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Opinion | Susan Knopf: Pandemic of idiocy

Susan Knopf
For The Record
Susan Knopf

Do you feel like ranting? I sure do!

How about that congressman who thinks he tested positive for COVID-19 because he started wearing a mask? Or as Greenwood Village would say, “WTF,” wear the face mask.

There’s a good reason I don’t live in Texas anymore. Ann Richards and Molly Ivins are dead, and they took LBJ’s Texas with them.

Dear Texans:

Please don’t send Louis Gohmert back to Congress. He’s just too dumb for this job. We need smart people in Congress.

Yours truly, Susan Knopf

P.S. My momma was born in Cisco, Texas.

I’m starting to feel better now.

And Trump. I dream of a week in which he puts only one foot in his mouth. Calling his most sycophantic medical adviser pathetic. Does he own a mirror? Poor scarf-adorned Dr. Deborah Birx. Was there ever a person in Trump’s inner circle who worked harder to bite her lip and attempt to tow the Trump line?

Sorry, Mr. President, but Dr. Birx is right. For the record, we have the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. ranks fourth highest globally in COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 of population. We’re behind Peru and Chile.

Full disclosure, England is ranked No. 1 for the highest mortality rate in the world, and the U.K. is ranked the 18th best health care system in the world, according to ID Medical. The U.S. wasn’t included in the analysis because we are the only Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country that doesn’t have a universal health care system.

According to Fortune magazine, there is a little problem with the U.K.’s statistics. Apparently if you had COVID-19 in April, recovered and got hit by a bus in June, that’s counted as a COVID-19 death.

Meanwhile, the kids and the parents are anxious for school to start, and many are anxious to keep kids home safe and protected. Maybe instead of trying to make school facilities accommodate children and social distancing, we should try to teach virtually. I don’t think it’s fair to judge the efforts of last spring and imagine that’s the best virtual school can be.

Public schools are late coming to online learning even though it’s been around for decades. What is clear is the traditional classroom simply dumped into a virtual setting is not the best use of the medium nor adequately addresses kids’ needs.

If we want to stop the spread of COVID-19 and meet students’ needs, we need to adapt to the current reality. Summit School District appears to be trying to do that. We all wish success for the district’s plan, which likely will face many challenges.

We need to support the changes. We need to support putting appropriate technology in every student’s hands, so we can keep all our students safe. We have to be prepared for innovations in what a school day looks like and how the work is accomplished.

And the biggest question everyone is asking this week: What is the latest edition of the CARES package going to look like? The unpopular fact is giving people money to stay home is not working. I know local businesses that were having difficulty staffing because people were making more money off the CARES Act than they did working. So why work? (Andrew Yang take note.)

I think it’s time to move the economic burden to the shoulders of those who can best bear the burden. If you can present proof that you can’t get a job, much like you would for unemployment, then you can’t be evicted for failure to pay rent or your mortgage. By the same token, the mortgage company or landlord would seek relief from their creditors, including property tax relief. Let’s move big expense burdens up the economic ladder to those who can afford it.

Failure to collect tax revenue will place a big burden on government-delivered services: police, fire, public works, schools and possibly health care. So much of our aid will need to go there to fill in shortfalls and increased COVID-19 related expenses.

The fact is, if you pay people to stay home, there’s no incentive to work or to retrain for new opportunities. Let’s hope the next program helps us instead of putting fat checks in the hands of profitable big businesses.

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.


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