9. Responsible Recovery Agenda: How to Overcome the COVID-19 Recession Fast
Opening America and practicing sound fiscal & regulatory policy is essential for a robust recovery.
Can you believe that Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner? It’s hard for me to believe.
We put up our Christmas tree early this year to get into the spirit of celebrating Jesus’ birth and the salvation and grace provided to us through a huge price (Nothing is Free), and this spirit has helped drown some of the negativity going on in the media regarding COVID, the election, and more. I have a lot of what I consider uplifting points to share with you below.
It’s important to remember that we live in the most prosperous, most remarkable, and most opportunistic country in the history of man. Sure, there’s much we need to do to improve it because too many have fallen through the cracks, but we have much to be positive about even as the media and many politicians tell us otherwise.
So, get your optimistic cap on and maybe grab your favorite drink so you can imagine me telling you the following story. Enjoy!
OPEN TEXAS AND AMERICA
Summary: There are 8 TSA areas on the Governor’s list for further restrictions that includes 38% of Texans. COVID cases continue to rise higher than during the summer highs while fatalities, fortunately, remain well below the highs during the summer. Available hospital capacity remains elevated across most of the state with the Austin area having the lowest rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations as a share of total hospital capacity while keeping a relatively normal rate of available beds.
Overview of COVID-19 in Texas
After a brief decline in daily COVID cases, they’re back up recently with a 7-day average of about 12K, with today’s new cases of 16,864 (record high). Newly reported COVID fatalities were reported of 266 today with some going back several days based on which day was reported on death certificates, which will likely continue to increase, and the latest 7-day average available on 12/2 is 150 fatalities.
Cases remain well above the highs over the summer (12K v 10K) while fatalities remain well below their highs then (250 vs. 150), meaning the case-fatality rate has so far remained substantially lower now than it was during the highs over the summer possibly from improvements in therapeutics, younger and healthier population infected, and better utilization of hospital resources.
There remains a relatively high rate of available beds as a share of staffed inpatient beds across most of the state’s TSAs with every TSA having at least 9% available. Testing remains on average over 100K per day and the positivity rate remains somewhat elevated but well below the high rates over the summer.
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.
Eight TSAs are reported on the list of further restrictions: TSA A (Amarillo), TSA B (Lubbock), TSA D (Abilene), TSA E (Dallas/Ft. Worth), TSA H (Lufkin), I (El Paso), M (Waco), and TSA T (Laredo).
So, 38% of Texans are at 50% capacity + other restrictions while 62% of Texans are at 75% capacity + other restrictions.
This metric has been rising recently statewide to 14.5% but remains well below the 17.0% average for July.
Hospital Overview Statewide:
COVID-19 hospitalizations up 6.4% (to 9,628) from 7 days ago and up 5.2% 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 18.5%, below the 21.7% average for July
Available beds down 4.0% (to 12,006) from 7 days ago and down 5.4% from 14 days ago, the level is above the 11,926 average for July
Occupied beds up 2.5% (to 49,412) from 7 days ago and up 1.1% from 14 days ago, the level is above the 43,397 average for July
Staffed inpatient beds up 2.6% (to 60,642) from 7 days ago and up 0.3% from 14 days ago, the level is above the 55,323 average for July
Hospital capacity up 2.2% (to 66,199) from 7 days ago and up 0.1% from 14 days ago, the level is above the 56,871 average for July
TEXAS ECONOMIC AND FISCAL SITUATION
Texas Jobs Report: Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the state-level jobs report for November 2020. The slower job creation reported in the U.S. jobs report for November earlier this month means jobs added across the states slowed as well. I recently released the jobs report figures for Texas in October and recommendations for what Texas should do to best help struggling families and so many employers who have lost their business or will lose it soon if things don’t open up.
Responsible Recovery Agenda: The following is a Twitter thread that outlines the 5-step approach that TPPF recommends to reduce government barriers so that there are more opportunities to recovery as fast as possible. This starts with opening Texas, but these fiscal factors going into the 2021 Legislative Session on Jan. 12 are essential and should be considered in other states as well. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss how to get this going where you live.
TV Interview on Why So Many Businesses Are Moving to Texas: No personal income taxes, lower taxes overall, sensible regulations, and a low cost of living help to make the Texas Model a desirable place if an entrepreneur wants to be profitable. This sort of inclusive institutional framework should be expanded here and used elsewhere to increase the amount of competition among states.
U.S. ECONOMIC AND FISCAL SITUATION
U.S. Jobs Report: The U.S. jobs report for November 2020 was released earlier this month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there continued to be positive net jobs created, the rate of growth has slowed as the COVID-19 cases have increased and many states have started to (wrongly) shutdown again. Here’s my overview of the latest jobs report and recommendations to get the economy back to the robust situation in February.
No Student Loan Forgiveness: This has been a hot topic recently. It should die quickly because it’s bad policy, helps upper-income people the most, and won’t “stimulate” the economy. Here’s my tweet that has had the most impressions recently:
End Medicaid’s enhanced MOE from the CARES Act:
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. If you haven’t registered yet, please register here at no charge. And follow me on Twitter: @vanceginn.
Have a blessed weekend and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in case I don’t see you or write another newsletter before then. I’m truly thankful for you and for your interest in reading this newsletter. My only request is that you share this newsletter with at least one of your friends and ask them to register. That would be a great gift!
Vance Ginn, Ph.D. | www.vanceginn.com | #LetPeopleProsper