Reopening America is going to bring a reckoning
Yesterday's headlines about John's Hopkins, not yet quashed and canceled, are that COVID will be "over" by April. That is alarming news for our California government, I'm sure, and for the other blue states that are still tightly shut down.
When our Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome governmental obstruction of life is forced into retirement, we'll finally see the serious problems it caused, and there won't be any way to hide. I think that's why politicians are so reluctant to let go.
What will happen when we finally take the masks off and move freely? It will become obvious that many of the empty storefronts and restaurant spaces are not coming back to life. The news about the number of once thriving businesses that are now permanently closed will be unavoidable.
You can't shove it under the rug when it glares back at you. This will reflect badly on those who thought to cure COVID by destroying our livelihoods. It is going to go deep, too, affecting not just storefront businesses, but the ones you don't see publicly.
I spent nearly 50 years in the non-restaurant-based food business, and I know of only a few caterers, event planners, etc. who have weathered this mess. They managed only by grit and perseverance. Without events, the failures run deep.
Besides the caterers who had no events, think of the venues that hosted weddings and conventions that have been idled for a year, then add in the rental equipment companies that brought the linens, glassware, and china. They can't all have survived. And then there are the small photographers, florists, videographers, and event planners. The wholesale food suppliers may have fared a bit better, but from what I can see, a lot of them are probably gone, too.
That's just one example. There are more, across every aspect of our economy. There is a depth of field in each market segment, and, like an arrangement of dominoes, they will be shown to be among the fallen. Our economy has been devastated, and it's going to take years to bring it back.
The large online retailers have managed to solidify their monopoly over local retail. For example, at the hardware store last week, I looked for storage lids for canning jars. I use the jars to store a lot of things and hate having those two-part canning lids to deal with. Said the storekeeper, "I haven't been able to get those for the last 6 months." Yet go to Amazon, and you can get them in black or multi-color.
A few months ago, I went to the pharmacy to find some of the no-preservative eye drops I use. After driving to three and finding nearly bare shelves, I gave up and, again, ordered on Amazon.
These businesses are mostly parts of chains — Ace Hardware, Rite-Aid, and the like — yet they can't get the products anymore. When they place orders for stock, they can afford only best sellers. No doubt there will be failures ahead, especially in the pharmacy industry. Building and repair will save the hardware stores.
The people who worked in closed and failed businesses have been surviving on unemployment benefits. Once we finally reopen, can those be kept up? Where will the jobs be?
Not everyone can install solar panels, even though our municipalities have been busy passing green-weenie REACH code legislation that dictates such things as solar roof "upgrades" to add on, mandatorily, any time a homeowner applies for a permit for a home improvement project. Don't get me started on the insanity of these codes — things such as outlawing gas lines in new construction. My head might just blow up. That's what they've done, of course, starting in Berkeley, and it's spread like wildfire in the Bay Area.
Another strong motivator to stay shut down as long as possible will be the elderly population that has been warehoused, away from family, in nursing homes. When visitors can again be admitted, there's going to be plenty of horror stories. I'm sure that there have been many homes that treated our seniors exemplarily, but that's just not realistic to expect, across the board.
When my father-in-law was in a very well regarded facility ten years ago, we found that he was being neglected and abused. We knew immediately, because he told us when we visited, and we saw the bruises and abrasions.
Sadly, such goings-on are commonplace even in the best facilities. In locked down states, that activity has been hidden for a year, and the abusers haven't faced any accountability. What can you see on a FaceTime call with someone who's not completely competent mentally or physically? If someone is in one of those facilities, it is for a reason. It's going to get ugly, and the newsreaders won't be able to ignore all such stories.
My predictions are based on sound theory; they may not come true. Nevertheless, I believe what am saying.