Commentary / Coronavirus

Every Crisis an Opportunity

CrisisThis week, the price of oil futures collapsed catastrophically. In fact, the prices collapsed into negative territory in the near term.

This bizarre situation, prompted by lack of consumer demand and lack of storage facility, led the irrepressible Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to tweet: “You absolutely love to see it. This along with record low interest rates means it’s the right time for a worker-led, mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet.”

This tweet was too dumb even for her—an extraordinary bar, given her past commentary—and she deleted it. But she then reiterated the point in a follow-up tweet, characterizing the rock-bottom oil prices as a “key opportunity” to “create millions of jobs transitioning to renewable and clean energy.”

Needless to say, investing in expensive green energy at a time when oil producers cannot give away oil is peak stupidity. But the Boston University economics major’s faux pas merely underscores an uncomfortable truth regarding this pandemic and its aftermath: For the most partisan, every crisis is an opportunity to push political priors.

The most obvious agenda item for those on the political left has been the growth of government. Dan Balz, chief correspondent of The Washington Post, drooled while saying: “For the first time, many Americans are looking to government for their very economic survival. In time, that could make them look at government differently.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote for The New York Times that the “unequal impact of the pandemic and economic collapse are forcing us to rethink the assumptions of our system.” Among those assumptions: the free market economy (Sanders terms the free market “the path of greed and unfettered capitalism”).

The New York Times termed the coronavirus a “new frontier in the fight for civil rights” and quoted race hustler the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is calling for a government commission to investigate the “racism and discrimination built into public policies” that result in racial health disparities.

Precisely this attitude—that every crisis is a new weapon in the war for more expansive government, and in favor of a complete rethinking of the constitutional bargain—will lead more and more Americans to view shutdown orders with skepticism.

It is one thing to lock down populations on a bipartisan basis with clear goals—goals like preventing coronavirus patients from swamping the health care system. Most Americans will go along with that, and most Americans are willing to grant policymakers the benefit of the doubt.

But when politicians begin to reveal ulterior motives for such shutdowns, Americans begin to ask questions.

When politicians simultaneously take measures that obviously do nothing to combat the coronavirus—measures like locking public parks where people are social distancing, or banning Americans from buying gardening supplies but ensuring access to abortion remains fully available—Americans begin to wonder whether their politicians are trustworthy.

And when politicians meet such questions with hysterical accusations that the questioners simply don’t care about human life, Americans grow even more suspicious.

Crises require trust in authority. But authorities must earn our trust with well-founded, sensible policy. They must be transparent about what they are doing and why they are doing it.

When authorities instead suggest openly that their agenda isn’t solely curbing the coronavirus but remaking America along the lines of their own political priors, they lose our trust. And they should.

Reprinted with Permission from - Daily Signal by - Ben Shapiro

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Jack Thomas
1 year ago

Ben Shapiro makes excellent observations. The coronavirus pandemic has clearly presented opportunities for the radical political establishment to saber-rattle and lobby for funding and legislation that supports their extremist agenda. Apart from examples that Shapiro noted, there are as many disturbing signals at the State government level —- Andrew Cuomo in New York and Phil Murphy in New Jersey hinting that more federal aid is needed to help the States. We shouldn’t be fooled by this; a major crisis like COVID-19 is the “perfect storm” to help liberal lawmakers hide their true motives in seeking financial aid from Washington D.C. I wouldn’t put it past Gov. Murphy and the Democrat controlled legislature to use federal money to camouflage their own mismanagement of the State budget. Likewise in New York which has similar problems. It’s simply unfair to ask 48 other States to come to the rescue with tax dollars they sent to Washington.

PaulE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jack Thomas

All three Democrat Governors of the tri-state area oversee state budgets that have been a hair’s breath away from bankruptcy for years and years. Decades of sweetheart deals with the various public unions for votes, the total mismanagement of those pension funds and the uber liberal policies that all Democrats favor have created situations where residents and numerous businesses, if able, have been fleeing these socialist utopias for years. Now all these blue state Governors see the Wuhan virus as the perfect public relations cover to demand hundreds of billions of dollars in a massive bailout from the federal government. I live in the PRNJ, so I am well aware of how this mess was created over the decades. By the way, most of the other blue states clamoring for a federal bailout fit this bill as well. So it is NOT just the tri-state area.

The residents of the well-run red states should be rightly alarmed that anyone in Washington, D.C. would even be considering rewarding any of these blue states with a financial bailout. McConnel was right in his statement that these poorly-run blue states should go the bankruptcy route. Otherwise, all these same blue states will simply make getting a financial bailout from the feds a regular means of covering the costs of their reckless spending initiatives.

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