Peace of Mind: Open Texas (& America)

Governments should get back to preserving liberty.

Hello Friends!

I hope you've had a blessed week. There's quite a bit to report in this newsletter. Please be sure to share this write-up with others who may be interested and ask them to sign-up for the newsletter. 

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy a quick overview of sound fiscal policy and free-market economics from yours truly. 

Latest Ginn Economic Brief provides the Texas economic situation

  • The Texas economy is recovering, but there’s much room for improvement. The Texas Workforce Commission recently released the Texas jobs report for August 2020. While there have been improvements in the state’s labor market, there are challenges to return to the robust situation of February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns by state and local governments. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis recently reported that in Texas in the second quarter of 2020 on an annualized basis GDP growth declined by 29% and personal income increased by 34.1%.

  • Read the full brief to get more details and recommendations for how to overcome these challenges in Texas and beyond. 

COVID-19 Update in Texas

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently issued a new Executive Order that goes into effect on 10/14. It seems to have changed the metric used from COVID-19 patients hospitalized as a share of “all hospitalized patients” (EO on 9/17) to a share of “total hospital capacity” (EO on 10/7). If true, and I assume it is in my analysis and table below, then this could be the same metric of total staffed beds that we at TPPF have been suggesting. However, the Governor’s EO still uses the seven consecutive days per TSA below 15% as the criteria to reduce restrictions whereas TPPF uses the 14-day moving average per TSA below 7% as the elimination of restrictions criteria to smooth out short-run fluctuations. 

  • According to the new EO, TSAs with seven consecutive days of this metric 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 judge). The main change here would be the change in the denominator to total staffed beds which means that only TSA T (Laredo) would be over the threshold, so 99% of Texans would be at 75% capacity plus restrictions.

  • Per TPPF’s metric, there would be 10 TSAs that would be above 7% so they could be at 75% capacity while the other 12 TSAs with 78% of Texans would eliminate all restrictions and be fully free (100% capacity, no mask mandate, bars open) as of Friday 10/2 (use Fridays as the examination day to prepare for changes in restrictions on the following Monday to reduce uncertainty in business activity and consumer behavior).

  • GA Metric Overview with Executive Order on 10/7 for 10/7:

    • TSA T (Laredo) is the only TSA above 15% and has been above 17% since 7/1 but is down from a recent high of 20.9% on 10/2

    • Statewide essentially flat since 9/11 and down since before then

  • Alternative Metric Overview for 10/7:

    • TSA B (Lubbock), TSA F (Paris), TSA H (Lufkin), & TSA I (El Paso) are trending up and remain above 7%

  • TSA F (Paris), TSA G (Longview/Tyler), TSA M (Waco), & TSA R (Galveston) are stabilizing but remain above 7%

  • TSA S (Victoria), TSA T (Laredo), and TSA V (Lower RGV) are improving but remain above 7%

  • Statewide is stabilizing at 5.6%, which is lowest since 6/25 and down since before then

Here's an overview of the COVID-related hospitalization data by each Trauma Service Area (TSA) in Texas on 10/7. See the attached spreadsheet for the data.

  • While this was another step in the right direction, Texas should be safely opening now. The COVID situation has stabilized, there is plenty of hospital capacity available, the lockdowns have had questionable benefits and plenty of costs, and at least 11 states have already fully opened so Texas is behind the curve, which means Texans won't have the same opportunities that could have to flourish. 

  • This goes along with what we discussed at the recent TPPF Livestream on Reopening Texas, which here's a good write-up on it.  

Texas work search requirements for unemployment recipients should be reinstated

  • I recently made this case in an exclusive interview with The Center Square. 

    • “A specific date for when it’s back in effect would help in a lot of ways. We have been reopening, and my sense is that once the governor determines we have reached a certain level of jobs that are available, that would be the time they would put the work search requirement back in. It’s about personal responsibility instead of government mandates, which can hold us back from fulfilling our potential – that’s the message we’re trying to get across here in Texas,” Ginn said. “It’s important for the state of Texas to continue to reopen so that employers can operate at full capacity, which will give people more opportunity to work, and we really need to get rid of this waiver on the job search requirement.”

Gone for Good: Shutdowns Kill Thousands of Businesses in Texas

  • I had another interview where I discussed how Yelp recently reported that almost 9,000 businesses in Texas have permanently closed due to COVID-19 and government lockdowns. 

  • "These shutdowns and closures have already spiked the Texas unemployment rate and hurt state tax revenues, but the impact goes beyond the economy. "This has led to mental health concerns, massive amounts of suicides across the state, people not being checked for cancer, increased heart attacks, and many other health concerns," says Vance Ginn with the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). Ginn tells KTRH that state and local leaders' reaction to the pandemic has been misguided and unrealistic. "We started with a situation of let's flatten the curve in order to not overwhelm hospital capacity, to now a situation of a zero-COVID cases mentality," he says. "Instead, we need to think about how can we live with COVID-19 while having our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness preserved by the government instead of taken away."

What's the Better Path Forward

Watch my interview at NTD News (time 5:55) where I discuss how President Trump's economic plan of cuts to taxes and regulations puts Americans in control of their destiny while VP Biden's plan of hikes to taxes and regulations puts government in control. The former supports prosperity whereas the latter doesn't. There are other issues to discuss in each plan, but this is an important one. Here's a good comparison of the two fiscal plans by the James Madison Institute that shows how the Trump-Pence plan would support more economic growth and job creation than the Biden-Harris plan. 

Overview of the RESTART Act in Congress

  • Check out my brief overview of the bipartisan RESTART Act that would help keep businesses operating and workers working during the lockdowns and bounce back faster when fully open with funding from unspent CARES Act funding so it doesn't add more to our bloated national debt. 

Have a blessed weekend.

Vance Ginn, Ph.D. | | #LetPeopleProsper