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Congress passed a coronavirus stimulus bill (CARES Act) intended to put money in the hands of individuals and organizations. Two large programs are the Paycheck Protection Program (“Paycheck” or “PPP”) and the Main Street Lending Program (“Main Street”). We don’t yet know, officially, how these programs will be paid for. My goal here is to predict and express my opinion on how we will fund these two emergency loan programs.

“Paycheck” loans will be forgiven by the SBA if organizations meet the payroll and employee retention requirements of the legislation, while the “Main Street” loans will be handled a little differently. 95% of these loans will be purchased from lending banks and held by the Federal Reserve. Does that sound familiar? At first glance, it seems to be similar to what happened with the “quantitative easing” measures occurring during Obama’s administration.

It’s important to understand that the Federal Reserve manages the money supply, it doesn’t borrow money. The Federal Reserve has a Congressional mandate to maximize employment while controlling inflation. Quantitative easing (“QE”) is part of the Fed’s frequently used “open market operations.” Other Fed tools include adjusting the fed funds rate, the discount rate, and the bank reserve requirement.

During the QE activities of the last administration, the Fed purchased financial assets, e.g. U.S. Treasury debt and mortgage backed securities, from banks. That increased the money supply and stimulated the economy by flooding banks with capital. “Balancing the books” with taxes or borrowing wasn’t necessary. This type of expansion of the money supply is often referred to using the metaphor “printing money,” and it’s accomplished with a computer “keystroke.” There are no printing presses involved.

Using the Fed to expand the money supply isn’t unique to progressive administrations. In 2009, Chairman Ben Bernanke, when asked about funding the $1 trillion 2008 bank bailout, explained: “It’s not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed much the same way that you have an account with a commercial bank, so to lend to a bank, we simply us a computer to mark up the size of the account…It’s much more akin to printing money than it is to borrowing…We need to do that because our economy is very weak and inflation is very low.”

We don’t yet know how much of the CARES Act stimulation will employ tactics like quantitative easing. Will some loans be repaid as were the 2008 bank bail-out loans, or will we see the more permanent “easing” characteristics of the last administration? Most “Main Street” loans will be purchased by the Fed, and I predict they will be substantially repaid, thereby reversing most “money printing” characteristics. On the other hand, “Paycheck Protection” loans will be mostly forgiven, suggesting this can be a permanent expansion of the money supply. We can’t yet be sure.

The economic shut-down is history. Given that reality, I must decide if I support providing significant financial relief? If I do, how would I suggest paying for it? Should funds be provided from taxes, issuing government debt, or should we use money supply management by the Federal Reserve?

Regarding America’s current financial emergency, managing the money supply can be a productive tool for emergency economic stimulation when unemployment is high and inflation is low, but those measures must be temporary and limited. Aggressive emergency money supply management during financial crises has been used, and will be again, by administrations representing both parties.

If the government decides to use monetary policy management tools to fund at least portions of the CARES Act, I approve. I endorse the Federal Reserve ability to prudently and aggressively manage the money supply when the country faces an existential financial threat such as accompanied this pandemic. I believe that’s how we will fund portions of the CARES Act, such as those I’ve described above. At least for those programs, we may find out that neither taxes nor issuance of new debt is triggered.

 

www.myslantonthings.com/

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Steve Bakke

Fort Myers 

Saturday, 09 May 2020 08:37

Hollywood's Heroic Comey Story Collapses

If the "first rough draft of history" in the news media sounds dubious, the second draft made by Hollywood will almost certainly be worse. I'm not talking about documentaries, which can be judged as journalism. I'm talking about movies and TV shows, which will inevitably be pressed to dramatize things so they are evermore loosely "based on real events."

CBS has been preparing a miniseries based on former FBI Director James Comey's memoir, pompously titled "A Higher Loyalty." In the memoir, he lectured, "Ethical leaders choose a higher loyalty to those core values over their own personal gain." But the personal gain was sweet for Comey.

First came the high-roller book deal with 850,000 copies, heavily promoted by all the Democrat-repeating networks. In Comey's case, that included an hourlong prime-time ABC "news" special during which he was interviewed by that nonpartisan George Stephanopoulos. The book sold like hotcakes to Trump haters. Add some more millions for his optioning the book to Hollywood for "entertainment."

Production was slated to begin last November, but there's no word if it was anywhere near done before the coronavirus pandemic kicked in. Apparently, CBS Television Studios hasn't even decided where this Heroic Comey miniseries will land, either on Showtime or the CBS All Access streaming service, where it would be an easy match with the network's Trump-trashing drama "The Good Fight."

Comey will be played by Trump-hating actor Jeff Daniels, who recently made the New York media swoon by starring as heroic lawyer Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Broadway. The miniseries director, Billy Ray, said Daniels was picked because he had "instant integrity, loads of warmth, intelligence, complexity and gravitas." That's obviously how they expect to portray Jim Comey: as another heroic lawman on the actor's resume.

Ray promised he would make a "fair, responsible and comprehensively documented account of real-life events," CBS said in a press release. But current events are intruding on Comey's memoir and his picture of a heroic and nonpartisan FBI battling a president with no respect for the rule of law. For example, new documents have surfaced that purport to show the FBI agents who investigated President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn sought "to get him to lie" so they could "prosecute him or get him fired." Does that sound nonpartisan?

Comey bragged to MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace in 2018 that he flouted the usual protocols for interviewing a top White House official. Usually, the White House counsel is contacted and an interview is carefully arranged. In this case, Comey just sent in his agents, the ones scheming to "prosecute him or get him fired." Former Comey aide Josh Campbell admitted in his own memoir that Comey said, "We just decided, you know, screw it."

Flynn didn't see the attack coming. He said sure and did the FBI interview -- without a lawyer present. He walked right into shark-infested waters and was tricked into lying to the sharks, turning his life upside down.

Attorney General William Barr has decided to vacate Flynn's conviction, finding the adventurous FBI interview was "untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn."

I think we can guess the CBS miniseries will glide right over the latest developments to keep its focus on Heroic Comey, no matter how much that narrative is collapsing. It's likely the series will be the latest in a line of conservative-smearing historical dramas aired by CBS/Showtime, from the Clarence Thomas-whipping "Strange Justice" to "The Reagans."

But CBS -- the Dan Rather network -- lectures the rest of us to stop spreading disinformation.

Tim Graham

We've known for years that China lies and cheats and steals when it comes to international trade. Now we've learned that it also spread the deadly disease COVID-19. Donald Trump ran for president five years ago as the ultimate China hawk on trade, and he was way ahead of the curve for protecting against China's devious behavior. He saved countless lives here in the United States by shutting down travel from China back in February.

But even Trump didn't see how mendacious this tyrannical regime under President Xi Jinping could be in terms of concealing a disease that has killed close to 200,000 people. And the number of body bags grows by the day.

My former colleague, Holman Jenkins at the Wall Street Journal, has chronicled Beijing's misbehavior and cover-up. He notes that internal records recently made public reveal the politburo in China knew by early January that Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people, had a fast-spreading and, in some cases, fatal disease on the move. He writes that by mid-January, "China's government took steps to expel certain foreign reporters from Wuhan, and then from the country, as well as to silence and threaten with arrest doctors, scientists and local journalists who sought to track the outbreak."

Conspiracy theorists claim China deliberately created the virus in a lab as a weapon of mass health destruction and snuck it into the U.S. That's very unlikely, but in the end, it doesn't matter what Beijing's intention was. In either case, the crime of the cover-up of a deadly and highly contagious disease speaks for itself.

The question now is, what will be the remedy? I believe in free trade, and we've benefited from very cheap imports from China, though they have benefited more. Now, they are complicit in sabotaging the U.S. economy and the trillions of dollars of lost wealth that could have been avoided if the second-largest economy in the world had acted humanely and responsibly by sounding the alarm.

We know that the "Made in China 2025" plan has one overriding goal, which is for the Chinese to replace America as the world economic superpower. Was spreading a disease that would flatten the U.S. economy part of the plan? I doubt it, as I don't think this regime is smart enough to have pulled it off. But the outcome sure played into Jinping's broader world dominance designs.

In the wake of this scandal, many firms are rethinking China's reliability in the global supply chain. Several CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have said they will bring production home or closer to home. This could be very painful for China if this exit strategy becomes a trend. Let's hope so.

Some government officials are talking about kicking China out of the World Trade Organization or forcing Beijing to pay a fine. That is nothing but a slap on the wrist.

The most intriguing idea comes from Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who proposes that the Treasury Department should stop repayment or interest payments on the $1.1 trillion Treasury bonds owned by China. We need foreigners to buy our debt, and the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. government stands behind these bonds. But the government could make a strong case that China owes us reparations for its role in flattening our economy.

Some of my colleagues will argue that this retaliatory action of nonpayment would cause an international furor. It could reduce global demand for our debt, which would raise interest rates. But there is no shortage of demand for our debt, which is why 30-year Treasury bonds are selling for about 1.3% interest.

China needs to learn that its constant violation of the laws of civilized society will not be tolerated. Blackburn may be on to something here. Trump used to say that China is laughing behind our backs, but this move would turn its laughter into a self-righteous rage.

Bring it on.

Stephen Moore

We've known for years that China lies and cheats and steals when it comes to international trade. Now we've learned that it also spread the deadly disease COVID-19. Donald Trump ran for president five years ago as the ultimate China hawk on trade, and he was way ahead of the curve for protecting against China's devious behavior. He saved countless lives here in the United States by shutting down travel from China back in February.

But even Trump didn't see how mendacious this tyrannical regime under President Xi Jinping could be in terms of concealing a disease that has killed close to 200,000 people. And the number of body bags grows by the day.

My former colleague, Holman Jenkins at the Wall Street Journal, has chronicled Beijing's misbehavior and cover-up. He notes that internal records recently made public reveal the politburo in China knew by early January that Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people, had a fast-spreading and, in some cases, fatal disease on the move. He writes that by mid-January, "China's government took steps to expel certain foreign reporters from Wuhan, and then from the country, as well as to silence and threaten with arrest doctors, scientists and local journalists who sought to track the outbreak."

Conspiracy theorists claim China deliberately created the virus in a lab as a weapon of mass health destruction and snuck it into the U.S. That's very unlikely, but in the end, it doesn't matter what Beijing's intention was. In either case, the crime of the cover-up of a deadly and highly contagious disease speaks for itself.

The question now is, what will be the remedy? I believe in free trade, and we've benefited from very cheap imports from China, though they have benefited more. Now, they are complicit in sabotaging the U.S. economy and the trillions of dollars of lost wealth that could have been avoided if the second-largest economy in the world had acted humanely and responsibly by sounding the alarm.

We know that the "Made in China 2025" plan has one overriding goal, which is for the Chinese to replace America as the world economic superpower. Was spreading a disease that would flatten the U.S. economy part of the plan? I doubt it, as I don't think this regime is smart enough to have pulled it off. But the outcome sure played into Jinping's broader world dominance designs.

In the wake of this scandal, many firms are rethinking China's reliability in the global supply chain. Several CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have said they will bring production home or closer to home. This could be very painful for China if this exit strategy becomes a trend. Let's hope so.

Some government officials are talking about kicking China out of the World Trade Organization or forcing Beijing to pay a fine. That is nothing but a slap on the wrist.

The most intriguing idea comes from Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who proposes that the Treasury Department should stop repayment or interest payments on the $1.1 trillion Treasury bonds owned by China. We need foreigners to buy our debt, and the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. government stands behind these bonds. But the government could make a strong case that China owes us reparations for its role in flattening our economy.

Some of my colleagues will argue that this retaliatory action of nonpayment would cause an international furor. It could reduce global demand for our debt, which would raise interest rates. But there is no shortage of demand for our debt, which is why 30-year Treasury bonds are selling for about 1.3% interest.

China needs to learn that its constant violation of the laws of civilized society will not be tolerated. Blackburn may be on to something here. Trump used to say that China is laughing behind our backs, but this move would turn its laughter into a self-righteous rage.

Bring it on.

Stephen Moore

Saturday, 09 May 2020 08:17

Big Google Is Watching Your Children

Schools remain shuttered across the country, 30 million Americans are out of work, and food banks are running low, but the edutech sector is booming. Silicon Valley companies are feasting on an exploding client base of quarantined students held hostage to "online learning." Big Google is leading the way -- and that is not OK.

               

Unsuspecting parents cheering all the software and hardware donations during the pandemic shutdown have no idea the privacy price their children are paying. This isn't charity. It's big tech recruitment of vulnerable generations of future Google addicts. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Google inked a deal to provide 4,000 "free" Chromebooks to students, along with "free" Wi-Fi to 100,000 families. In Kentucky, the Jefferson County public schools gave away 25,000 Chromebooks. In Philadelphia, public officials earmarked $11 million to purchase 40,000 Chromebooks for homebound kids.

               

Google CEO Sundar Pichai crowed a few weeks ago that the company now has 100 million students and educators hooked on Google Classroom. Bent on conquering the virtual meeting market, the online giant announced that its premium Google Meet videoconferencing features are now free to all 80 million customers of its G Suite for Education apps through the fall. Google Meet is racking up 2 million new users a day as school districts abandon Zoom, the dominant virtual meeting app that recently admitted "mistakenly" routing non-Chinese calls through its Beijing-based data centers.

               

But if educators think Google will provide more protections for American students than the ChiCom government, they're blind, dumb or bought off. As I've chronicled regularly in this column over the past decade, the Silicon Valley giant has repeatedly breached federal privacy laws to extend its tentacles into children's emails, browsing habits, search engine activity, voice memos and more without parental consent. Google's information predators have previously admitted to unauthorized scanning and indexing of student email accounts and targeted online advertising based on search engine activity, as well as autosyncing of passwords, browsing history and other private data across devices and accounts belonging to students and families unaware of default tracking.

               

A new lawsuit seeking class-action status against Google filed in Illinois serves as a warning to all the millions of families enthralled by their pandemic-gifted Chromebooks. Father-of-two Clinton Farwell alleges that Google illegally collected personally identifying biometric information from his children through their public school-issued Chromebooks (loaded with G Suite for Education apps) dating back to 2015. His suit lays out how Google has "infiltrated" K-12 education with hardware and software primarily targeting students under the age of 13, whose face templates and voiceprints are illicitly collected, along with their: physical locations; websites they visit; every search term they use in Google's search engine (and the results they click on); the videos they watch on YouTube; personal contact lists; voice recordings; saved passwords; and other behavioral information.

               

Despite signing a "Student Privacy Pledge" promising not to collect, share and retain private personal data, Google Chromebooks scan students' faces and unique acoustic details of students' voices to identify them by name, age, gender and location while using Google platforms. Farwell realized his kids' biometric data was being stored in a vast database when he discovered they were required to speak and look into the laptops' microphones and cameras in order to use the school products and apps.

               

A similar lawsuit by the New Mexico Attorney General's office filed in federal court in February exposed how Chromebooks and G Suite for Education apps mined students' Gmail accounts for advertising purposes. The New Mexico AG's brief also bolstered my previous exclusive reports, based on whistleblowing by Missouri teachers Brooke Henderson and Brette Hay, on Google's access to student profiles and family computer passwords through the default Chrome Sync function -- which can only be blocked by creating a passphrase buried in settings that school officials never inform students about (let alone their parents left in the dark from the moment schools require kids to create Google logins as early as kindergarten).

               

And now governments are entrusting Google to help develop contact-tracing technology on the promise that they won't collect location data, won't exploit data for commercial purposes, and won't grant access to unauthorized parties? Fox, meet henhouse.

               

Regulatory slaps on the wrist by toothless federal agencies have done nothing to deter the deceitful data usurpers. Why hasn't every other state attorney general filed a similar suit? Where is Congress, which passed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to prevent exactly the kind of routine marauding of students' digital lives perpetrated by Google and other EdTech vultures? Instead of pushing back, Congress passed the "Every Student Succeeds Act" and the "Foundations for Evidence-Based Policy Act" -- deceptively titled bills expanding third-party access to sensitive personal data.

               

The Invisible Enemy is right under our noses, in our homes and on our kids' laptops. Instead of removing children en masse from their classrooms in the name of public health, responsible adults should be de-platforming Google's privacy pillagers from every school in America in the name of public safety.

    michelle malkin sm           

Michelle Malkin

 

As we think about coming out of our caves. there’s jockeying for position in determining who’s in charge and who’s to blame. This was inevitable, given the personalities involved. When is the President the boss and when are governors in charge? We’re learning about federalism and dual sovereignty the hard way.

Trump is providing guidance to the states for opening the economy, rather than pulling all the strings like he’s inclined. He wisely climbed into his bully pulpit where he can influence the process, applying his trademark bluster of course, as our economy awakens.

There’s been uncertainty and criticism about this decentralized process with states making their own economic recovery decisions. So, who’s in charge? Perhaps nobody. But let me explain. Our Founders set up our government with power originating with the citizens. Only powers so enumerated are delegated to the federal government, with all other power residing with the states or the people. What seems like “chaos” to some, is evidence of the system working properly.

Everyone, whether governor or citizen, has unique personal opinions about safety. Lockdowns give feelings of control, while opening the economy gives up that control. The result is uncertainty and fear. Some plead, “just follow the science,” but there’s much more to it than that. Paraphrasing Rich Lowry, “outside of the lab, in the real world, we must deal with public policy, economies, questions of values and striking a balance between competing priorities.”

Scientists and modelers don’t have answers to all the questions presidents and governors must consider. Opening the economy doesn’t prioritize the stock market over human life and values. It doesn’t trivialize all that front-line health and other essential workers have done. Rather, it means we refuse to trivialize very real but obscure dangers that threaten many others.

We’re learning that “flattening the curve” via lockdown comes with costs of its own. There are “body counts” associated with lockdown-related mental health issues, economies being wiped out, and personal bankruptcies. A rise in unemployment has a material effect on suicides, homicides, domestic violence, substance abuse and eating disorders. And what’s the cost of delaying elective medical care like knee replacements, cataract surgery, annual checkups, glaucoma tests, and even root canals?

We dare not minimize or ignore the potential tragedy of struggling economies – neither here in the U.S. nor internationally. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) predicts that by year end, more than 260,000,000 people will face starvation, double 2019’s total. In April, WFP’s director stated: “More people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.” That’s the result of tearing down global food supply chains, not deaths from the virus itself.

It’s folly to require uniform actions while facing vastly different situations across the country. Each state has unique issues. New York has over 300,000 infections to date, and a death rate of 71 per 100,000 citizens. The New York City metro area has over 160,000 infected, with a death rate of 128 per 100,000. Texas has over 35,000 infections and 2 deaths per 100,000. Florida’s numbers are approximately 35,000 infections and 4 deaths per 100,000, despite its aging population and complications of having spring break visitors during early March.

Our Founders understood the value of keeping authority at the state and local levels. A counterproductive, “one size fits all” philosophy prevails whenever the federal government is pushing all the buttons. We’re lucky everyone isn’t following the same formula. Nevertheless, we will see both successes and relative failures while restarting America. And we’ll learn from that.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis channeled our Founders when he wrote, “a state may……serve as a laboratory and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”  He popularized referring to states as “laboratories of democracy” which I’ve rephrased in the context of COVID-19 recovery. States are now serving as “laboratories of pandemic recovery.”

Scientists, economists, and social scientists will learn a lot from our states as “pandemic laboratories.” We’ll know a lot more about how and when we should come out of our caves, or maybe we’ll find out hiding in caves isn’t necessary. But right now, we’re not sure what we don’t know.

 

www.myslantonthings.com/

 

steve bakke small

 

Steve Bakke

Fort Myers

Saturday, 09 May 2020 08:04

How Long Can Biden Stay in His Basement?

Where Barack Obama achieved notoriety for "leading from behind," Joe Biden, these last two months, has been leading from the basement.

         

And, one must add, doing so quite successfully.

         

Since his rout of Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, Biden has led President Donald Trump in every national poll and, lately, opened up a lead in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida. One poll has him tied with Trump in Texas.

         

Last week, however, reality intruded. Biden was forced to defend himself against the lurid charge of ex-aide Tara Reade that, as a senator in 1993, he had groped and assaulted her inside the Capitol complex.

         

Why did Biden go public?

         

Because witnesses were coming forward to say Reade told them of Biden's misconduct years ago, and major media outlets began to give the charge credibility by moving the allegation onto Page One.

         

Media allies were signaling that they could not forever give Biden a pass on this, and he had to speak to the charges. Which is what Biden did Friday as he told MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski:

         

"This never happened ... and it's as simple as that."

         

With that flat denial, Biden put his credibility on the line -- in defense of his character. For one cannot equate what Reade claims Biden did with the reputation he has built over half a century as a decent and honorable man. Biden now has to persuade the nation this woman is deluded, wildly exaggerating, misremembering -- or is deliberately lying.

         

If "nothing happened," Biden must explain how well he knew Reade and why she left a plum job in the office of a U.S. senator after only nine months.

         

This is not a matter any presidential candidate wants to discuss while conducting his campaign. But this is only the beginning of Biden's problems -- and of his party's problems with Biden.

         

With four months left before his nomination in Milwaukee, and six months before the November election, there are still among Democrats gnawing concerns based on Biden's performance in the debates and primaries, and since, that he has lost the ability to articulate issues clearly and cogently, or to complete complex thoughts.

         

The worry is that he is suffering from mental decline and could be destroyed by Trump in a presidential debate. Biden forgets, mumbles, misspeaks, loses his train of thought and appears, at times, confused.

         

Moreover, Biden is no spring chicken. He would take office at 78, one year older than Ronald Reagan, our oldest president, was when he left office.

         

Biden has also signaled, by his references to being a "bridge" president, that he will be serving only the single term that would end in 2025 with him having celebrated his 82nd birthday.

         

"I view myself as a transition candidate," Biden conceded last week.

         

This makes his vice presidential choice crucial. For that individual would not only become president instantly should something happen to a President Biden, but he or she would also become the leader of the Democratic Party, the probable presidential nominee in 2024, and possibly president.

         

Who will Biden select as America's future leader, after him?

         

First rule: No white men need apply. Biden has ruled them out.

         

Indeed, no male candidate of any race or ethnicity need apply. The vice presidential nomination has been set aside for a woman.

         

A woman of color? Not necessarily.

         

But here Biden has another problem. It was a huge turnout among African Americans in South Carolina that rescued Biden's failing candidacy and propelled him to his Super Tuesday triumph three days later.

         

Should Biden choose Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as his running mate in a party that celebrates diversity above all, that all-white ticket would dismay and conceivably enrage the political elites of the black and Hispanic communities in the Democratic coalition.

         

If he chooses Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that ticket would also be all white. Moreover, it would point to a Democratic Party future far to the left of the constituencies that turned out in panic for Joe Biden because he was the last man standing athwart the forced march to the left of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.

         

If Biden chooses an African American like Stacey Abrams, who lost the Georgia governor's race in 2018, or Sen. Kamala Harris, who did poorly in the primaries and savaged Biden for his opposing forced busing to integrate public schools in the 1970s, would Democrats welcome either as the party's designated future leader?

         

Michelle Obama, as Biden wistfully says, would fit the bill perfectly.

         

But the former first lady is unavailable. And while Biden is mulling over his choice in his basement, Republicans will be attacking his character, credibility and mental competence. Before the fall campaign begins, they will have soiled his candidacy good.

         

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried," said Winston Churchill, after the British gave him "The Order of the Boot" in 1945.

         

Campaign 2020 may show us our own democracy at its worst.

patrick buchanan small         

Patrick J. Buchanan

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 18:33

Media relentless on Trump

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference Wednesday at 5pm ... He announced the details of Phase 1 of his plan for reopening Florida.

DeSantis said the reopening plan for the state will go into effect on Monday, May 4, but will not include counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach because advisors believe those counties are not ready for phase 1. 

DeSantis made the announcement a day after consulting with President Donald Trump and members of his coronavirus task force on Tuesday.

“We’re gonna approach it in a very measured, thoughtful and data-driven way and I think that’s what most of the folks throughout the state are looking for,” DeSantis said as he sat next to President Donald Trump.

Here's what phase 1 looks like for now... Gov. DeSantis said he would re-visit portions of this phase as time and new data give a clearer picture of the situation and adjust accordingly.

Reopening in Florida on May 4

Restaurants are allowed to reopen their indoor dining at a 25% capacity and their outdoor seating areas at 50%. Both indoor and outdoor seating must include six feet of space between tables.

Non essential retail stores will be allowed to re-open also with only 25% of capacity allowed inside stores.

 On the job, it’s likely that DeSantis will encourage employers to continue emphasizing remote working, while using social distancing among the returning workforce and suggested wearing mask in the workplace if space doesn't allow enough space for proper social distancing.

Elective surgeries are okay again.

Remaining closed

Bars, gyms and places where personal services are done, such as hair salons, will remain closed.

Schools remain closed and will continue distancing learning. Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited

          Are you enjoying your first taste of socialism? Life in America today is a sneak preview of life in Cuba or Venezuela. Democrats love it. This is the future they plan for you. The current economic catastrophe is exactly what America will look like if we institute the Green New Deal.

          The goal is to defeat climate change by killing your job, taking away your car, closing your business and turning America into Cuba or Venezuela.

          It's a progressive Democrat's rainy dream.

          And isn't it great? You don't need to go to work. Money magically appears in your bank account. Hopefully, you can live on $1,200 every six weeks for the rest of your life.

          You get to spend long days watching daytime talk shows and movies on Netflix -- you know, the things Democrats call a "typical day" for their voters.

          And think of the money you can save on gas by not going anywhere. Soon all those nasty, polluting, carbon-emitting vehicles will be just a memory of the past. How wonderful will it be to have time to "just think" as you wait hours for those new energy-efficient buses and subways?

          And, with all those nasty "nonessential" businesses closed, you'll have plenty of time to converse with your neighbors as you wait in line to see if anything is available for you to buy. It's socialist nirvana.

          So, please be honest with me: Are you enjoying your small taste of life in a socialist country? Are all these great benefits of socialism what you expected? You know, being told the business you spent your life building is nonessential and being forced to close; being stuck at home and not allowed to hold a job; having only the money your benevolent government decides you need; waiting in long supermarket lines only to see empty shelves; finding out toilet paper is now a valuable commodity; being told where you're allowed to go; being banned (in some states such as Michigan) from traveling to your second home; not being allowed to go to church; and having all your movements monitored and recorded.

          Having fun yet? Welcome to a test drive of socialist America.

          Democrats are just getting started. Soon they'll tell you whether you're allowed to enjoy yourself anymore. No more bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, bowling alleys. Oh, wait, that's already happened.

          But of course, liquor and marijuana stores are open. They're "essential." This is what Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been pushing for years. This is their rainy dream.

          In a truly socialist country, it is much worse. In a truly socialist country, your internet is tightly monitored; television is controlled by government; and all media is propaganda -- even a step worse than it is in America today. Although, The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are all trying hard to give socialist banana republics a run for their money.

          In a socialist country, as envisioned by today's Democratic Party, you will not have a car. Those will be reserved for party bosses like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Schumer and AOC. You will have to work in a state-assigned job. Doctors and janitors will make the same salary.

          There will be huge "advantages," according to the crazy socialists of the Democratic Party. Stores will be much smaller. And with the closure of all those greedy corporations, buying decisions will be much less confusing. The shelves will be empty anyway, so who will need all that space?

          And, to achieve a small carbon footprint, you will live in a tiny apartment and travel to work only on public transportation. But isn't that precisely why New York City is the worst coronavirus-infected area in the country? Half the country's dead are in one city. Oops, liberals forgot to mention that little problem.

          And toilet paper? There will never again be a shortage. The soft kind will only go to socialist politicians and government bureaucrats. The rest of us will do our part to save the planet by using biodegradable corn husks.

          I've saved the best for last. One hundred and ten percent of you will vote -- just like in many Democratic inner cities in the past few elections. There will always be more votes than registered voters. That's the way socialists like it. And, your ballot will show up in the mail. Don't worry if you don't receive it. The person sent by the government to pick it up will have extras. He or she will even help you fill it out. In a couple of years, it will get even easier, as there will be only one box to check.

          So, does your brief experience with socialism make you want to live like this always?

          As for me, if the choice is to be locked in my home, close my business and wait for the government to save me, or to face the remote risk of death from the coronavirus and keep living my life and earning a living for my family ... I'll risk my life and choose freedom every time.

          We are a nation of risk takers. We don't run and hide. We're all first responders. We face danger and live life. That's what made America the most exceptional nation and people in world history.

          If you don't like this test drive of socialism, I suggest we all start making our voices heard. Repeat after me: "OPEN THE ECONOMY. OPEN THE ECONOMY. OPEN THE ECONOMY."

          Finally ... since the slogan "Keep America Great" no longer applies to President Donald Trump's reelection after this catastrophe, let me suggest a new campaign slogan: "Make America Great Again, Part 2."

          Caps and T-shirts to follow.

The Lee County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to open all of its beaches, parking and bathrooms - including Fort Myers Beach. Starting Wednesday April 29th from dawn til dusk! 

 

Woooo Whooooo ... I'm catching a sunset tomorrow evening!

 

You can sun bathe, you do not need to wear a mask. All you need to do is adhere to proper social distancing.

Lee County Board Chairman Brian Hammon plans to call Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy and ask the council to get in line with the County plan.

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