some employees allowed to delay their return until Nov. 2. Employees who do not comply have been told they must take an unpaid leave of absence or could be fired.

Epic is owned by one of the biggest leftists in the state and her company’s culture enforces a rigid liberal orthodoxy. Now that Epic’s employees are pushing back against going to work, Faulkner appears to be using retaliatory and bully tactics to silence dissent and force the workers back to their desks. And most of Wisconsin’s liberal politicians will stay silent on the abuse because Faulkner is a major Democratic insider.

Evers Says He Won’t Try to Close Schools

Uh huh

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Governor Tony Evers said he is not planning on ordering schools to start the year virtually, saying individual school districts are doing a good job thus far forming plans.

“I am extremely pleased with the conversations that school districts across the state are having,” Evers told reporters during a media briefing. “Not only with their teachers and faculty members but making sure that the community’s involved.”

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau) said he appreciated the governor affirming his position on schools but is concerned Evers may change positions.

This from the same man who said for weeks that he didn’t have the power to pass a mask mandate, then he did it. He’s the same guy who is hiding a likely felon on his staff. He’s the same guy who said he wasn’t going to issue a lockdown order days before he did. Governor Evers is not an honest man and has earned a healthy level of skepticism.

Expect Evers to try to close the schools in a couple of weeks under the fig leaf that “something changed.”

West Bend School District Releases Flexible Opening Plan

Excellent.

WEST BEND — The West Bend School District Board of Education shared their plan for the 2020-21 school year with district families and community members on Monday.

[…]

The plan details three educational options for students: fulltime in-person learning, full-time virtual learning through the West Bend Virtual Academy and a hybrid education model combining both in-person and virtual learning.

[…]

Of the survey participants who responded to the question, 3,125 families (69 percent) preferred in-person instruction, 482 families (11 percent) preferred enrolling in WBVA and 850 families (19 percent) preferred the hybrid model.

88% was some form of in-person instruction with 69% wanting normal education – with mitigation, of course.

Don’t Play Politics With Masks

Have you noticed that it is the people who support using the police power of the State to enforce a mask mandate who whine about “don’t make it political?” Using government to enforce something is, by definition, a political act. The people who want to be left alone are only making it political in opposition to the people who have already made it political. 

“I’ve been governor. You can’t play politics. You’ve got to be thinking about the health of the people of the state,” Doyle said.

And it’s particularly rich coming from Jim Doyle. He had no qualms whatsoever about using the power of his office for political gains.

The Tyrant Evers Returns

Boy howdy… I step away from the computer for 36 hours or so and all hell breaks loose. Let’s hope that the legislature will reign in our banal tyrant.

Less than 24 hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced a statewide mask order for Wisconsin, Republicans in the state Senate have signaled they have the votes to begin the process of striking it down.

In a statement Friday, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Senate Republicans “stand ready to convene the body to end the Governor’s order, which includes the mask mandate.”

“The Governor has caved to the pressure of liberal groups on this,” Fitzgerald said. “How can we trust that the he won’t cave again and stop schools that choose in-person instruction this fall? There are bigger issues at play here, and my caucus members stand ready to fight back.”

[…]

Announced Thursday, the state mask order goes into effect Saturday.

Under the new order, which expires Sept. 28, everyone age 5 and older must wear a face covering when indoors or in any enclosed space open to the public including outdoor bars and restaurants, public transit and outdoor park structures. The order does not apply to people in their private residences.

State needs leadership to navigate budget shortfall

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week:

Gov. Tony Evers is calling on state agencies to cut $250 million from their budgets as state tax collections decline with the state’s economy. Already, various interest groups are making the case for why their piece of the pie should be excluded from budget cuts and the lobbyists are out in full force. The next several months are going to require real leadership.

When Governor Evers shut down the state’s economy with his original lockdown order, he also turned off the tax spigot for state government. Without people able to go to stores, restaurants, concerts, etc., the collections of sales taxes plummeted. Collection of the sales tax requires people to spend money in our economy. People were forbidden to shop, but many people also pulled back their personal spending as their own jobs and incomes were impacted. Even as the state opened, the job losses, reduced incomes, and uncertainty has depressed consumer spending and sales tax collections.

Like the federal government, the state of Wisconsin also delayed the income tax filing deadline to July 15. This had the practical effect that many people who were expecting refunds filed earlier than those who expected to pay, causing further strain on state tax flow. But the real impact on income taxes will not be felt until next year. 2019 was a bumper year for personal incomes and employment. 2020 is not.

The state sales and income taxes are the two largest sources of state tax revenue, but there are countless other taxes and fees that are being impacted by the government-imposed recession. The net result is that Governor Evers is anticipating at least a $2 billion shortfall in state tax collections over the next year. The governor’s estimate may be decidedly optimistic.

To put that in perspective, the state government planned to spend about $41 billion in this fiscal year. A $2 billion shortfall would represent about a 5% reduction. However, much of that spending goes to things like welfare, K-12 education, shared revenue for municipalities, the University of Wisconsin System, and things that are not under the direct control of state government officials.

Here is where the leadership comes in. Governor Evers has called on state agencies to cut $250 million from their budgets. As you may have noticed, $250 million is merely a down payment on the cuts that will be necessary to finish the fiscal year without a massive deficit. More cuts will be needed.

If there is one thing that any good manager knows, it is that small changes made now prevent much larger changes being necessary later. The governor has already waited too long. We knew that there would be huge budgetary implications when he locked down the state. Here we are at the end of July and he is just now asking agencies for their ideas? How long will that take for the agencies to submit their revised budgets, vet them, and implement them? Weeks? Months? The longer the governor sits around waiting to make changes, the more drastic those changes are going to have to be.

For example, the state of Wisconsin employs about 65,000 employees, including employees of the UW System, earning a median income of about $52,000. If Wisconsin implemented a 10% pay reduction for all state employees, it would save the taxpayers roughly $28 million per month. Private employers have been forced to implement such cuts and worse. In this case, it would be a 10% cut in pay and everyone keeps their jobs. Many private-sector employees, and taxpayers, fared much, much worse.

If Governor Evers had implemented a universal 10% cut in March, when he implemented his lockdown order, the state would have already saved over $112 million – almost half of what he is asking state agencies for not. That is $112 million that that will still have to be cut before the fiscal year is over, but because Governor Evers has failed to act, it will hurt a lot more.

Every day that state leaders sit around waiting for to make decisions, those decisions will be dictated to them by events. Wisconsin needs leadership. Now.

 

West Bend Police to Send Officers to Milwaukee for Convention

Call me less optimistic than Chief Meuler about Milwaukee officials supporting the police. I’m very wary of putting West Bend’s finest in harms way to protect another city’s residents. Perhaps some other city leaders will weigh in.

West Bend Police Chief Kenneth Meuler said he remains committed to sending about a dozen officers for the effort.

“I am confident that Chief Morales and city officials will work out an agreement to address the concerns that some of the other chiefs have raised,” said Meuler, a former Milwaukee Police Department captain.

Police Avoid Milwaukee Amid Dangerous Restrictions on Use of Force

Of course, Morales has an ax to grind, but I have no doubt this is going on. If you are a police chief in West Bend, for example, do you want to send your officers to Milwaukee where they are forbidden from using reasonable means to control riots? Do you want to get your officers injured or killed just to help out Milwaukee?

The city’s decision came before Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission issued a directive last week to Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to stop using tear gas to control crowds, saying he could be fired if he refused. That order came amid intense scrutiny of police tactics at protests in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May.

Since the Milwaukee order was issued, more than 100 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin and across the country decided against coming to Milwaukee, Morales told WTMJ-TV on Tuesday. They were concerned with directives placed on the police department, including not allowing tear gas or pepper spray, he said.

Morales did not say which agencies would not be coming or how many officers were still expected. The original plan was to have 1,000 officers on hand from outside agencies to assist with security. Morales said using the National Guard or enlisting federal assistance was under consideration.

The convention has been scaled down to a mostly virtual event, with only about 300 people expected to attend in-person. Most of the speeches will be delivered online from other locations, though former Vice President Joe Biden has said he will be in Milwaukee to accept the nomination. Despite the event’s smaller scale, police are preparing for potentially large protests in and around the venue.

State needs leadership to navigate budget shortfall

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I continue to be frustrated by the lack of leadership in Madison. We all KNOW there is, and will be, a huge budget shortfall, but nobody is actually doing anything about it. The result will be a big budget repair bill – probably in January – where they are making huge, painful, cuts. Those huge, painful cuts will be necessary because they are failing to make small, less painful, cuts today. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to make large cuts in government, but the crying and wailing you will hear in a few months is completely avoidable.

Gov. Tony Evers is calling on state agencies to cut $250 million from their budgets as state tax collections decline with the state’s economy. Already, various interest groups are making the case for why their piece of the pie should be excluded from budget cuts and the lobbyists are out in full force. The next several months are going to require real leadership.

[…]

For example, the state of Wisconsin employs about 65,000 employees, including employees of the UW System, earning a median income of about $52,000. If Wisconsin implemented a 10% pay reduction for all state employees, it would save the taxpayers roughly $28 million per month. Private employers have been forced to implement such cuts and worse. In this case, it would be a 10% cut in pay and everyone keeps their jobs. Many private-sector employees, and taxpayers, fared much, much worse.

If Governor Evers had implemented a universal 10% cut in March, when he implemented his lockdown order, the state would have already saved over $112 million – almost half of what he is asking state agencies for not. That is $112 million that that will still have to be cut before the fiscal year is over, but because Governor Evers has failed to act, it will hurt a lot more.

Every day that state leaders sit around waiting for to make decisions, those decisions will be dictated to them by events. Wisconsin needs leadership. Now.

Madison Police Union Has No Confidence in Mayor it Endorsed Just Last Year

Perhaps they should be more discerning with their endorsements. Rhodes-Conway’s leftist proclivities were well known.

MADISON (WKOW) — The Madison Professional Police Officer’s Association has approved a declaration of ‘no confidence’ in the leadership of Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

The board of directors said the vote was ‘resolute’ with more than 95 percent of the association’s voting membership returning a vote of “no confidence,” according to a news release.

“The MPPOA did not make this decision easily or in haste,” board members said in a statement.

“Instead, our vote of no confidence is the culmination of many months of frustration in the absence of effective leadership from the mayor.”

Board members said that they had a recent meeting with Mayor Rhodes-Conway in which they say she effectively declined to help them meet with community groups and members to facilitate conversation, asking them instead to use their voice.

Back in March 2019, the MPPOA announced their endorsement of Rhodes-Conway for Mayor.

Wisconsin DHS Has No Idea What the Actual Test Results Are

Stunning incompetence – and that’s the kind interpretation. The other interpretation is that it is a deliberate manipulation of the data.

Not only does this mean the Evers Administration does not have an accurate count of how many tests are coming back negative. It also means the administration does not know how many tests are being processed each day, and that is a key metric in determining how the state is progressing in its efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.

Madison Activists Protest at DA’s Home

Radical leftists eat their own.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is highlighting his identity as a Black man and his family’s roots in the Civil Rights Movement after protesters came to his house for the second time in a month Saturday, this time demanding that charges be dropped against two Black men and calling Ozanne a racist.

Ozanne said Sunday that scores of protesters with speakers, generators and a bullhorn showed up around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and stayed for about six hours blasting music, shouting profanity, chanting slogans, and calling him and even his family a racist — all in the name of pressuring Ozanne to drop charges against Kelsey Nelson and Gregg James.

Nelson, 30, is charged in the looting of Goodman’s Jewelers during the first night of protests in Madison on May 30 over the death George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody five days earlier. James, 23, is one of three men accused of making threats at a State Street bar in June.

[…]

A flier distributed at the “Black Out Block Party” Saturday does not name the group sponsoring it, but was instead aimed at letting Ozanne’s neighbors know he’s the DA and urging them to call his office to demand that charges against Nelson and James be dropped. It’s similar to a call to action put out on July 3 by Sawyer Johnson, a leader in the Madison chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, that identifies Nelson, James and two others recently arrested as “Black revolutionary activists.”

[…]

Johnson responded to requests for comment via Facebook on Sunday night with derogatory memes.

Get this…

With activists questioning the cash bail system or claiming people are being held in jail simply because they can’t make small bond amounts, Ozanne said, “we release about 82% of people on signature bonds.”

82%!

West Bend School District’s New Superintendent

On Wednesday, the Common Sense Citizens of Washington County hosted West Bend Superintendent Jennifer Wimmer. She spent almost two hours answering questions about everything from the district’s potential opening plan to social justice to curriculum to facilities to budget. She was impressive in how she handled some really tough questions. From my notes:

  • The district is doing a survey about what people want for reopening. Since Kewaskum and Slinger have already done a survey, they don’t expect the results to be that different.
  • The intent and hope is to open for full-time, in-person, instruction, but do a lot to mitigate disease spread and provide alternative options for people who are uncomfortable with in-person instruction. Interestingly, they are also talking to a district in Australia, that has been open for months, to see how they are doing it.
  • When asked about the budget, she was pretty adamant that they had to work within the budget they had. She expressed some reluctance to ask the public for more money in he current economic climate. She also said that they are forecasting declining revenues for years to come and they would just have to work with it.
  • She was asked about closing an elementary school and she thought that it would be necessary. She also mentioned moving the district offices into a school somewhere.
  • Back to an opening plan, she was asked about whether teachers were afraid to go back to work and if that would prevent opening. She said, “fear is not a valid reason to not come to work.” Yes.
  • She was also asked about her thoughts about Act 10. She is working on her doctorate and her area of study is superintending post Act 10.

Overall, I was favorably impressed. The West Bend School District may be on the upswing.

 

 

 

Governor Evers “Resists” Mask Mandate

Why is our media having such a hard time with this?

MADISON — Racine and Green Bay joined Madison and Milwaukee as Wisconsin cities that passed mandates requiring people to wear masks in certain public settings, though Gov. Tony Evers has resisted issuing a statewide order like those in place in many nearby states.

More than half of states have statewide mask mandates, including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota, which announced its on Wednesday, July 22.

[…]

Even as more local governments enact their own mask ordinances, creating a patchwork of mask requirements across the state, Evers has not issued a statewide mandate. The first-term Democrat said earlier this month he was unlikely to enact such a mandate because the Conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down his “safer at home” order in May. That did not include a mask requirement, but the court said Evers overstepped his authority by requiring most non-essential businesses to close during the start of the outbreak.

As Evers said, HE DOES NOT HAVE TO POWER TO ISSUE A MASK MANDATE. What he can do, if he chose to, is advocate for a statewide mask mandate and work with the legislature to pass a law mandating masks. That is constitutional. I would oppose it, but that is how it should happen, if at all. So what the reporters should be asking Evers, if they are so fired up to mandate masks, is “why aren’t you working with the legislature to pass a mask mandate?” Or, “would you sign a bill mandating masks if the legislature passed it?”

The reporter’s insistence that Evers can just issue a mandate from his office is either offensive or stupid – depending on whether you think the reporter actually understands how a representative republic works.

Can State Close Schools?

Absolutely.

“The way that our government is set up, the constitutional basis is for the state to be the primary unit, especially on education,” Dresang said.

However, a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in May struck down DHS’ attempt to extend the state’s safer at home order.

The resulting interpretation is that the executive branch’s powers to make statewide changes to how schools operate during the pandemic are now limited to the rulemaking process and legislation, both of which require Democrat Governor Tony Evers and Republican legislative leaders to come to an agreement.

[…]

Dresang says the primary power over back-to-school plans still resides with the state, albeit through the more complicated processes that would force the governor and state lawmakers to work together.

“If the state says do something or don’t do something, that takes precedence over everything,” Dresang said.

That “more complicated” process is called representative government. The state can dictate to schools how and if they open. The state has that power. I don’t think they should, but the state can do it. What the court said is that the executive branch does not have the sole authority to issue orders. It takes a legislative process for rule and law making.

I continue to marvel at how stupid – yes, stupid – some people remain about how government does, and should, work. We used to support things like checks and balances, independent branches of government, and the division of government powers.

Marxist Movements Attack Police

Mark Belling has a good column today that goes into the atrocious reactions of public officials in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa as they cave to Marxist attack mobs and abandon their police. In part, he says:

Many Americans sincerely want racial justice, which is why we fight so hard to replace rotten public schools with outstanding private, religious and choice schools. It’s why we support law enforcement that tries to control high crime in minority communities. But this movement is unconcerned with those things. It is singularly focused on attacking police, shrinking their ranks and destroying the lives of people who try to serve their communities by becoming police officers.

This is true. I think many of us are shocked at just how many of our otherwise mild-mannered liberal neighbors truly hate the police and are willing to support the abandonment of law enforcement in their communities. Many of us are still firm supporters of law enforcement and our police departments, but we seem to be a shrinking percentage of the populace.

At the same time, I think many of us were equally shocked by how aggressively some of our police were willing to enforce unconstitutional lockdown orders and the crackdown on our civil rights in response to a health concern. As communities consider and enact further lockdown orders, I would remind those officers who would enforce them that the will erode support in the community from the few of us left who are still supporting them. If we see cops breaking up birthday parties and harassing old ladies to wear a mask, I could see myself agreeing that they are over-funded.

Wisconsin’s economy bounces, but has a long way to go

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday:

I went to a restaurant the other night and something happened that has not happened in quite a while. I had to wait for a table. It was a sign that we are on a long, slow road back to normal. Outside of Milwaukee and Madison, the summer life of sidewalk tables, brat fries, live music, and outdoor recreation have returned, if muted, for these few precious months before those northern winds return Wisconsin to its deep freeze.

My anecdotal experience is borne out in the most recent employment numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. According to the preliminary data, Wisconsin added 104,600 total non-farm jobs in June and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% from an adjusted peak of 12.1% in May. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate remains below the national unemployment rate of 11.1%, but the state rate traditionally lags the national rate due to the state’s economic mix. People are getting back to work as Wisconsin’s economy groans back to life.

Digging deeper into the data, there are some promising signs and some worrying signs. On the positive side, almost all of the job growth came from the private sector. Leading the way, private-sector service-providing sectors added 100,000 jobs. Some 16,400 of those were retail trade jobs as stores opened; 11,300 jobs were added in health care and social assistance. A whopping 47,700 jobs were added in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Many of the sectors of the economy that were hardest hit are bouncing back.

The troubling part of the report is just how far Wisconsin still is from where we were just a few short months ago. Despite the strong growth in jobs, there are still over 200,000 fewer people working than were in June of 2019. And while an unemployment rate of 8.5% is still nothing to brag about, it is still overstated. About 44,400 people have left the labor force completely and are not counted in the unemployment rate. The cause of the economic recovery is quite simple. In his initial overreaction to the onset of coronavirus, Gov. Tony Evers forcibly shut down the state’s economy. Widespread job losses and economic contraction was inevitable with the governor standing in the restaurant door. When Evers attempted to ignore the Constitution and extend his dictatorial rule, the state Supreme Court stepped in and stopped Totalitarian Tony’s economic stranglehold.

Since then, most of the state has opened. It has done so cautiously and unevenly, but it has opened. Outside of a couple of cities being run by liberal mayors, the state’s restaurants, shops, and factories have tried to get back to work.

In order to continue the state’s economic recovery, a few things need to happen. First, government needs to step back and let people and businesses manage their own lives. The virus is here to stay. Whether or not we ever have a vaccine, we cannot live perpetually petrified. We all know a lot more about how the virus spreads, who is at greatest risk, and how to mitigate the risk of catching and spreading the virus.

Second, we need our governments at all levels to stop threatening to shut down the economy again. The uncertainty continues to retard a recovery. Whether or not the initial lockdowns, and how and when they were implemented, helped prevent the spread of the virus will be subject to studies for years. What is indisputable is that the lockdowns had countless other negative outcomes on people’s health and well-being as health care systems denied treatment for non-COVID ailments and economic stress pushed people to the brink. What is also indisputable is that our politicians have proven that they are incapable of evenly enforcing a lockdown as they crack down on some people and allow others to violate them at will.

Furthermore, it is clear that the American people are done with being locked down. Even as some states and cities try to reimpose economic restrictions and infringe on civil rights, those actions are being widely ignored. After the initial shock and awe of coronavirus, Americans are finding their spines again and remembering that liberty is in our blood.

Finally, the only way our economy can truly recover is for Americans to feel comfortable returning to their normal activities. For some people, they will never feel comfortable returning to restaurants, shops, concerts, or anything else until they feel that everyone else is taking reasonable steps to prevent the spread of disease. That means that for those of us who may not have much, if any, fear of the ’rona, we must respect the concerns of others. Keep some distance, wash your hands, and, yes, put on a mask if the situation warrants. Such measures may keep you from getting sick, but they will definitely help our economy get healthier.

 

Governor Can’t Close Schools

Good. I’m glad to see Governor Evers restricting himself to his constitutional authority.

But the Department of Public Instruction says it can’t order districts to do that.

“We don’t have the authority at the Department of Public Instruction to close schools. We just aren’t given that authority, nor do we have the authority to mandate an instructional design,” said deputy state superintendent Michael Thompson.

Last week, the governor said he can’t either.

“I’m not in any position to say we’re going to, or we’re not going to,” Gov. Evers said at a news conference on July 14. “I’m not going to order them closed. That gets at an issue of what orders I can do or not do. But I’m still optimistic that they can open and there’s lots of options.”