Under Pandemic Lockdowns, the Rich Got Richer and the Poor Got Crushed
A Commentary By Stephen Moore
Today, two years after COVID-19 first hit these shores from China, most studies confirm that the heavy-handed government lockdowns of businesses, restaurants, schools, churches and parks did more harm than good to our health and well-being.
States and countries with strict and prolonged lockdown and stay-at-home orders had slightly better health outcomes, but they ruined their economies and had highly adverse effects on children.
If any good comes out of COVID-19, it should be that we've learned this lesson the hard way, and never, never again should we allow politicians to impose these unconstitutional lockdown orders again.
Now we have evidence of more collateral damage from lockdowns, and perhaps this will persuade even those on the far left who generally support the heavy hand of government.
Shutting down the economy hurt the poor the most and vastly widened the chasm between rich and poor. Lockdowns squashed small startup businesses, hurt low-income workers whose jobs were first in line to be destroyed and devastated educational advances of children in the worst school districts.
For example, we have learned that high-achieving children did fine with remote learning. However, those who scored below average in school performance or from low-income families without computer skills tended to tune out and shut down online lessons completely. We know from teachers that as many as one-third of children rarely, if ever, even turned on a computer during the lockdowns. The long-term educational setbacks for these children as they grow to adult age could be devastating.
Just who were the winners from lockdown nation? Let's start with the corporate titans: Walmart, Google, Amazon, Walgreens, Apple, McDonald's, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, etc. They were rewarded with the designation of "essential" by the politicians. Their doors stayed open. They raked in dollars by the millions.
You don't have to take my word for it. Here is a headline from MarketWatch earlier this month: "Big Tech's pandemic year produces mind-boggling financial results."
We learn that big businesses scored a "$1.4 trillion payday" during the pandemic. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft increased their profits by 45% last year. "Wow, bring back more pandemics!" they must be shouting around the boardroom table.
Then there was this nugget from the front page of the New York Times: "Wealth inequality is the highest since World War II." George Soros, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett won the lottery.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not a basher of Big Tech or Big Pharma. On the contrary, I love a rising stock market. If firms make great products or services that people want, hooray for capitalism. Everyone's better off.
But here, we see the hypocrisy of the left in the media come shining through. The left denounces inequality, but it embraces the policies that allow the uneven playing field.
When will the bleeding hearts learn this history lesson that keeps repeating itself like a skip on a vinyl record? Big government creates economic unfairness. It never solves it.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at Freedom Works. He is also author of the new book: "Govzilla: How The Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy." To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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