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Dictator Walz Gave No Consideration to Any Harms Before Issuing Extreme Lockdown Orders

By June 20, 2020June 22nd, 2020Commentary

I have pointed out for some time that it was apparent that our Dictator failed to do any analysis or have any modeling of what the economic, health, or social effects of his extreme shutdown orders would be.  We already knew this in part because the epidemic modelers used by the state said they didn’t make any effort to consider these impacts as part of the modeling.  Scott Johnson, a journalist at the Powerline blog, made a data practices act request on April 23 for “all economic data and economic analysis submitted to you” in regard to the executive orders, including “analysis of anticipated job losses”.  Scott finally got the response today and unfortunately it confirms our worst fears about the abysmal decision-making process used by the Dictator.

Only two documents were provided, both from the Department of Employment and Economic Development, each a relatively short memo.  These documents were accompanied by a memo from the Department, basically whining about how hard it was to do the analysis.  The Dictator first invoked his emergency powers and issued orders on March 13.  He was acting in a panicked and irrational manner, going along with the herd.  So what is the date of the first economic analysis he received?  Not until April 3, when the Department gave him a memo about the likely effects of either extending or not modifying his extreme lockdown.  I will go through the substance of the memos, which is frightening, in another post.  The second memo was given to the Dictator on April 17 and covers the same general ground, and is also horrifying in the job and business carnage it recounts.

What is important to emphasize today is that the Dictator either is lying about what analyses he had done and considered, which while lying doesn’t seem to trouble him, in this case it would be to his benefit to show more analyses, or he simply had no analysis done until we were over two weeks past the extreme lockdowns, and even then while constantly talking about balance, he completely ignored the warnings about the extensive harms being done.  And there is no comprehensive analysis about whether different variations of mitigation tactics might have differing levels of damage associated with them.  And note that for all the Dictator’s yammering about systemic racism and the need for equity, there was zero consideration of the impact on minority businesses or jobs, and those groups have been hurt the worst.

It will hard to get our media to pay any attention to this story and to criticize the Dictator’s decisionmaking, and it should be harshly condemned.  Each of you can help by making as many people as you can aware of  the facts.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Bob Easton says:

    Did Scott Johnson’s request go beyond economic impacts, to also ask about analysis of other health impacts? i.e. the cessation of elective care, deferred diagnostics, etc.

  • Harley says:

    Between Minnesota Revenue and DEED, you would have hoped someone would have raised some concerns about the economic impact of the shutdowns. Commissioner Grove gets some positive PR because he used to live in Silicon Valley and also worked for Google, but I certainly haven’t seen any insightful comments from him. (His experience seems to all be PR related, and no one from the local press seems confident enough to challenge him.)

    So, again, the MN unemployment fund runs dry next month and will shift the responsibility for funding over to the Feds (Grove: “This is a very common thing.”) And I have to believe the next Minnesota budget update will be stunning in terms of the size of the budget shortfall. Revenue has to be collapsing, with declining sales tax, income tax, gasoline tax, licensing, and other revenue streams. And probably no salary reductions or layoffs in the halls of government, so no need for a calculator or spreadsheet to anticipate a financial tsunami.

    The Dictator and his dream team of advisors are not going to have a good autumn.

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