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Taxpayers Have a Right to Know Who Gets Their Money

Unleash Prosperity Hotline
Issue #163
1) Taxpayers Have a Right to Know Who Gets Their Money

We are following the debate over whether the Small Business Administration should be required to disclose which businesses got a share of the $525 billion of government coronavirus handouts and how much. Business groups are fighting in court to keep this information confidential. This week they won a court-ordered delay in releasing the names of firms that took Paycheck Protection Program funds. The NFIB says  disclosure might bring the business recipients “unwanted attention and potential harassment from third parties.” 

Our view is that there is no “privacy right” here. Every dime the government spends and who the money goes to should be FULLY transparent to taxpayers. There are a few rare exceptions, such as when national security may be at risk from disclosure. 

If firms want financial privacy and don’t want the “unwanted publicity” from taking money from the government, they shouldn’t eat at the trough. Hard stop. Disclosure achieves two purposes: 1) it discourages firms from taking government money, and 2) it allows groups like our friends at to weed out the tens of billions of waste, graft, and fraud from the government’s cash register. 

Release those names and amounts NOW. 

Just for the record: CTUP did not take PPP money.
2) Lockdowns and Business Closures Are Back

Politicians never learn. In the spring they were driven by *political contagion*; as a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences put it: “COVID-19 restrictive policies such as lockdowns and school closures, and find that government policies are strongly driven by the policies initiated in other countries… Our findings show that, in times of severe crisis, governments follow the lead of others and base their decisions on what other countries do.” 

This monkey see, monkey do, mentality also applies to blue states. And it’s starting to happen again:

Coronavirus Restrictions Map

New Mexico went into hard lockdown well after ER visits peaked on November 5. Ohio is the latest state to adopt a 10 pm curfew. Maryland is upping its restrictions. Pennsylvania is ordering mask-wearing inside the home. Unfortunately, the worst ideas will spread quickly. 

New York has police on the streets of Jewish neighborhoods with binoculars looking to bust people with too many guests in their homes:

Video of the NYPD Taking Photos of the Jewish Community
And we expect that, once again, the harshest lockdowns will correlate with the same as or worse results than places that don’t lockdown.

Consider the comparison of three European countries that have already peaked this wave and are in decline: Belgium, which locked down right at its peak; France, which locked down before its peak; and Switzerland, which rejected national lockdown and has only had restrictions in a few cantons. The curves largely rise and fall together:

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases per million chart

This disease takes a serious toll, mostly on the very old and medically frail. But adding the stress, disruption, economic deprivation, and negative health consequences of lockdown on top is an enormous amount of additional pain for little or no gain.

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