Study on COVID19 lockdowns, Punting BBB, What I'm watching and reading.
1) The Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), where I work, has released a new report linking the number of jobs lost in a given state with how severely that state shut down its economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, entitled “State Pandemic Response:Understanding the Impact On Employment & Work,” also found that states that imposed more draconian economic shutdowns continue to feel severe job losses even to today.
The study showed a statistically significant correlation between how severe state governmental actions were in shutting down their economies and negative impacts on employment more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began in America. This was the case even after controlling for local variables, such as a state’s dependence on tourism or agriculture, population density, and the prevalence of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
The research also found no correlations between the severity of government shutdowns and the rate of reported COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths. This indicates that more severe actions failed to prevent more deaths or severe infections requiring hospitalizations.
Buzz’s Thoughts: We at GCO hope this study helps Elected Officials and policy makers make better decisions when faced with another pandemic, which may come soon, as Omicron spread.
2) Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is one of several Georgia politicians to have written a book detailing his thoughts in the 2020 election. He was on The Dispatch Podcast with Sarah Isgur and Steve Hayes talking about integrity. Give it a listen.
Buzz’s Thoughts: Raffensperger faces a tough primary challenge, and then a tough Democratic opponent in Georgia. He appears to be taking an unconventional approach to campaigning. We’ll see if it works.
3) Punting Build Back Better to 2022? It seems like BBB will be punted to the new year, which makes sense because they don’t seem to have the votes to pass it as it presently exists. Meanwhile, another article from another learned scholar explains the dangers of this bill:
The dangers from the bipartisan abandonment of fiscal restraint are real. America has never borrowed during peacetime as it is doing so now, and it is inconceivable that continuing down this path indefinitely would have no consequences. For one thing, if the federal government piles up debt as now projected, it is unlikely the U.S. dollar would retain its status as the world’s reserve currency, with all that would imply for borrowing costs and diminished global leadership.
But instead of assembling a gradual plan to avoid such a catastrophe, the nation’s leaders are preoccupied with adding more to the federal government’s benefit commitments.
Buzz’s Thoughts: The problems with and for BBB continue to mount. Hopefully 2022 brings an end to this legislation.
4) Job market problems continue. Allison Schrager writes that while the job market is rebounding, but as is common after recessions, some people don’t return to work.
After each recession many leave the labor force and don't come back, even men who are years away from retirement age. This suggests a long-running structural change that recessions escalate. During the height of the pandemic many people lost their jobs. But more than a year into the recovery, the share of men woking remains more than two percentage points below its pre-pandemic level. If the future is like the past, employment may never recover.
Buzz’s Thoughts: The pandemic has brought attention to many problems long ignored. The decline in America’s labor force participation rate over the past twenty or so years is one issue we must look at urgently.
5) What I’m Watching: Season 2 of “Tiger King” is almost as crazy and outrageous as season 1. “Hawkeye” is fun, but the musical about Steve Rogers teased in the trailer wasn’t as exciting as it sounds. I’ve started, but haven’t finished “Get Back” is long but enjoyable, especially if you enjoy watching how creative people create great art.
6) What I’m Reading: Mollie Hemingway’s “Rigged” isn’t really about the election being stolen, but more about how Democrats are much better than Republicans at winning court cases to allow election activities that they can then capitalize on. “Betrayal” by Jonathan Karl documents some really crazy things that happened during Trump’s last year in office. Jason Riley’s “Maverick” is a must read account of the professional life of economist Thomas Sowell.