Half Way

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President, Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto

There is an old political quip attributed to former California U.S. Senator Hayakawa. To paraphrase, if a man were drowning 50 feet offshore, a Democrat would throw him 100 feet of rope. A Republican would throw him 25 feet of rope and yell, “I’ll meet you half way.” In both cases, the man drowns.

An adage attributed to John Ruskin reads, “It is unwise to pay too much. But it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money—that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot—it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.” This is an old adage as John Ruskin died in the year 1900.

But it is still true today.

I use this quip and this adage to point out that our politicians in Washington need to learn these lessons. The first Covid-19 relief package was too little too late. We know this because after a more than two trillion-dollar relief package was passed in March of 2020 the unemployment rate has doubled.

The number of unemployed prior to Covid-19 was less than 6 million. As of the end of October is more than 9 million with another 6 million being underemployed. Some businesses and some people were helped but because so many were not given enough help the economy. Right after the relief, the U.S. economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate from April through June, its worst drop on record. Now as even more businesses are closing, many people being evicted because they cannot pay their rent, congress cannot even agree on a second relief plan.

There will be a second relief plan; there has to be for America to recover. But if past history is any indicator, it too will be too little and it is already way too late. The Republican-led Senate will not pass anywhere enough to for our economy to recover quickly.

Another example of halfway not being enough is our response to the Covid-19 health crisis. A very strong shut down for just a couple of weeks would have slowed the spread of the virus to a manageable level. But look where we are today. We are witnessing a massive accelerating spread, overflowing hospitals. Yes, the vaccines will eventually allow us to gain control but in the next few months many more will get sick and die. These deaths and long-term consequences did not need to happen. Our “shutdown” was neither strong enough nor widespread enough to have any effect.

Trump left it to the States and not all States took action. Some State Governors left it to the Mayors and but not all mayors took any meaningful actions. We can save thousands of lives if we will just minimize our out of home contacts, wear masks and socially distance. Don’t do it sometimes. Go all in.

Just a few weeks. Be a patriot. Save lives.

-Dick Gale

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