Increase Competition to Mitigate Politics
In this newsletter, I share my thoughts on the recent events in DC, the upcoming legislative session in Texas, the increased harm to families from government lockdowns, and the need for competition.
This last week has been extraordinary in many respects. I continue to pray for the stability of our Republic and that God will continue to bless us while there is much bickering among people. May we find our hope in Christ to overcome these earthly obstacles so that we can find more opportunities to let people prosper.
While I have much to say about the recent terrible events, I think my tweet summed up my view nicely:
There will likely be more political theater this week. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of this theater and am ready to get back to trying to help improve the well-being of people. If you’re like me, take a reprieve from this nauseating show and join TPPF and me at my favorite event each year: 2021 Policy Orientation happening Jan. 13-15. It’s an incredible event that will not only include top panelists from across the nation to discuss key policy reforms in Texas but it will provide valuable insights to taxpayers, entrepreneurs, families, and policymakers in other states and in D.C. on what can be done to reduce government barriers to improve human flourishing. You can register at no charge for the Livestream here:
I’ll lead panels on the Texas budget and property taxes, so check the lineup to at least watch those. Now let’s jump into the latest info to catch you up.
OPEN TEXAS AND AMERICA
Summary of COVID-19 Situation in Texas
As of Jan. 10, 18 of 22 Trauma Service Areas (TSA) are on the Governor’s list for elevated restrictions as business operating capacity is reduced from 75% to 50% that includes 95% of Texans
As of Jan. 9, the 7-day moving average of new COVID-19 is on the rise again to 90% above the July highs
As of Dec. 27, the latest data for the 7-day average of reported fatalities show it’s 36% below the July highs while new cases were near the same as those highs
21.9% of hospital beds are available statewide, which is down some recently and is below the 26% average since May but above the low of 19% in July
Based on these data and others below, there are valid concerns about the Governor’s metric of COVID-19 patients/total hospital beds instead of available beds/total hospital beds as beds have increased over time by targeting resources where needed most, and about the continued mistake of blanket restrictions across the state which increase costs to the lives and livelihoods of Texans
Overview of COVID-19 in Texas
7-day average of new confirmed cases in Texas is up to a record high of 18.9K on Jan. 9, with the highest new dailies of 26,990 on Dec. 29 and of 26,543 on Jan. 5—likely from more people congregating over Christmas and New Year’s
7-day average of new reported fatalities in Texas on Dec. 27 (latest data available) was 157—more recorded death certificates to come, which have increased the 7-day average to near 200 in early Dec
7-day averages of cases remain well above the highs in July (18.9K v 10K) while fatalities remain well below their highs then (250 vs. 157), meaning the case-fatality rate has so far been substantially lower now than the highs of July
There remains a relatively high rate of hospital beds available across most of the state with every TSA having at least 12.5% available—21.9% available statewide
7-day average of testing is 100K per day and the positivity rate remains elevated though is trending down after peaking on 1/3 which is near the July high
While debatable, improvements in the case fatality rate could be from better therapeutics, younger and healthier population infected, better utilization of hospital resources, and Governor Abbott’s more targeted policy approach
Texas Governor Abbott’s Metric Overview
Per Governor Abbott’s metric of COVID-19 hospitalizations as a share of total hospital capacity for seven consecutive days, TSAs below 15% can have most businesses expand to 75% capacity, keep state mask mandate, and bars (and others) open to 50% capacity with the approval of the county’s judge
18 of 22 TSAs are reported on the list of further restrictions: A (Amarillo), B (Lubbock), D (Abilene), E (Dallas/Ft. Worth), F (Paris), G (Longview/Tyler), H (Lufkin), I (El Paso), L (Belton/Killeen), M (Waco), N (Bryan/College Station), O (Austin), P (San Antonio), Q (Houston), R (Galveston), S (Victoria), T (Laredo), and V (Rio Grande Valley
95% of Texans are at 50% capacity + other restrictions while 5% of Texans are at 75% capacity + other restrictions
This CV19-to-capacity metric statewide has been rising recently statewide since mid-Oct. to 22.5%, which is above July’s 17.0% average
Hospital Overview Statewide
COVID-19 hospitalizations up 4.4% (to 13,111 hospitalizations—lowest since 1/3) from 7 days ago & up 20.4% from 14 days ago, level is above July’s 9,700 average
Hospital beds available statewide is down to 21.9%, remains near the average of 23.7% in July and the average of 26% since May
Hospital capacity down 10.1% (to 58,144 beds—likely short term dip) from 7 days ago and down 8.9% from 14 days ago, level is above July’s 57,000 average
TEXAS ECONOMIC AND FISCAL SITUATION
The Texas Legislature starts the 2021 Legislative Session on Jan. 12. The latest Ginn Economic Brief Explains notes what legislators should consider as many Texas families and entrepreneurs are struggling from shutdowns by governments.
Monday, 1/11, at 10 am CT the Texas Comptroller will be releasing the Biennial Revenue Estimate. Here’s what you’ll want to know:
Texas Comptroller @txcomptrollerLess than 24 hours to go, but who’s counting? #BREMonday https://t.co/EwbN2ServL
Regarding the Conservative Texas Budget, I’m proud of the work that the Frontier Institute is doing with their own Conservative Montana Budget, which I’ve been advising them on. My hope is that we could have this strategy in every state and at the federal level soon so that taxpayers across the nation are burdened less by excessive government spending of our money.
Kendall Cotton @Cotton_MTHuge thanks to @VanceGinn and @TPPF for assisting @FrontierMontana with this budget analysis 👍
And there’s more that we should be doing in Texas!
Greg Abbott @GregAbbott_TXTax friendly Texas could see even more growth in 2021. Some are predicting 2021 could be the Lone Star State's best year yet for businesses and individuals. I agree. The Texas economy & jobs growth will see rapid expansion this year. https://t.co/Q6r1KaLBPC via @ktbs
U.S. ECONOMIC AND FISCAL SITUATION
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the worst U.S. jobs report since April during the dark days of severe lockdowns by governments in a response to the COVID-19 pandemic as many states are resorting to the same flawed measures.
A more inclusive institutional framework works to reduce poverty. But there’s much more to do.
The points made by Chicago economist Casey Mulligan (formerly at CEA where we overlapped very briefly during my time at OMB) of the improvements made to the economic institutions, especially deregulation, tax reforms, and energy independence, proved the stagnations wrong.
What to do about Big Tech?
And increased competition has been proven to best help people!
Two things happened this week that really helped make my week.
1) The Texas Capitol opened to visitors on Jan. 4! I visited for the first time in almost two years.
2) It actually snowed in Central Texas!
Let me leave you with a quote from one of my favorite founding fathers and presidents:
Thanks again for reading! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, please register here at no charge and share with others. Many blessings to you and yours.
Vance Ginn, Ph.D. | www.vanceginn.com | #LetPeopleProsper