This year there will be great pressure put on politicians and health care officials to extend lockdowns in an effort to curtail the health impact of the pandemic. In past commentaries I have talked about the devastating social and economic impact the lockdowns have had. They also have been a major factor in widening the gap between rich and poor.
Stephen Moore, in a recent column, reminds us that “Democrats and liberal economic advisers obsess about income inequality.” Many of the policy pronouncements we will see in 2021 will be justified morally as a way to reduce the gap between rich and poor. But the biggest driver in widening the income gap has been the lockdowns.
The president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition argues that “the majority of the up to 17 million households at risk of losing their homes this winter are people of color.” Another survey found that minorities and the poor have “been more vulnerable to job and income losses from the ensuing economic crisis, in large part because Black and Latino workers are over-represented in the service industries wiped out by shutdowns.”
Meanwhile one of the richest men on the planet, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, makes $321 million every day. He has also complained about how lockdowns exacerbate inequality but it is also worth mentioning that “Amazon has been the world’s biggest beneficiary from locking down brick-and-mortar stores.”
Who is pushing these lockdowns? The New York Times listed the ten states with the strictest lockdown orders (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington). What do they have in common? They all have Democratic governors.
People who can work from home along with people who are guaranteed a steady income aren’t adversely affected by lockdowns. But lockdowns are crushing people on the lower income scale and who aren’t going to benefit much from a small government check.