Opinion | Kim McGahey: A damaged economy has human costs, too
Conservative Common Sense
She is 34 years old and works waiting tables at one of the best burger joints in town. Luckily, she’s still employed, but only for takeout orders — cutting her tips in half. Her husband, 36, is a recently laid-off bartender at one of the white tablecloth restaurants.
They have two little girls who attend Breckenridge Elementary but are now at home since schools are shut down for in-person learning. They rent a small, two-bedroom house in town, but with the layoff, they are several months behind on rent, putting their struggling landlord in a tight spot making his monthly mortgage payment.
Because of the local restaurant shutdown, they are forced to consider moving back to Iowa City to work on her dad’s farm that is still receiving federal ethanol subsidies and managing to stay afloat. But that reality would puncture their dream of raising a family in the Colorado High Country and send them back to the Midwest in defeat.
Meanwhile, across town, a 62-year-old woman drives her silver Mercedes with the “Joe and Kamala” bumper sticker into her three-car garage in The Highlands house she got in the divorce settlement. Her unemployed 26-year-old son poaches the basement apartment and lives off the bank of mom and dad.
That bank account is not as flush this year since urban unrest in Seattle has significantly reduced income from the family rental properties. The attorney father is considering the sale of the Breckenridge house in order to stop the bleeding if national politics take a turn for the worse.
All of these characters voted a straight Democratic ballot because they hate Donald Trump and were told that Democrats support workers and the environment. The booming economy of the previous few years was really an Barack Obama legacy. Besides, a prosperous Colorado ski town like Summit County would always be a cash cow and never have an economic downturn. What could go wrong?
One-party rule (and not the right party) in Summit County is what went wrong. A liberal governor, followed by liberal county commissioners, has pulled the economic plug on Summit County, leaving restaurants and other small businesses to die on the vine. These locals haven’t connected the dots of who they vote for and the public policies they get in return.
The experts told us we needed two weeks to flatten the curve. Now nine months later, the human wreckage continues to pile up as business owners, their employees and related community investors languish.
There is no available science that justifies this human economic suffering. Business owners need to be outspoken in demanding that their restaurants be open with more civil disobedience and less social distance.
Second-home owners and locals are lamenting their lack of freedom and respect from what once was a fun, laid-back, easygoing ski town. Now they suffer under the sheriff’s snitch line. They are forced to ski only when the governor says so. They are deprived of the famous apres-ski ambiance, not to mention rental income, that has made Summit County the preferred ski destination of many generations. There are even some misguided individuals in our community clamoring for the total shutdown of the ski areas!
All of this unnecessary personal hardship far outweighs the flimsy medical evidence propped up by progressive politicians, their public health minions and the complicit liberal media. Netflix, Amazon and Walmart are making billions in profits while our local servers and bartenders are packing the pickup and heading downhill away from their dreams.
Progressive Colorado policymakers do not acknowledge that lockdowns are ineffective and harmful. They insist that individuals cannot take adequate precautions without government coercion.
Florida has been open for business since March under Republican Gov. Ron Desantis. Even with one of the nation’s largest senior populations, they have enjoyed a prosperity and limited health risk that Colorado can only envy.
Thanksgiving was canceled here — and it looks like Christmas might be, too — all without the justification of accurate empirical data. Baseless, misinformed, one-size-fits-all policies don’t work and only serve to kill the golden goose in Summit County.
Let’s not have unhappy Silent Nights in local homes around the county this Christmas season. Open the restaurants, schools and churches for cheerful holidays!
Kim McGahey’s column “Conservative Common Sense” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. McGahey is a real estate broker, tea party activist and Republican candidate. He has lived in Breckenridge since 1978. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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