Peggy Noonan, this week, is remembering her working class roots again.
I’m afraid, however, when push comes to shove, Peggy is always going to side with the Community of Fashion over ordinary America.
There is a class divide between those who are hard-line on lockdowns and those who are pushing back. We see the professionals on one sideâ€”those James Burnham called the managerial elite, and Michael Lind, in â€œThe New Class War,â€ calls â€œthe overclassâ€â€”and regular people on the other. The overclass are highly educated and exert outsize influence as managers and leaders of important institutionsâ€”hospitals, companies, statehouses. The normal people arenâ€™t connected through professional or social lines to power structures, and they have regular jobsâ€”service worker, small-business owner.
Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in chargeâ€”scientists, doctors, political figures, consultantsâ€”calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist wonâ€™t lose his livelihood over whatâ€™s happened. Neither will the midday anchor.
Iâ€™ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. There is an aspect of it that is not much discussed but bears on current arguments. How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures. I think itâ€™s fair to say citizens of red states have been pushing back harder than those of blue states.
Itâ€™s not that those in red states donâ€™t think thereâ€™s a pandemic. Theyâ€™ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualtiesâ€”fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.
Theyâ€™ll take the latter. Itâ€™s a loss either way but one loss is worse than the other. They know the politicians and scientists canâ€™t really weigh all this on a scale with any precision because life is a messy thing that doesnâ€™t want to be quantified.
Hereâ€™s a generalization based on a lifetime of experience and observation. The working-class people who are pushing back have had harder lives than those now determining their fate. They havenâ€™t had familial or economic ease. No one sent them to Yale. They often come from considerable family dysfunction. This has left them tougher or harder, you choose the word.
Theyâ€™re more fatalistic about life because life has taught them to be fatalistic. And they look at these scientists and reporters making their warnings about how tough itâ€™s going to be if we lift shutdowns and they donâ€™t think, â€œOh what informed, caring observers.â€ They think, â€œYou have no idea what tough is. You donâ€™t know what painful is.â€ And if you donâ€™t know, why should you have so much say?
The overclass says, â€œWait three months before weâ€™re safe.â€ They reply, â€œThereâ€™s no such thing as safe.â€
Something else is true about those pushing back. They live life closer to the ground …
Taki differs completely from the great majority of commentators gloating over the sacking of Neil Ferguson for violating “social isolation” by receiving visits from his mistress.
Let me begin with a salute to the winner of this yearâ€™s Sir Jimmy Goldsmith prize: Professor Neil Ferguson. The prize is awarded every year to a man who casts convention aside and â€” lockdown or no lockdown â€” continues to shag his mistress and to hell with the coronavirus. The professor has apologised but Antonia Staats, the mistress, has not. Neither of them has anything to feel sorry about. When the urge comes, social distancing grows smaller, pardon the reverse pun. We all want to flatten the curve, and Ferguson did just that. He has proved by his rash action that sex conquers all, following in the tradition of Englandâ€™s greatest hero, Horatio Nelson, and countless others, unsung heroes all. They have been overshadowed by the French and Italians to be sure, but now, with the prof leading the way, thereâ€™s hope that Britain can emerge as a nation of shaggers who are fearless in their pursuit of sexual gratification even in the face of Chinese efforts to turn us all into a nation of self-abusers.
Health care workers that came to New York to help fight the coronavirus pandemic at its epicenter will have to pay state taxes, according to the governor.
He addressed the issues Tuesday at a news conference.
“We’re not in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “So there’s a lot of good things I’d like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do, but it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I’m gonna spend more money, when I can’t even pay the essential services.”
Even though the state government asked thousands of people to come to New York from out of state to help fight coronavirus, they will have to pay New York state taxes, even on income they might make from their home states that they’re paid while in New York.
Cuomo said he needs help from Washington in order to cover budget deficits from COVID-19, let alone subsidize state income tax for essential workers that flocked to New York’s aid.
“If we don’t get more money from Washington, we can’t fund schools, right, so at the rate we want to fund them. We are in dire financial need,” he said.
The issue first came up when the temporary hospital in Central Park was being erected by Samaritan’s Purse.
“Our financial comptroller called me,” said Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the organization, “and he said, ‘Do you know that all of you are going to be liable for New York state income tax?’
“I said, ‘What?'” Isaacs continued. “[The comptroller] said, ‘Yeah, there’s a law. If you work in New York State for more than 14 days, you have to pay state income tax.'”
“I didn’t know that,” Isaacs told PIX11 News.
Since early March, grocery shoppers across the country have faced empty shelves, long lines, and watchful guards enforcing government rules. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are dealing with shortages of staples like flour, yeast, and (inexplicably) toilet paper in our once-well-stocked stores. The government response to the pandemic has been sluggish, with piecemeal shelter in place orders, abysmal testing capabilities, and disrupted supply chains. It seems like no one, from grocery stores to the federal government, was prepared for this crisis.
Except in Texas.
While government is way behind the curve, the San Antonio-based grocery chain HEB is leading the way in keeping Texans supplied with the items they need.
For those unfamiliar with this beloved Texas grocery chain, some background: Founded in the small town of Kerrville in 1905, today H-E-B employs over 116,000 employees and operates more than 400 stores across Texas and Mexico, making it the largest private employer in Texas. It is the dominant grocery store chain in south and central Texas, and in some smaller towns, the only grocery store for miles.
But in a state with its share of natural disasters, H-E-B is also a key player in disaster response. From hurricanes to wildfires, H-E-Bâ€™s emergency response teams show up with mobile kitchens, pharmacies, water tankers, and other vital services to help hard-hit communities. For example, when Hurricane Harvey left the city of Beaumont without drinking water and FEMA said it couldnâ€™t get through, the cityâ€™s leaders called H-E-B. Within a few hours, a fleet of H-E-B trucks was plowing through two feet of flood waters, with the senior vice president of supply chain in the lead truck, to deliver trailer-loads of water to the stricken city.
But H-E-B is ready for much more than hurricanes. A recent Texas Monthly article highlights just how prepared H-E-B was to confront the current COVID-19 crisis. The company, which employs a full-time director of Emergency Preparedness and has an emergency operations center standing ready, has had a pandemic and influenza plan in place since 2005. H-E-B keeps emergency supplies staged at every warehouse, ready to go when needed. While the federal government did not declare COVID-19 a national emergency until March 13, H-E-Bâ€™s team had been watching the virusâ€™ progression since early January as it began to impact Chinese suppliers, and implemented its pandemic emergency plan on February 2. H-E-B kept in close contact with retailers and suppliers in China, and later Italy and Spain, to learn from their experiences as the virus and subsequent lockdowns overtook their countries.
Thanks to its advance preparation, H-E-B has been able to shift production, get creative with suppliers, and help ensure that the most-needed products are making it to the shelves (although theyâ€™re just as perplexed as the rest of us about the run on toilet paper). It hasnâ€™t been perfectâ€”some products are still hard to find, and social distancing requirements can mean lines out the doorâ€”but overall, most shoppers are getting what they need. H-E-Bâ€™s initiative and foresight should be celebrated, and businesses across the country should be empowered to emulate H-E-Bâ€™s example.
H-E-Bâ€™s COVID-19 response shows how nimble private companies perform better than the government behemoth, especially during crisis. H-E-B is above all a business, and businesses make money by offering things people want to buy. If H-E-B canâ€™t supply the products its customers want, like eggs, milk, and paper towels, then it wonâ€™t survive.
And you don’t have to do business with them unless you want to, and they do not tax you or tell you what to do.
It beggars belief that an American president — even this one — would tweet out garbage like this ever, but especially in a national emergency. Beyond shameful. Unfit for office. pic.twitter.com/g94j2jn9O8
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) April 17, 2020
How many of those who urged our govt to help liberate the Iraqis, Syrians, Kurds, Afghanis, etc., are as committed now to liberating Virginia, Minnesota, California, etc?
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) April 17, 2020
This Tweet has attracted a lot of attention.
I crawled in bed and cried for our pre-pandemic lives. Tears that had been waiting a month to escape.
I wanted to share because it feels freeing to do so. Now is not a time for faux-invincibility. Journos are living this, hating this, like everyone else. https://t.co/dIDujZZvQZ
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 18, 2020