Op-Ed Published in Union Leader: Have we counted the costs?

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How long does it take to build a home from scratch and how many people with how many different skills are needed? How long does it take for an uncontrollable fire to reduce that house to ashes?

The economic engine that provides food, beverages, clothing, shelter, and every modern convenience to the American people took more than a century to build. Yet, at the stroke of many a governor’s pens, the dangerous servant that is government has become a fearful master now poised to destroy our way of life in the name of safety.

The coronavirus did not cause this problem where the cure has become worse than the disease. Centralized government power has stripped us of our ability to manage our own affairs, and it by no means can dictate how we should rebuild them. It is time for the governor and others to step out of the way and let people go back to work so their free enterprise and ingenuity can meet the needs of those who are suffering.

My life has not been insulated from the human costs of coronavirus as I have people dear to me who have lost loved ones. I understand the fear that has overpowered many and their anger directed at people like me who are seeking a restoration of balance and reason. Perhaps the media, health, and government officials are capitalizing on this fear and anger because their new power over you is too enticing to surrender.

I would urge you to use your own sense of caution to manage your exposure to this dangerous virus; protect yourself if you believe you are at risk. I would also emphatically plead with you to consider the danger of unbridled power and a centralized plan for dealing with it.

Our government was never designed to function this way and for good reason. Government isn’t as good at identifying the needs of the people around you as you are. Gov. Chris Sununu needs to back off and let you get your livelihood, your purpose, and your passions back on track. If he does, we will recover.

The governor’s plan to reopen New Hampshire started with a task force that met last week. What concerned me most about it was that the governor was present for the first few minutes, dictating how he wanted the committee to function, and then he left the meeting to go on TV and tell you to walk one-way down each aisle of the grocery store. The governor didn’t have time to listen to the ideas of the politicians and lobbyists he’s appointed to reopen the state’s economy. But at least one of them, Sen. Bob Giuda from Warren, had a good idea: perhaps the task force should have representatives from the manufacturing and technology industries advising the governor instead of lobbyists and licensing boards?

“The last thing we need is more regulation,” he said.

Others on the task force were talking about procedure and how they are going to decide how to let you go back to work little by little, but only after forcing regulations on your companies that will dictate how you will behave and how you will dress, if and when you return to your job.

If we let this continue can we recover? I don’t think so, at least not to the way of life you and I are accustomed. If we let this top-down, we-know-better-than-you approach take hold, we will simply become another nation of mediocrity, where no fresh idea or difficult achievement will be worth the effort to pursue.

The governor announced another 21-day extension to his emergency order on Friday, so the petition I helped start at ReOpenNH.com will need to dig in and ramp up its efforts to change his mind. We’ll be gathering at our Rally to Live Free at noon Saturday at the State House and expect an even larger crowd than April 18. These efforts are going to take courage from you — to look past the fear and anger you feel and find the strength within yourself to uplift your household, your neighbors, and the people you encounter.

As we work to reopen New Hampshire together, ask yourselves this: How many friends can you watch lose jobs or have their hours cut? How many stores and restaurants are you willing to let close for good? How long will you wait for your rations at the grocery store? How many weeks of waiting for a biopsy to find out if you’re in remission? How many weeks of not seeing your parents, children, or grandchildren in person?

Viruses stick around for a long time, and we don’t always develop effective vaccines to stop them. When we already have promising cures working their way through the government’s red tape, isn’t it time to cut the red tape from our front doors?

Screenshot of the Union Leader Op-Ed.

1 thought on “Op-Ed Published in Union Leader: Have we counted the costs?”

  1. As a working aged NH resident with no underlying health condition(s) your chances of dying from this virus are almost 0 yet the state has put all citizens on lock down & closed many businesses resulting in tens of thousands of unemployed people & likely numerous permanent business closings. The Granite State requires a different mitigation plan than NYC for obvious reasons. What seems to make the most sense is to do what the Swedes have done, namely practice social distancing while allowing most business to operate, prohibit large gatherings & quarantine the most vulnerable. There are no solutions, only trade-offs & the cost/benefit of shelter in place orders outside of urban hotspots can’t be justified due to the severe societal & economic disruptions caused by the practice. Moreover, we’re going to start to see constitutional challenges to these sorts of draconian executive orders as, despite great latitude likely afforded to governors by the courts in the midst of a pandemic, what is going on now is irrational. Not only do we not know if shelter in place orders are any more effective than social distancing in terms of reducing infection/mortality rates (Chinese plan vs Swedish plan), the rationale offered for the practice in the 1st place (flatten the curve so as to not overload the health care system) has proven to be invalid (by an order of magnitude NYC didn’t come close to using the number of ICU beds predicted). NH has set up 14 auxiliary hospitals around the state. None of those several thousands beds have been used to date. Strange that the governor, an MIT grad, would act so illogically but then again, he’s a republican leader in a blue state and sadly, a politician first. As with any elected official, where you stand still depends on where you sit, no matter your intellect.


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