“No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No Service.”
Get used to it. You may see it on storefronts and office doors soon.
The phrase was among the ideas presented during Thursday’s teleconference of the 23-member Re-Open Florida Task Force Industry Working Group on Administrative, Education, Information & Technology, Manufacturing, Utilities and Wholesale.
The group, led by state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, discussed reopening K-12 schools in August on Wednesday, with Thursday’s session mostly focused on manufacturing and information technology businesses.
Corcoran’s group is one of four subpanels set to forward ideas to the Re-Open Florida Task Force’s 22-member executive committee, which must present Gov. Ron DeSantis with a statewide reopening plan Friday.
Enterprise Florida Senior Vice President Manny Mencia said many manufacturers could restart production and meet safety protocols quickly if supply lines were restored.
“A large majority of (Florida manufacturers) have seen a sudden and steep decline in their sales and revenues,” Mencia said. “This is happening while they’ve also been experiencing a significant disruption in supply chains.”
Venice-based Tervis, which manufactures plastic drink tumblers, has not escaped the economic fallout from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but president Rogan Donnelly outlined how it plans to safely resume full operations.
Tervis plans to check employees’ temperatures before entering its plant, provide masks, disinfect regularly and impose social distancing in its workspaces, he said.
“We are investigating the use of temperature guns or thermal cameras,” Donnelly said.
The company is concerned about the reliable availability of thermometers, he said, noting they are “hard to find and are on back order.”
Tervis wants its employees properly trained, Donnelly said.
“Taking an employee’s temperature puts HR at higher risk, potentially exposing themselves to the virus,” he said. “Our HR team is not certified on how to actively take a temperature. So, we need to find someone who can train or certify our team, and to identify clear policies about which temperatures are too high, and what happens if a person has that temperature.”
Florida Technology Council Chief Executive Officer James Taylor offered suggested best practices for the IT industry that include daily self-screening for employees and clients; in-house social distancing; training on how to use personal protective equipment; a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment, sanitizer, soap, and other such supplies; disinfection and cleaning protocols; and signage.
His suggested sign: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No Service.”
Taylor said the key to getting “the onus off the state and put it back on the businesses” to determine when they are ready to reopen is clear guidance and protocols.
“By meeting these different protocols, it allows them to say, ‘Yes we can do that. We’re in a position to open right now,’ ” he said.
Broward College President Greg Haile said economic crisis typically results in college and technical school enrollment boosts, but, with the COVID-19 pandemic, all bets are off.
“This is unlike anything we have ever seen,” Haile said.
Miami-Dade County Early Learning Coalition President Evelio Torres said with K-12 schools closed at least until August, any plan to reopen the economy must address child care and provide operators with resources to ensure they are safe.
“Full social distancing in a child care setting is practically impossible,” Torres said. “So the ones that are open may not have enough personal protection equipment due to the shortages. A lot of them are making do with what they have. But this is a concern to the staff, a concern to the parents, as well to owners and directors.”
The Center Square
When historians look back at America's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, they likely will cite Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as the best example of how not to contain a pandemic in your state.
The Democratic governor has turned her state into the heart of COVID-19 resistance. On Wednesday, protesters shut down the roads in Lansing, the state's capital, in a protest dubbed "Operation Gridlock."
Whitmer responded to the outrage of her constituents thusly: "I know that people are angry and that's OK, and if you want to take it out and send it my way, if it makes you feel better, that's fine. I support your right to free speech, and I respect your opinions. I just urge you, don't put yourself at risk and don't put others at risk either. I was really disappointed to see people congregating, not wearing masks. I saw someone handing out candy to little kids bare-handed."
She did everything but brand her critics "barbarians at the gate" -- unwashed hordes who stand against the good people who stay home and don't make waves -- when her provocative attitude and policies truly were a problem.
Consider the name of her stay-at-home orders: "Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life."
Her order should have prohibited activities that spread the virus -- that's what public safety requires. Instead, Whitmer took her moment of power to tell her own constituents that they should not do anything that possibly could make their confinement more pleasant or productive.
An example: "Private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited." So if you're a healthy single person, you can't sit down with a neighbor. It doesn't matter if you practice social distancing. You are not supposed to exercise your judgment. Your purpose is to obey.
Large retailers can't sell paint or plants. Gardening centers in large stores are illegal.
If residents have a second home, they are not allowed to go to it.
Wolverines can kayak but not use a motorboat. Somehow that is supposed to save lives.
It's one thing to be told you have to social distance, work at home or not work to contain the spread of COVID-19. It's another thing to be told, in effect, you can't plant tomatoes or people will die.
Whitmer has a talking point that explains her invasive rules.
Former NFL player and Michigan resident Mark Campbell, who recently visited the White House, told President Donald Trump that he believed he contracted the coronavirus when he touched a gas pump during a ski trip. Campbell has since recovered.
Whitmer frequently shares Campbell's story. She then notes that COVID-19 can live on stainless steel for 72 hours. "Think about how many people touch a gas pump handle in the span of three days and that's why we don't want anyone on the road who doesn't have to be there," she recently told reporters.
One word: Gloves.
Americans now know which measures should be taken when touching surfaces that many others have touched -- even if Whitmer assumes voters, including savvy first responders, have no common sense.
Whitmer's name pops up among possible running mates for former Vice President Joe Biden. Her criticism of Trump's handling of the outbreak raised her profile. Ditto Trump's warning to Vice President Mike Pence during a coronavirus task force briefing not to call "that woman from Michigan." (Pence nonetheless has called her.)
It gave Whitmer's brand a boost when she appeared on "The Daily Show" wearing a T-shirt that said, "That woman from Michigan," and insisted she has no energy for politics.
Maybe her next T-shirt could say: "Nanny state scold."
Even Trump, albeit with the help of Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, has been able to unite the country behind social-distancing guidelines. By going too far, Whitmer has discredited that very effort.
Debra J. Saunders
President Donald Trump unleashed his "April surprise" on Monday night, sending shock waves from the Beltway Swamp to Silicon Valley with a long-overdue announcement: "In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens," he declared, "I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!"
The usual suspects inveighed against the still-unseen proposal early Tuesday morning. My inbox was flooded with twitching and moaning from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Foundation-funded outfit, which called a freeze the "wrong approach" and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which ranted (as usual) about "white nationalists" and "racism." The infuriated Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the "irrational and insidious" plan (that no one had yet seen) and called for "people of all decency" to "denounce this xenophobic agenda." Lawsuits are already being prepared against an executive order that hasn't been written or signed.
For nonhysterical observers of the Trump administration, however, the outcome was perfectly obvious: initial excitement followed by abject letdown as actual details have trickled out over the last 48 hours.
Do not forget: 26 million American workers across the wage scale are out of work as a result of pandemic-induced lockdowns and layoffs. Dire straits demand extreme measures. The well-being of our native workforce and the millions of families dependent upon them must be Washington's top priority, not big business, big agriculture, Silicon Valley, academia or foreign countries clamoring to send their students and workers here to replace ours.
Despite White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany crediting Trump on Tuesday morning for understanding that "(d)ecades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens," at his Tuesday evening press conference, Trump revealed that the prematurely heralded and scorned immigration suspension will last a mere 60 days and will exempt temporary foreign visa holders.
Head. Bang. Desk.
This is a cynical betrayal of the burgeoning "America First" movement. It's all moratorium hat and no cattle:
--All new green card applications and routine visa processing were already suspended on March 20.
--Refugee resettlement was already suspended the same week and is scheduled to be frozen until at least May 15 (although more than 1,000 Afghan refugees were flown in over the past month while the rest of us have been ordered shut in our own homes).
--Foreign travelers from China and Europe, plus Canada and Mexico, were already barred from entering (though thousands of H-2A and H-2B agricultural and seasonal workers got in and some 35,000 more expect a green light despite virus outbreaks at Chinese-owned meat plants packed with foreign laborers).
--The annual H-1B lottery for Chinese and Indian tech workers was completed last month and a total of 475,000 H-1Bs are safe while untold thousands of American STEM students, graduates and workers lost their livelihoods.
--Despite massive layoffs of H-1B workers in tech, there is no move to send them home. Instead, immigration lawyers are outrageously advising H-1B and other temporary visa holders (including those in the L-1, B-1 and R categories) that they are eligible for stimulus checks.
--More than a million F-1 foreign student visa holders remain in the country, including nearly 400,000 from China, as do hundreds of thousands of foreign students who secured Optional Practical Training work permits in STEM fields, displacing American workers.
--More than 4,000 J-1 foreign health worker visas were freed up earlier this month while American medical professionals lost their jobs. The American Medical Association, which has artificially suppressed the supply of doctors for decades to inflate wages, is whining about shortages and pressuring to relax J-1 rules and time limits even further.
The clamor for an immigration moratorium has been steadily rising, from Pat Buchanan's advocacy, dating back to his first presidential campaign in 1992, to immigration hawk Jeff Sessions' call for an employment-based visa freeze last week. With a whopping 79% of Americans now in favor of a full halt to immigration (according to a recent USA Today/Ipsos poll), this was Trump's golden opportunity to seize momentum. Instead, we got a mess of squander and blunder.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is more interested in appeasing India than protecting American workers. White House adviser Jared Kushner and his top aide Christopher Liddell (former Microsoft executive) have prioritized appeasing Apple and Amazon. I've learned from insiders that there are at least 15 categorical exemptions on the table and more in the works.
A one-time, 60-day Swiss Cheese-holed farce of an immigration ban will do far more harm than good for Donald Trump. Think about it this way: Various illegal immigration ethnic blocs have been granted "Temporary Protected Status" continuously since 2001. Why do hordes of foreigners get a permanent reprieve while American citizens will be asked to settle for a measly comma before getting drowned again in mass migration? The executive order should cover all foreign influxes and should be renewed for at least as long as the longest TPS extensions: 19 years.
We need Permanent Protected Status for American citizens. Full stop.
America's domestic energy producers are under siege. The price of oil fell to below $5 a barrel on Monday, down from roughly $50 a barrel a year ago. This 90% drop in price is sending nearly the entire oil and gas industry into bankruptcy.
What is going on here?
Saudi Arabia and Russia have flooded the international market with cheap oil at the very time of a massive drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. This "perfect storm" for America's drillers sent prices into this unprecedented tailspin.
Low prices are good news for American motorists and manufacturers, for sure. Get ready for $1 a gallon gas prices in some places. But the market saturation in cheap oil is a scheme by the Saudis to regain the power they lost when innovative U.S. drillers cracked the code to unleash the most prolific and unexpected oil and gas boom in the history of North America.
Because of their grit and determination, and for leading us out of the 2008 to 2009 recession, I love this industry. I wrote a book about the frackers in 2015, and, for full disclosure, I get some limited funding from energy firms. Under President Donald Trump's policies, which were highly supportive of American energy independence, the U.S. became a net exporter of energy, and OPEC's energy dominance was over.
But now, Russia and Saudi Arabia want their price war to shut down American energy production while the world isn't looking. They are succeeding.
Many small- and medium-sized producers, from Texas to North Dakota and Pennsylvania, have been shutting down and are even fighting off bankruptcy. These companies are amazingly resilient and are experts at slashing production costs for the sake of survival. Almost no one (other than radical environmentalists) favors decapitating an industry that has made America an energy powerhouse, created as many as 5 million new jobs, and almost single-handedly pulled our nation out of the 2008 to 2009 recession.
Oil remains one of the necessary elements in society's ability to prosper and function. For example, the blue-collar jobs in oil production, transportation, refining, and petrochemical manufacturing were all deemed "essential workforce" (even in California!) during this period of national emergency. It would be dangerous and shortsighted to hand over energy production to foreign regimes that are less than friendly to the U.S. and have proven themselves to be less than dependable suppliers.
One smart retaliatory move would be to slash the taxes paid by our onshore drillers and royalties on drillers in the Gulf of Mexico and on federal lands. These royalties paid to Uncle Sam can range from a "tax" of between 12% and 18.5%. Ending the royalties through the end of the year would lift the after-tax price paid to drillers by as much as $5 a barrel. This would apply to about 4 million barrels of oil per day on federal properties.
The feds now collect about $6 billion a year in royalties. Canceling those payments would be a small price to pay to save an industry that employs several million workers. Under federal law, the president has the executive authority to take this action.
America has become the world's largest oil and gas producer -- and the Russians and the Saudis want to end that supremacy. Trump can and should make sure they don't succeed by slashing the taxes and royalties this critical industry pays until the coronavirus crisis is over.
It would be natural to believe that nearly everyone on the planet is horrified by the death and economic destruction wrought from the COVID-19 pandemic. But some see the body bags and the shutdown of economic production as a weird kind of blessing in disguise.
These are the proponents of a radical and increasingly chic movement on the left called "degrowth." This is the idea that economic growth and increased prosperity are the root CAUSE of massive ecological destruction and health pandemics. The agenda is to shut down industrial production and industries like fossil fuels, automobiles and airline travel that contribute to global warming. COVID-19 and the economy lockdown are seen as a kind of test run for the theory.
For example, professor Natasha Chassagne of the University of Tasmania and a disciple of this movement gushes that "we can draw many lessons and opportunities from the current health crisis when tackling planetary warming."
A former high-ranking climate adviser to the Obama administration, Jason Bordoff, writes in Foreign Policy magazine that "COVID-19 may deliver some short-term climate benefits by curbing energy use, or even longer-term benefits if economic stimulus is linked to climate goals," but he adds almost regretfully that the "benefits" from the pandemic in terms of less carbon emissions are likely to be "fleeting and negligible."
Degrowth is defended by its proponents as "a political, economic and social movement based on ecological economics, anti-consumerism and anti-capitalism."
The official degrowth website explains that COVID-19 is "an example of why degrowth is needed; it shows the unsustainability and fragility of our current way of life. Additionally, the response to covid-19 has shown that degrowth is possible, because society (and the state) has demonstrated an ability to dramatically change the modus operandi in response to a major crisis."
The philosophy that increased prosperity is the problem and not the solution to our societal problems is not new. In the 1970s, many on the left embraced the "limits to growth" ideology of too many people, too little food and energy, and imminent ecological disaster. Those ideas were discredited over the ensuing 40 years as innovation and technology, plus a renewed appreciation of economic freedom, advanced rapid growth in living standards around the globe and massive surpluses of food and energy.
Of course, the origins of the limits to growth and, now, degrowth movements date back to the days of Thomas Robert Malthus, who famously and wrongly predicted that population growth would always outpace food and economic production. These rotten and dangerous ideas are back in vogue, and the New Yorker magazine recently highlighted the fad on college campuses and in faculty lounges. It's the latest of leftist extremism -- a subversive movement to keep an eye on.
What is scary is that many who subscribe to climate change hysteria, as well as the donors who provide the tens of billions of dollars of resources to climate issues, have come to agree that growth is the enemy and that we would all be better off if we were a little poorer.
It is wrong on so many levels one hardly knows where to start. First, economic freedom and growth go hand in hand and have inarguably positive benefits to the poorest citizens of the world and to health and the environment. Nations that have degrowth are much more polluted and have much higher death rates than the United States.
Environmental protection is the ultimate "superior good." The richer a society becomes, the more they spend on clean air, clean water and nature preservation.
The degrowth fad -- hopefully it is just that -- also reveals the modern left movement for what it is at its core. It is anti-growth, anti-people, anti-free enterprise and anti-prosperity. The entire climate change movement is an assault against cheap and abundant energy and rising living standards. This raises the question of how we could ever rely on the left to fix our economy, help the poor and make us all more prosperous if their goal is to shrink the economy, not grow it?
"War is the health of the state," wrote the progressive Randolph Bourne during the First World War, after which he succumbed to the Spanish flu.
America's war on the coronavirus pandemic promises to be no exception to the axiom. However long this war requires, the gargantuan state will almost surely emerge triumphant.
Currently, the major expenditures of the U.S. government, as well as a growing share of total federal spending, are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
None of these programs will be curtailed or reduced this year or next. And if the Democrats win in November, the nation will likely take a great leap forward - toward national health insurance.
Republicans are calling for a suspension until 2021 of payroll taxes used to finance Social Security and Medicare. While that would provide an economic stimulus, it would also blow a huge hole in federal revenue and further enlarge the deficit and national debt.
Even before the virus struck with full force in March, that deficit was projected at or near $1 trillion -- not only for fiscal year 2020 but for every year of the new decade.
The next major item of the budget is defense, considered untouchable to the Republican Party. Hence a confident prediction: This generation will never again see a budget deficit smaller than $1 trillion.
Indeed, the $2 trillion lately voted on to save businesses and keep paychecks going to workers will lift the deficit for 2020 above $3 trillion.
As of March 1, 2020, the nation was at full employment, with the lowest jobless rates among women and minorities in our history.
Less than two months later, 26 million Americans are out of work.
These workers will soon begin picking up unemployment checks, a new burden on the federal budget, to which will be added the cost of expanding food stamps, rent supplements and welfare payments.
Though Harvard, with its $41 billion endowment, was shamed into returning the $8.7 million in bailout money coming its way, does anyone believe the stream of U.S. revenue going into higher education will ever fall back to what it was before the pandemic?
As for that $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, is it more likely that vast sum will be paid back by those who incurred the debt, or that it will be piled atop the federal debt?
Congress has already voted to bail out our stressed hospitals.
Now, standing patiently in line for their bailouts, are the states -- and America's cities and counties. These governmental units are virtually all certain to face falling tax revenue and expanded social demands, leading to exploding deficits.
Their case: You bailed out the businesses and the hospitals. What about us? When does our turn come?
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, anticipating the mammoth bill for bailing out states and cities, has suggested that governments be allowed to use bankruptcy laws to write down and write off their debts.
Probably not going to happen.
Recall what happened when President Gerald Ford told New York City that Uncle Sam was not going to bail out the Big Apple. "Ford to City: Drop Dead!" was the famous headline splashed across the front page of the New York Daily News.
Ford recanted but did not recover. His perceived callousness in the face of New York City's crisis -- though that fiscal crisis was entirely of the city's own making -- factored into his defeat by Jimmy Carter.
Donald Trump is not going to give Red State governors facing gaping budget deficits because of the coronavirus crisis the wet mitten across the face. For his political future will be decided by those states.
Still, the cost of bailing them out promises to be enormous and to create a precedent for bailouts without end.
Then there is the clamor, already begun, from, and on behalf of, the Third World. The IMF, World Bank and the West, it is said, have a moral obligation to replace revenue shortfalls these nations are facing from lost remittances from their workers in the developed world.
There is talk of hundreds of billions of dollars in monetary transfers from the world's North to the world's South.
Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist once famously declared: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."
What is more likely to be drowned in that bathtub is the philosophy: "That government governs best which governs least."
What is more likely to be drowned in that bathtub is the philosophy that champions small government, the primacy of the private sector, a belief in "pay as you go," and that "balanced budgets" are the ideal.
Call it Robert Taft conservatism. Today, it appears irrelevant.
Indeed, the one certain victor in the coronavirus pandemic war will likely be Big Government. As John Donne wrote, "No winter shall abate this spring's increase."
Patrick J. Buchanan
President Donald Trump began the year in a strong position to win reelection, in large part due to the best economy in generations. Under Trump, the unemployment rate had fallen to around half-century lows, workers (and disproportionately low-income workers), saw their first real wage gains in a decade, and people reported record confidence in their personal finances.
But thanks to the coronavirus and the resulting lockdowns, in a matter of weeks, the economy came crumbling down, with 22 million people reporting joblessness in the past month alone and second-quarter GDP loss projections reaching as high as 40%.
All of this poses a problem for Trump. But it's possible that it proves an even worse one for Joe Biden.
Although the de facto Democratic presidential nominee ran well to the center of the majority of his competitors, Biden still took the bait to endorse many of their policies, including a pledge to repeal Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The media worked overtime to convince the country that the law was a tax cut for the wealthy, and that may have worked for a time. But two years into Trump's first legislative achievement, the people know better, namely, that unless you're a high-dollar, white-collar earner in a heavily blue state and, thus, slapped with the SALT deduction cap, it was overwhelmingly likely that you saw a tax cut.
It's one thing for Biden to argue for a tax hike while the economy is booming. But it's another to want to hike taxes on small businesses, when 1 in 4 reports being just two months from extinction, and hike rates on the individuals still earning cash and driving our direly necessary consumer spending.
If Biden actually followed through on his promise, it would devastate just about everyone. Americans for Tax Reform crunched the numbers, and they're not pretty. For a family of four earning the nation's median income of $73,000, taxes owed would increase by $2,000. A single mother of one child making $41,000, less than 250% of the federal poverty line, would owe an extra $1,300 in taxes.
The child tax cut would be slashed in half for millions of households across the board, and millions of the country's most unprivileged would be hit with the return of the individual mandate tax. And none of that is to mention that tens of millions more of these people would lose their jobs when small businesses, on the cusp of permanent closure, are hit with the repeal of the 20% deduction for small business income.
Biden is in a bind. Does he rely on his record of the Obama administration presiding over the slowest economic recovery of all time?
Or does he commit to his promise of fulfilling his party's laundry list of spending plans by punishing hundreds of millions of people and threatening their livelihoods?
Biden can't run on his past, and now, he can't run on his promises. Stuck in a Wilmington basement with an unrelenting left still trying to tether him to its socialist fantasies, he doesn't have many other campaign strategies than to wait and ride the coronavirus wave.
Perhaps the coronavirus pandemic began in a Wuhan wet market, as is most commonly claimed. But it makes no sense to dismiss the alternate theory that it escaped from a Chinese laboratory.
The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China's most sensitive civilian bioresearch lab. Considering the destructive global consequences to both health and economies wrought by this pandemic, we need to get to the truth no matter where it takes us.
Do not misunderstand us; the virus' genetic code and its nonmaximal mortality rates suggest it came from a bat rather than a bioweapons lab project. Even if the science is strong that it originated with animal-to-human transmission, however, it's plausible that it could have been the result of botched research into bats that infected a lab worker and got outside the facility.
There is now abundant reason to demand investigation of the Wuhan lab. We know that it was investigating viral strains originating in bats. We also know the coronavirus has a high genetic correlation with bat viruses. And now we know that the lab's precautions to prevent an outbreak were sloppy.
Richard Ebright, a Rutgers microbiologist and biosafety expert, told the Washington Post's David Ignatius that he saw a video from the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention facility that shows workers "collecting bat coronaviruses with inadequate (personal protective equipment) and unsafe operational practices." The newspaper reported that State Department scientists twice visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2018. According to cables, the scientists came away warning that the lab lacked sufficient safeguards against a viral outbreak. One cable read, "During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory."
An investigation is justified yet more by China's repeated and systematic lying and secrecy over the origins of the virus, which means the government's story cannot be taken at face value.
Even the World Health Organization, which defers improperly to Beijing, was denied access to Wuhan until late February, months after the outbreak first occurred. Was this because the Communist Party was trying to cover up the origins of the virus near the lab? Was it because China tracked the first infected person back to the lab?
China's secrecy helped ensure its internal outbreak became a global pandemic. But, beyond the secrecy, China has actively spread falsehoods, pretending that the virus originated somewhere outside its borders. The most ludicrous Chinese lie was its assertion that American soldiers brought the virus to Wuhan during an October military sports tournament.
China seems to have something to hide, and we must find out what it is.
The coronavirus has killed tens of thousands of people in the United States, poleaxed the nation's economy, and subjected our citizens to social isolation and unprecedented lockdowns.
Pursuing the truth with an open mind is the least of our obligations.
After the Great Pandemic has passed and we emerge from Great Depression II, what will be America's mission in the world?
What will be America's cause?
We have been at such a turning point before.
After World War II, Americans wanted to come home. But we put aside our nation-building to face the challenge of a malevolent Stalinist empire dominant from the Elbe river to the Barents Sea.
And after persevering for four decades, we prevailed.
What, then, did we do with our epochal victory?
We alienated Russia by moving our NATO military alliance into the Baltic and Black Seas. We launched bloody, costly crusades for democracy in the Middle East that, invariably, failed. We exported a huge slice of our manufacturing capacity and economic independence to a coddled China.
Historically, blunders of such magnitude have undone great powers.
Even before COVID-19, Americans had begun to realize the folly of decades of mindless interventionism over matters irrelevant to our vital interests. "Unsustainable" was the word commonly associated with our foreign policy.
But if our foreign policy was unsustainable during President Trump's economic boom, with unemployment at record lows and a bull market to rival the Roaring '20s, can an interventionist foreign policy be sustained after the losses of this major depression we have induced to kill the pandemic?
If the Democrats win in November, we know their priorities: national health insurance, carbon taxes, the Green New Deal, open borders, amnesty, reparations and wealth redistribution to reduce social and economic inequality -- an agenda costing trillions of dollars.
And Democrats will be looking at the defense budget as a slush fund to finance this new progressive era.
If the Republicans win, given the influence of hawks and neocons among the party elite, interventionism may get another run in the yard.
Having been exposed as naive beyond belief for their indulgence of China from the Bush I days to 2016, some Republicans are looking to make amends by casting China in the Soviet role in Cold War II.
There is talk on Capitol Hill of refusing to pay off U.S. bonds that Beijing holds and of suing China for the damages done by the coronavirus, as China failed to alert the world the pathogen was loose.
Americans should think long and hard before defaulting on U.S. government debt and considerthe consequences if we open a door to claims against sovereign nations for past sins.
Iraq was invaded in 2003 to force it to give up illicit weapons of mass destruction it did not have. Baghdad could have a case in international court against America for the unprovoked war waged against that country.
While the U.S. appears determined to bring back manufacturing -- especially of products critical to the health, safety and defense of our nation -- there seems to be no stomach among the public for a war with China.
But again, with the democracy crusades now repudiated, what is America's cause, what is America's mission in the world?
Preventing climate change, say our liberal elites. Yet, even before the pandemic, global warming ranked near the bottom of national concerns.
The situation in which America will find herself after the virus passes and depression lifts will be almost unprecedented.
We will have the same treaty obligations to go to war on behalf of dozens of nations in Europe and Asia and at the same time, we will be running deficits on the order of $3 trillion a year with a shrunken economic base.
If Trump wins, borders will be tightened. The U.S. withdrawal from the Mideast will continue. U.S. manufacturing will begin to be repatriated. Transnational institutions will be downgraded, ignored and superseded.
The watchword will be what it has lately been: "America First."
In a second Trump presidency, there would likely be even less concern for how other nations rule themselves.
Does it matter to us if Russia is led by an autocrat not unlike a Romanov czar, that Hindu nationalism wields the whip hand in India or that Hungarians have rejected Earl Warren's ideas about liberal democracy?
In recent decades, the U.N. General Assembly has seemed to resemble the bar scene in "Star Wars." But is how other nations choose to rule themselves any business of ours, if those nations do not threaten us?
In the 19th century, when the Hungarians had risen up against the Hapsburg Empire and sought U.S. intervention, Henry Clay opposed it:
"Far better is it for ourselves ... and for the cause of liberty ... that we should keep our lamp burning brightly on this western shore, as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction amid the ruins of falling or fallen republics in Europe."
Not only President Trump's preferences but also events seem to be driving us toward such a destiny.
To borrow from the title of historian Walter A. McDougall's classic work, America's future is as a promised land, not a crusader state.
Patrick J. Buchanan
The Obama administration gave the Wuhan laboratory $3.7 million for research in 2015 via the National Institutes of Health, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) revealed last week.
The money was meant for the studying of bats that carry the viruses that have triggered the present pandemic as well as the SARS outbreak nearly two decades ago, according to the Daily Mail.
I'm against funding Chinese research in our country, but I'm sure against funding it in China. The NIH gives a $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [and] they then advertise that they need coronavirus researchers and following that, coronavirus erupts in Wuhan. What's really troubling to me is either conspicuously or miraculously the Wuhan Institute of Virology is able to sequence the virus on January 2 but China doesn't admit to the virus existing until January 9 and then the Wuhan Institute of Virology doesn't release this important scientific information to the world until January 12. So at best, Americans are funding people who are lying to us and at worst, we're funding people who we knew had problems handling pathogens, who then birthed a monster virus onto the world.
President Donald Trump vowed last week to stop giving taxpayer funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the place where American intelligence indicates the coronavirus outbreak may have originated. Any further funding will immediately end, Trump declared on Friday.
On Friday, a reporter asked the president, "U.S. intelligence is saying this week that the coronavirus likely came from a level 4 lab in Wuhan. There's also another report that the NIH, under the Obama administration, in 2015 gave that lab $3.7 million in a grant. Why would the U.S. give a grant like that to China?"
Trump responded, "The Obama administration gave them a grant of $3.7 million? I've been hearing about that. And we've instructed that if any grants are going to that area — we're looking at it, literally, about an hour ago, and also early in the morning. We will end that grant very quickly.
"But it was granted quite a while ago. They were granted a substantial amount of money," he continued. "We're going to look at it and take a look. But I understand it was a number of years ago, right?"
When Trump asked the reporter to again state when the Obama administration gave the Wuhan lab the taxpayer-funded grant, Trump quipped, "2015? Who was president then? I wonder."
for full story see: https://www.theblaze.com/