8. Institutions Matter: My Time At The White House
Families and fiscal rules are needed more than ever as noted in my podcast interview about my time at the White House and more.
I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving however you chose to celebrate it. I had a nice time with my family from Houston at our place in Round Rock and then a nice time with my in-laws in Port Aransas, which is on the beach near Corpus Christi, Texas. The picture below is of my youngest son playing in the water.
It’s been an interesting time that’s normally spent with family. But many have decided not to do so, which is a decision that should be left to individuals instead of politicians trying to tell people how to act.
One thing that I’ve been concerned about is missing time with my family and friends and never seeing them again—for many reasons. The COVID-19 situation is serious and one that should be taken seriously, as noted in my previous newsletter, but it is also a situation where I have taken time to grow closer to God, family, and friends when so much else seems to be uncertain. This has given me calm during this storm as I know that these relationships are what matter over time while the novel coronavirus is just a blip in the long run scheme of things.
Of course, the repercussions of authoritarian forms of government interventions may last much longer, which is something that we must continue to push back on when necessary.
To be frank, I think we should open Texas and all states, as the shutdowns were a mistake, and instead do what should have been done in the beginning and have the government play an informational role to provide guidance on best practices while targeting resources to vulnerable populations and areas as I outlined in a recent commentary at the Austin American-Statesman. I say this with a great deal of humility as there are many factors that go into making these decisions and I understand that I could be wrong. But I also believe strongly in the power of liberty and allowing individuals, families, and entrepreneurs in an inclusive institutional framework (like the Texas Model) to find the best path to dealing with these sorts of crises rather than the government.
I discuss this and more during my latest interview with George Saey on his new podcast. Please listen here:
With that said, thank you for reading this Let People Prosper newsletter. Please keep sharing it with others who may be interested in our productive discussions. May you have a great weekend and week while being blessed with good health, prosperity, and wisdom every day.
Here are a few updates that I’d like to share on the COVID-19 situation in Texas, the fiscal and economic situations in Texas and the U.S., and more.
OPEN TEXAS AND AMERICA
Overview of COVID-19 in Texas: There’s an improving picture in many areas of Texas but there remain challenges ahead as cases are elevated and fatalities could continue rising though at a slower rate than during the summer. The DFW area is now on the more restricted list after 7 consecutive days above 15% of COVID hospitalizations as a share of total hospital capacity, though it has moved below 15% today.
After a brief decline in COVID cases during the week of Thanksgiving, the 7-day trend is up again to about 12K, with today’s new cases of 11,672. Daily new fatalities were reported of 247 today with some going back several days based on which day was reported on death certificates, as this will likely continue to rise.
There remains increased hospital capacity available across most of the state’s TSAs with every TSA having at least 10% available, except in TSA T (Laredo) with 7.4%. Testing remains on average over 100K per day and the positivity rate remains elevated.
The case-fatality rate looks to have declined since the highs during the summer highs as there are indications of improvements in therapeutics, younger and healthier population infected, and better utilization of hospital resources to care for patients.
While debatable, improvements could be from a more targeted, timely, and temporary policy approach since moving to TSAs and sending resources where needed most by Governor Abbott.
Texas Governor Abbott Metric Overview:
Per GA’s metric of CV19 hospitalizations/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.
TSA A (Amarillo), TSA B (Lubbock), TSA E (Dallas/Ft. Worth—New), I (El Paso), J (Midland/Odessa), M (Waco), and TSA T (Laredo) are reported on the list of further restrictions, so 37% of Texans are at 50% capacity + other restrictions while 63% of Texans are at 75% capacity + other restrictions.
This metric is declining some statewide but remains well below the 17.0% average for July.
Hospital Overview Statewide:
COVID-19 hospitalizations up 3.7% (to 8,916) from 7 days ago and up 8.7% from 14 days ago, the level is below the 9,713 average for July
Available beds as a share of staffed inpatient beds are down to 19.1%, below the 21.7% average for July
Available beds down 13.7% (to 11,848) from 7 days ago and up 2.5% from 14 days ago, the level is below the 11,926 average for July
Occupied beds up 12.2% (to 50,048) from 7 days ago and down 1.8% from 14 days ago, the level is above the 43,397 average for July
Staffed inpatient beds up 6.1% (to 61,896) from 7 days ago and down 1.0% from 14 days ago, the level is above the 55,323 average for July
Here’s my latest oped on why Texas shouldn’t lockdown:
This rant by Rick Santelli should help to provide a reason for another push against a big government like his rant in 2009 that helped start the Tea Party movement.
Rex Chapman🏇🏼 @RexChapmanThings escalated quickly on CNBC this morning. This is fantastic...https://t.co/BMlluNDhE5
Keynesianism should be dead but it keeps rearing its ugly head. Here why:
TEXAS ECONOMIC AND FISCAL SITUATION
It’s been a busy couple of weeks in Texas. Here are a few of the key issues that I’ve highlighted that you should be interested in. Be sure to click on these tweets to see the full thread for more information.
The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) in Texas recently met to discuss the economic situation and the state’s spending limit. Here’s more in this thread:
Glenn Hegar @Glenn_HegarToday I will update the LBB on crucial data needed for lawmakers as they begin the work of the upcoming legislative session. #txlege Find more info and how to watch here https://t.co/cGMnseZssV
The LBB recently determined the state’s spending limit for the upcoming 2022-23 budget. Here’s a good thread with an overview:
Sin taxes like the carbon tax and marijuana tax are really just social engineering instead of ways to support more economic growth. More here in my interview:
Shutdowns are hurting families hard:
U.S. ECONOMIC AND FISCAL SITUATION
Here’s my overview on the U.S. jobs report:
Vance Ginn @VanceGinn#JobsReport: Job creation slowed in Nov, well below expectations. Payroll jobs in private sector were ⬆️344,000. Unrate is ⬇️8 % pts from April high but 3.2 % pts higher than Feb. Unemployed, at 10.7M, trends down in Nov but is 4.9M higher than Feb. @WSJ graphics below. https://t.co/rKvdW12HoA https://t.co/CNt10laX8X
Need for sound fiscal policy:
Elizabeth Warren @ewarrenCanceling student loan debt would put money back in people’s pockets. That’s money they can spend to support local small businesses, or even start their own. That’s money they can use to save up for a home. That’s money that can boost our whole economy.
Check out this thread for an overview of the progressive economic and policy team put forward by Biden:
Paul Krugman @paulkrugmanI'm very happy with every name I'm hearing. The contrast with the Trump creatures is, of course, overwhelming. But pretty strong contrast even with Obama 1/ https://t.co/JERLNDUCkm
Here’s my quote that has really been on my mind recently as I continue to find ways to reduce the size and scope of government by implementing fiscal rules that limit government spending.
And finally, it was sad to hear that the free market economist Walter Williams passed this week. Here is my quote along with a press release by TPPF:
Thanks again for reading! I hope this newsletter is marginally beneficial to you and will hopefully help us to find opportunities to let people prosper.
Vance Ginn, Ph.D. | www.vanceginn.com | #LetPeopleProsper