Good Luck

June 06th, 2020
L&T Opinions Page

earl watt mugL&T Publisher Earl Watt


Midway through the federal government’s 15-day move to limit the spread of the coronavirus, it feels as if the America we all knew has somehow vanished before our very eyes.

After watching Soviet Union citizens standing in line for toilet paper in the 1980s, and always having shortages of one kind or another, I never would have thought there would come a day in the United States where we were seeing similar circumstances.

Of course, they are very different scenarios. All trade and distribution were state controlled actions in the Soviet Union, and if you ever needed an example of why we should not look to the government for solutions, you only need to look at what was happening in Russia to understand why we never wanted government overreach in America.

The youngest Americans didn’t have a Soviet Union example, and so they don’t understand why we don’t expect the government to be our savior.

If we examine what is happening now, the way government is improving the coronavirus situation is by rolling back excessive government restrictions.

Why was there a ventilator shortage? Because the government restrictions made it very difficult to produce them.

Government restrictive rollbacks now has car manufacturers working on building respirators.

Why are we worried about overburdening our health care facilities? Because government restrictions on the number of health care professionals that are allowed to study medicine creates an artificial shortage.

Over and over, when we look at the response, it typically is cutting through the red tape created by government to allow the private sector to properly address the crisis.

Instead of looking to the government for solutions, what we are really doing is looking for them to get out of the way so that solutions cane be made available.

Even truck driving restrictions have been lifted so necessary goods can be shipped where they are needed.

The solution to the coronavirus has been less government, not more of it.

There have been governmental action to help slow the spread, like limiting large-scale gatherings and encouraging social distancing and healthy hygiene.

But the real key will be removing restrictions.

For example, on March 3, the CDC lifted federal restriction on coronavirus testing to allow any American to be tested “subject to doctor’s orders.”

The government is also trying to reduce the red tape to streamline the development of a vaccine.

The Trump Administration is also looking at using the Defense Production Act to remove further restrictions on how to more quickly produce the necessary items in combating the virus.

Providing more government will only slow down the recovery if there are more rules to have to follow in the development of real solutions.

Instead of questioning why the excessive restrictions were in place, we will blame the government for its slow response rather than why government made it so difficult to solve problems in the first place.

Government’s primary reason for existence to is protect our rights, but more and more we see them placing more and more restrictions in their effort to save us from ourselves.

Elected officials tend to justify their existence with a new rule or regulation rather than resisting the urge to create more red tape.

While we all join in on addressing this outbreak, don’t add to the problem by forgetting to support your local businesses.

Our local restaurants, grocery stores and other providers could use some support right now. Practice all the recommended safety rules, but try to support these people who will be here for you when you need them. Now it’s our turn to be here for them when they need us.

We need to be a connected community now more than ever, and that doesn’t mean violating the recommendations of social distancing, it means providing support to each other when these additional burdens could severely hurt some businesses more than others.

Thank goodness National Beef has been able to continue to operate at full capacity. Others have not been so lucky. Several retail outlets have chosen to temporarily close. 

Thank goodness our grocery stores continue to remain open.

While hoarding is not encouraged, shopping local is always a great benefit to our community, and this proves why it is so important to be able to rely on our own for our needs.

When we shop local, we are supporting our own independence, and believe me, when you need a roll of toilet paper, you don’t want to drive an hour away to look for it.

The answer for the local economy won’t come from Washington or even Topeka.

It will come from you. 

Do your best to support the same people who donate to your local club or organization when times are good. Help the same people who donate to the schools and the sports teams.

That’s what being local is all about.

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Gordon L (Pete) Smith March 4, 1937 – May 15, 2020

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