by Curtis Ellis
The debate about “reopening the economy” is a phony debate.
It’s phony because “the economy” isn’t shut down. Far from it. Walmart is still open. Dollar General is open. Amazon is open. Alibaba is open.
It just so happens that the big-box mass merchandisers and online retailers responsible for flooding our country with crap from Communist China are open.
Meanwhile, other, very specific parts of the country are shut down.
Family-owned shops and workshops, the backbone of America, are closed. Fast-food franchises remain open—drive-through windows are operating at full tilt—but independently owned restaurants are shuttered or trying to survive at diminished capacity doing takeout only.
Conveniently, if not coincidentally, small-business owners make up an important segment of Trump’s base. Like the president, they have signed the front of a paycheck, experienced the brunt of the well-meaning administrative state, and endured the predations of giant corporations and subsidized Chinese competition. That’s why they love President Trump–he understands what they go through.
While these largely family-owned, small and medium-sized enterprises are laying off workers by the millions, Amazon and Walmart are hiring.
In the energy industry, the big guys can weather the storm while small, independent producers are getting crushed as oil prices fall off the cliff along with demand.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Zoom and other giant internet overlords are seeing more traffic than ever as people are locked in and white-collar professionals work from home.
These are the same people in Silicon Valley who tilt hard to the left and censor anyone who strays from the official “we are all going to die” pandemic narrative.
Twitter gives a soapbox to Chinese Communist Party propagandists suggesting the U.S. Army hatched the coronavirus but bans Laura Ingraham for daring to suggest an FDA-approved drug could offer hope to the stricken.
Who else isn’t shut down?
Government employees continue to draw paychecks, even those deemed “nonessential.”
Let us pause for a moment to consider just how ridiculous this is: Show me a private business that pays a “nonessential” employee even in the best of times. In the real world, outside of government, if you’re not essential you’re not on the payroll (unless you’re married to the boss’s daughter).
The “creative class” of the coastal elites, academics, media and the white-collar professionals of the urban centers remain employed—and paid—while blue-collar Americans are furloughed, laid off, and deemed “nonessential.”
There’s a certain symmetry to this.
Americans who work with their hands and live outside the big blue cities are considered “nonessential.” Families who own their businesses, or work for a family business rather than depend on the government or a global corporation for their livelihoods are considered “nonessential.” People who want to go to church rather than an abortion clinic are considered “nonessential.”
Before these Americans were called “nonessential” they were called “deplorable.”
The same people who called half of America deplorable now call half of America nonessential. They never really liked them anyway.
They feel a closer affinity to their classmates from Harvard and Yale, children of transnational global elites, than do for their fellow citizens without such credentials.
These “citizens of the world” refused to learn any lessons from Donald J. Trump’s victory in 2016. Now they’ve found the ultimate weapon to punish those they detest for electing the Bad Orange Man president: lock them at home, put them on the dole, and let them eat grass (since they can’t buy seeds for a vegetable garden).
Do this and maybe they will finally learn to place their faith in government, not God.
Or they can find solace in the bosom of the human resources department at Amazon or Walmart, now hiring.
As agriculture consolidated, family farmers became farmhands for agribusiness giants. Now those who once owned shops can become buyers for one of the remaining merchandisers or find a managerial position in the archipelago of Amazon warehouses.
We are watching the corporate consolidation of the economy taking place before our eyes.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tells us government economic development officials and Nurse Ratcheds from the Department of Public Health will be in charge of all economic activity in the northeast. How reassuring. I can’t wait for their five-year plan!
Banks are poised to exploit the recovery programs while everyone else waits for the check in the mail.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants to give private equity firms money that was supposed to help small businesses. The Federal Reserve is taking on its balance sheet the junk bonds Wall Street players used to destroy the real economy companies where all those nonessential deplorables once worked.
These vulture capitalists are poised to snap up the distressed properties shuttered by the forced shutdown of the non-corporate sector.
When we awaken from the fever dream of pandemic hysteria, it will be clear who has suffered the most: the forgotten men and women of America.
If you tried to design an attack against Trump voters you couldn’t do better than what the experts have done in the name of public health.
We need to restore our way of life—and make America great again.
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Curtis Ellis is policy director with America First Policies. He was also a senior policy advisor with the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign in 2016.