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Daniel Henninger in the WSJ, by way of the Dan Proft show, points to the lasting harm of our supposedly national experts’ response to the Chinese virus. The show and Henninger’s column point to a New York City jazz club owner of some renown in the jazz community. Michael “Spike” Wilner writes a weekly e-mail letter posted online from the SmallsLIVE Foundation. Reading this letter surfaces a key issue that governors and local leaders across the country are failing to address, inflicting far more harm than necessary. The massive financial fissure created by government leaders’ edicts and failure to own the consequences of their edicts is unpaid debt: rent, lease, mortgage, and property tax.
Martha McSally, the rest of the Republican Senators up for reelection, and Mitch McConnell own this as well. They have the power to drive legislation that Democrats could not oppose. They can include immediate refundable tax credits for all rent, lease, mortgage, and property tax forgiveness. Instead, they are printing money to paper around the edges of this financial fissure.
Here is the relevant portion of the SmallsLIVE Foundation newsletter [emphasis added]:
The SmallsLIVE Foundation Newsletter
I’ve made one rule for myself over the years in regards to my newsletters – nothing snarky and always say something positive about the music and the scene. But it’s getting harder for me to keep that credo. I’m not worried about being snarky but I am worried about getting dark. New York City is like the New York of Bizzaro World or Kamazotz from “A Wrinkle In Time”. It’s hard to describe but the feeling is gone, the vibe absent. The thing that made New York, New York is missing. What’s it like now? It’s very tense. People are very anxious and angry. Everything is closed or, if open, listless. There is no nightlife. If you leave your apartment after 9PM it’s a complete ghost town inhabited wraiths and zombies, dangerous people. Some restaurants have built elaborate outdoor terraces to take advantage of the governor’s rule that people can eat outside (but not inside, bars and restaurants have been indefinitely closed even past phase 4) so in certain parts of town you have a mob of folks partying outside, like a street fair. Other folks keep their masks tightly on and live in fear. The only place I’ve found some civility and warmth is the city playgrounds where I take my daughter each day. The children are oblivious to the pandemic and just play and climb. The parents and caregivers that are there are grateful to chat a little and try to feel normal.
The big failure in my opinion is how the city and state left all the small businesses high and dry, particularly the service industry and the arts. The loans were ineffective. The so-called PPP loans were only good for eight weeks and now all that money is gone. Maybe some of that debt can be forgiven but we are still closed with no end in sight. How are we supposed to float through this? The land lords are unequivocal in demanding rent even though we have been shut for 150 days. To make matters worse, the property taxes are being levied. In New York City, most business leases impose that the leasee pays the property taxes of the landlord. Smalls was just issued a $25k tax bill on property that has been closed for 4 months. This is the case for hundreds and hundreds of businesses, many in the process of folding. We have yet to really assess the carnage to the New York scene but I think when the dust settles it’s not going to be pretty.
I previously noted that Arizona Governor Ducey and the Arizona Republican Party that controls the state legislature have deliberately avoided abating property tax, which came due in the midst of the governor and city leader ordered shut-downs. While Ducey and the mayors and councils have kept their knees on the necks of small businesses, they have utterly failed to take actions entirely within their authority to mitigate the great and lasting harm they are doing to the tax-paying, voting citizens of Arizona. This gross negligence is compounded by the U.S. Congress, including appointed Senator Martha “I was an A-10 pilot” McSally.
Mitch McConnell and the Chamber of Commerce caucus that is Congressional Republican’t leadership, are on their fourth iteration of supposed relief and mitigation money-printing. However, they have never once even debated the essential component of debt relief. It is not that they do not know of the problem, after all, Martha McSally got that issue directly from me. It is simply that they, including Governor Doug Ducey’s appointed Senator McSally, have chosen to ignore the crushing debt their actions and inactions are piling up upon the American people.
Who benefits? The answer is obvious: U.S. Chamber of Commerce members, the biggest of businesses, the Democrat left and their Republican’t pets. Amazon and Walmart are directly benefiting from government orders destroying small businesses. Local restaurants will be replaced by national chain restaurants, as the only ones big enough to rebuild and to demand government favors at every level.Published in