No Blue State Bailouts: Hold Democrats Accountable for Democrats’ Policies

As red states like Georgia and Texas methodically are ending their lockdowns and opening their economies without the spikes in hospitalizations and deaths that were promised by the progressive doomsday prophets, blue state governors continue applying economic pain to their constituents without any convincing reason to do so.

If “flattening the curve” was indeed the objective in states like California, the objective was inarguably met long ago.  We could debate whether or not the lockdown was the reason for that outcome, but what is not up for legitimate debate is the fact that hospitals in California being overwhelmed never even came close to becoming a reality. 

How distant from reality is that possibility right now? So distant, in fact, that Sleep Train Arena, former home to the Sacramento Kings, was set up to handle the coming and unmanageable influx of Covid-19 patients, but as of May 6, just six Covid-19 patients were residing there.

Photo credit: CLopez63

At that precise moment, across Sacramento County, just 27 hospital beds were being used to treat Covid-19 patients. 

Why were there 6 patients in beds at Sleep Train Arena, rather than in the ample open beds in the California capital’s hospitals?  Well, perhaps that’s explained by the fact that the state government is paying the Sacramento Kings organization $500,000 a month for using the empty arena as an emergency medical facility, plus, of course, the required labor, food, and supply contracts. 

The truth, as Placer County Board of Supervisors representative Kirk Uhler reminds Gavin Newsom in an email, is that the Newsom’s “state of emergency declaration must be rescinded, because the conditions required for a state of emergency no longer exist” in the area around Sacramento, particularly. 

State law allows statewide emergency declarations by the Governor only if “local authority is inadequate to cope with the emergency.”  “Eight people in our hospitals,” Uhler says.  “668 bed capacity.  I think we’re able to cope with the emergency now, Governor.” 

Uhler’s video is in response to a threatening letter he received from the Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, which states:

I caution you, Kirk, that improvident rhetoric in your missive may jeopardize your county’s access to disaster relief and other funding meant to mitigate the effects of emergencies.

Uhler correctly observes that this is precisely the political strong-arming that should give Attorney General William Barr reason to investigate, because, as these are federal emergency dollars that he is threatening to withhold from American citizens, based upon a County supervisor’s “rhetoric,” this is clearly a violation of the First Amendment.

He also observes the irony in the Governor threatening to withhold disaster funds from his county, while he “just went hat-in-hand to the federal government saying that he and a few other states want one trillion dollars in bailout money.”

Newsom tweets:

NEW: Without federal support, states will be forced to make impossible decisions.

Today – CA, OR, WA, NV, CO, and our legislative leaders have joined together to ask the federal government for $1 trillion to protect our schools, public health, and public safety services.

To be clear, even before this coronavirus pandemic struck, California’s spending promises were a life-threatening problem.  Like a junkie needing a fix, California needs money to maintain its spending habit, and it’s willing to do anything to get it.  Anyone who can count knows that California is eventually going to need a bailout to keep spending in the manner its leadership has legislated in recent decades, with or without its recent loss of revenue.  But to get Congress to provide particularly crippled states, like California, with a trillion-dollar fiscal lifeboat, the economic pain must be tremendous and obvious to everyone.

This is why Newsom is doing everything possible to extend the economic pain in California, and using his goons to strong-arm local authorities that defy his supreme executive power by threatening to withhold federal relief funds that are, apparently, much more efficiently used on paying $500K a month to make sure six recovering Covid patients have an entire sports arena to house their beds. 

There is no longer a health emergency that warrants the crippling social and economic measures Newsom has instituted, but the crippling social and economic measures must be extended anyway to maintain perception that the current circumstances amount to a healthcare emergency, which warrants the federal dollars that he seeks to spend.

The Senate Republicans and President Trump should refuse to give in to his spending habit.  The Senate should segregate the spending on a state bailout from all other stimulus spending and debate it separately.  And if a trillion-dollar bailout somehow passes the Senate, President Trump should refuse to sign it.  After all, what would either have to gain by courting these perennial blue states?

Hopefully, the result of this would be that the voters in these blue states hold their leaders accountable for the financial mess they’re in, and maybe then their leaders will have a reason to clean up their fiscal houses, rather than punishing their own citizens with unnecessary and crippling “emergency declarations” in order to get more federal money.  But I’m not holding my breath.

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