Enough is enough, Gov. Wolf
As the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic stretches into mid- summer and, most assuredly into the fall (if not beyond), liberty-loving people should be having grave concerns about the increasingly arbitrary and capricious nature of the public policy decisions being made by some of their elected leaders.
Pennsylvanians, in particular, should be sounding alarm bells that it has been one person, Gov. Tom Wolf, whose exercise of unchecked plenary power has been especially disturbing and dangerous.
Not only have legislative checks and balances been thrown out the window, so, too, has been any respect for fundamental economic principles and any semblance of rational thinking.
The stream of this governor’s intellectual discombobulation is as wide as it is deep.
Think of the “essential business” declarations early in the pandemic that, albeit briefly, choked off supply chains required to run those businesses.
Think of the still nearly indecipherable regulations that have bankrupted many restaurants and will bankrupt many more.
Think of the decimation of other small businesses forced to close while large businesses, many offering the same or similar services, were allowed to continue to operate, never mind that the risk of exposure in the latter (supposedly why small businesses were ordered closed) was greater.
Think of this governor calling Keystone State residents “cowardly” for doing what they needed to do to put food on their families’ tables. If the survival instinct is “cowardly,” the world of hurt we are in is incalculable.
Think, too, of the initial shroud of secrecy put into place with media right-to-know requests largely ignored.
The latest example of Wolf’s public policy discombobulation came with his decision to block Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) Toronto Blue Jays from playing their coronavirus-truncated, fan-less home season at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Canadian government, fearing U.S. MLB teams might spread the virus in Toronto — in a city and nation in which rates of the virus’ infection have been far lower –barred the Blue Jays from playing any home games there.
Given that the Pirates’ and Jays’ home schedules would have very little overlap, the franchises had worked out a deal to share PNC Park, with no fans, and maintain strict housing, social-distancing and disinfecting protocols.
There were plans for the Blue Jays to convert ballpark space into their own separate and distinct clubhouse. There also was talk of the team taking over an entire adjacent hotel.
The deal would have pumped sorely needed dollars into Pittsburgh’s pandemic-ravaged economy, not to mention added money to city tax coffers, primarily including a tax paid by visiting professional athletes.
But at the 11th hour, Wolf decreed nada. He cited continuing concerns about spreading the virus in a climate of scores of new infection reports.
By that same Wolf standard, the Pirates should not be able to host any team on their abbreviated home schedule. Neither should the Pittsburgh Steelers be allowed to play home games. Add Philadelphia’s Eagles and Phillies, too.
Heck, by Wolf’s standard, colleges and universities across the commonwealth should remain closed indefinitely. Same for the casinos. Better shut down mass transit, while you’re at it, Governor.
(Oh, and here’s a real kicker: The day after the Wolf decree came down, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman was on the media hustings pushing for a state government-mandated minimum wage of $15 an hour.
It’s a bad idea in “good” times; that Fetterman would shill for such nonsense in pandemic times when businesses are reeling because of government coronavirus diktats is beyond the pale.)
Back to Wolf.
About the only thing consistent in the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been his public policy inconsistency.
And that has stoked anger and distrust among a populace being told it must give up essential liberties for government’s ill-defined and inconsistent safety and security protocols.
Simply put, that’s not acceptable, Gov. Wolf. Enough is enough.
Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (firstname.lastname@example.org).