On the contrary, Gov. Polis: Every business and job essential

Craig Hall

Someone had to say it. Might as well be me. While it’s my nature to be contrary — few can argue both sides of a debate the way I can — this isn’t about being contrary or even politics. This is about freedom. And we’re losing it by the day in Colorado.

As I write this (hopefully, much talked-about) column at great risk, there are small business people and their employees wondering if this is the day they shut down and lose their jobs — all while a select few in Denver with their taxpayer-funded, guaranteed paychecks and benefits decide who’s “essential” and who isn’t. That’s the height of arrogance. We’re all essential.

But this is where we are. A handful of people decide what’s wrong and what’s right for everyone else in our state. And all it has led to are food shortages, panic, hoarding and confusion. And, yes, I fully expect to be taken out of context with this column. But I’m gonna publish it anyway as the world changed in a week between me leaving for a golf trip on a Wednesday and coming home to a shuttered state on a Monday.

It wasn’t even a week ago I congratulated Colorado Gov. Jared Polis for a logical, calm, well thought out press conference related to the coronavirus pandemic. The presser focused on economic ideas to be put into place for Colorado to hit the ground running once we got past the initial stages of the outbreak and overall response. I was relieved to hear the governor NOT talk about spend a bunch of tax money on this stimulus here or that stimulus there. The ideas presented were for temporary relief for the citizens of Colorado in paying their mortgages, utilities and other bills because (I would assume) he knew measures put in place to temporarily close businesses would hit the people of Colorado right in the wallet and pocketbook. And he was correct in doing so. (Full disclosure: My “essential” business is exempt, but I’m working from home.) I was impressed.

The next day, our governor went on TV and said, “I’m not a socialist, like Donald Trump.” And BOOM, my hope in the governor was gone. Because at that moment, I was shaken back to the reality Polis’ policies are driven by politics. He is a socialist, and every act he and his party have taken since his election proves it. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. No longer.

So now we’ve doubled down on “essential” with a tagged-on order forcing companies to create ways for half of their staffs to work from home. Just like the stay at home order, it sounds great in theory, but doesn’t work in reality. How in the world is a business supposed to put that into place when it doesn’t have a plan or the resources to do so?

It’s all simple economics. Businesses aren’t making any money. No matter how many efforts good-willed people attempt to get folks to order food to go, buy local, support local businesses and keep the economy rolling, one reality trumps it all: People aren’t going to spend money for anything other than their personal health and safety if they don’t know they have a job or a paycheck in the next week or two. Taking away and then “re-allowing” liquor sales won’t salve that wound.

The main reason businesses are in this bind is just as simple: Our governor closed most of the businesses in our state.

What is also on Polis are the untruths and blame he now states in his press briefings. I shake my head at the obvious MSM lie about the president saying states are on their own. Trump actually told states to go get supplies on their own because they could get them faster and more efficiently and Washington would back them. What bothered me more was this: Polis complaining he became governor to implement all-day kindergarten and other socialist policies, not handle a pandemic.

Gov. Polis, perhaps I could be of service. To quote my favorite football coach: “Do your job.” And no, your job isn’t to dispense unlimited monies from a slush fund for all of your utopian socialist dreams. It’s to give hope to the people of Colorado we’ll come out of this OK and then find a way.

Whether you like it or not, your job is to figure out a way to find a middle ground between people working and earning a living, businesses staying open to make money and taking care of those most vulnerable and sick. Because that’s what governors do.

Governor, the only “essential” thing to understand is most small businesses are month to month, most employees are paycheck to paycheck and your policies on keeping them closed, even in the short term, will destroy them. They instinctively know Washington’s “bailout” won’t save them, if it comes at all.

Ordering businesses to close is easy.  Finding a solution that works for all is hard. I’m watching small businesses trying everything to make it through this pandemic. Closing is the last thing on their minds. Being the grim reaper should be the last thing on yours.