May 1, 2020

The Motivation Behind Reopening

The right wants to end the lockdown; this is why.

by Chris Thomas

Thanks in large part to a highly successful astroturfing campaign , right wing protesters are clamoring for an end to the COVID19 lockdowns and states are defying CDC guidelines and re-opening beaches, businesses, and bars.

The science is clear on this -- these decisions will accelerate the spread of the virus. They will kill a lot of people. So... why is this happening? It's one thing for low-information voters to turn out strapped with assault weapons and anti-Semitic signs...

Military cosplayers protest social distancing with assault weapons

... it's altogether another for them to turn out in protest of policies designed to keep them alive. The kind of planning and coordination that goes into jumpstarting these kinds of protests isn't free. That kind of commitment of resources suggests a motive beyond sheer pig-headedness and a burning desire to get a haircut.

If we acknowledge that the "reopen" political movement was engineered, then the next logical question is why.

The following is speculation but it's based in the assumption that the people backing the "reopen" movement actually want the states to reopen and welcome the broader consequences of that decision.

From that it follows that these protests, and the larger movement to "reopen" the economy, serve two goals. The first is to give the core Trump supporters something to be upset about -- a cause to rally around now that "lock her up" lacks immediacy. Certainly the signs and demographics of the protests support that conclusion.

The second, and more insidious, is to facilitate the wholesale looting of Main Street America by Trump's elite financial backers. Yes, that sounds alarmist, but let's step through how it's going to play out.

Imagine you run a small restaurant. You're currently closed for dine-in service so most of your workers aren't getting hours. Instead, they're collecting unemployment benefits plus an additional $600/week in "Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation" as extended under the CARES act.

Now your governor, under pressure from the "reopen" protesters, lifts restaurant closure orders. That reopening causes the following things to happen:

  1. Your business interruption insurance stops paying out; your business now has to sink or swim on the income it can actually bring in despite the ongoing pandemic.
  2. Your employees are no longer covered by the CARES Act's unemployment provisions. They loose their benefits because you can technically employ them.
  3. Any employees you can't find enough hours for (and there's still a pandemic afoot, so probably a lot of them) have to be laid off. But now that non-pandemic-unemployment hits your business' unemployment insurance rates, causing your costs to go up.

Those three consequences will set up thousands of businesses and families for failure. They'll be forced to liquidate assets at rock bottom prices and, just like in 2008, the vulture capitalists will be ready to snap them up for pennies on the dollar.

The result will be another enormous transfer of wealth from Main Street to Wall Street. Americans will find themselves renting their homes instead of owning them, and in many more cases renting them from highly capitalized companies with national-scale holdings.

What Can I Do?

Text the word stateContact your Governor and/or state legislators to Resistbot on iMessage, Facebook Messenger, or Twitter, or via SMS at 50409. Demand that your state's governor follow the criteria for easing lockdown as laid out by the White House (though ignored by its occupant). That means...

  • A downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses within a 14 day reporting period.
  • A downward trajectory of COVID-like cases in a 14-day reporting period.
  • Downward trajectory of documented cases OR percentage-positive tests in a 14 day period.
  • The ability to treat all patients without resorting to crisis care.
  • A robust testing program established and in place for at-risk workers, including antibody testing.

You can write Congress and demand that it stand up to President Trump. If Trump wants to hold the entire country hostage because he's unwilling to help the Post Office out --- an institution beloved, especially now, by millions of Americans --- then the least Congress can do is give him the opportunity to do so.

It takes two minutes to flatten the curve. 😷👊🤖

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