Kirkland: We don’t have to destroy Florida’s economy to defeat coronavirus

by | Mar 24, 2020

With the coronavirus outbreak continuing to plague much of Central and South Florida, Florida Democrats, political pundits and members of the media have seized the opportunity to drag Governor Ron DeSantis‘ name through the mud in an effort to prop up their political stock.

Gov. DeSantis has received immense backlash for his handling of the pandemic, despite efforts made to curb the spread of the virus in the state that included proactive measures like closing bars and nightclubs, dine-in restaurants, gyms, beaches and other venues, and quarantining travelers from New York where the outbreak is spreading like wildfire.

But that’s not enough for some people.

Florida politicos have been relentless in their pursuit to paint DeSantis as a failure. Over the weekend. Agriculture Commissioner, Nikki Fried, the only Democratic cabinet member, started this snowball effect, calling on DeSantis to implement a mandatory stay-out-home order last Friday.

The stay-at-home order, which has been issued by 12 states thus far, has ordered 39 percent of the U.S. population, or 126,800,466 people, to remain at home.

Her first tweet largely landed on deaf ears, with Fried continuing to virtue signal two days later to show how much she cares — as if DeSantis didn’t.

Of course, this was just the start of a larger effort to tarnish the progress made by DeSantis.

Following Fried’s political posturing, the Miami Herald decided to join the peanut gallery, wrongfully labeling DeSantis in an editorial on Sunday as a “timid leader” who doesn’t “give a damn” about the lives lost from COVID-19.

The article brought nothing to the table, offered no solutions and only further fanned the flame by blowing hot air on an already intense situation.

Other elected leaders also joined in on the liberal dogpile. This week, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz used the opportunity to falsely handcuff DeSantis to the 18 deaths that have occurred as a result of the disease.

According to the Floridian Press, on a conference call with reporters and fellow Democratic representatives, Wasserman Schultz called DeSantis’ actions “really irresponsible,” and flippantly claimed that his actions were “causing more sickness and death” by keeping many of the beaches open.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath is a bevy of naysayers and detractors who seek to place the blame on one of the most popular Republican governors in the United States.

And yet, the question remains: is it warranted? Is DeSantis to blame for the inaction — or irresponsible behavior — of others?

Absolutely not.

DeSantis has been a pragmatic leader that has carefully considered lives — and livelihoods — during this difficult time. While it’s easy to pick the low-hanging fruit and point fingers at a leader in the spotlight, it’s incredibly asinine to suggest that DeSantis should take drastic steps that could have an even more adverse effect on our state.

The governor has a lot of his plate. While the goal is to minimize the spread of the virus and prevent people from getting it, equally important is to balance one of the largest economies in the world where small businesses are the lifeblood of the state — making up over 99 percent of all businesses in the state.

While the spread of coronavirus has prompted many Democrats to call on DeSantis to issue a shelter-in-place order that would close all “non-essential” businesses. DeSantis has stood firm on his commitment to all Floridians. On Monday, DeSantis explained his decision to not implement a stay-at-home order.

“For every action, there’s a reaction,” he said in a press conference in Orlando.

Though many may see this answer as not sufficient enough, it’s the truth. To the political left who belies and whines, businesses are classified as essential and non-essential. But to the entrepreneur who relies on the daily grind, all businesses are essential.

While Democrats demand that DeSantis act, an argument can be made that not acting is the right move for the majority and that further overreach could lead to an economic collapse for the 17th largest economy in the world (if Florida were a country).

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a lead voice of the Coronavirus Task Force, while we are taking appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we must not impose burdensome actions that will result in “unintended consequences,” including other health issues.

“If you knock down the economy completely and disrupt infrastructure, you may be causing health issues, unintended consequences, for people who need to be able to get to places and can’t,” Fauci cautioned. “[I]f you lock down everything now, you’re going to crash the whole society,” he warned.

What many in the political arena are missing is that this virus affects everyone — including small business owners who took the risk to provide for their families. A lot of Floridians are living paycheck to paycheck. What happens when you take that enterprise away from them? What happens if a loss of jobs results in families breaking apart? What happens if a lockdown causes a net loss of life because poor people and families are more likely to be victimized by the ongoing opioid epidemic? What happens when people turn to other drugs, or worse, suicide to deal with the fallout?

What happens when the cure is worse than the disease?

I’m sure it won’t be safe to reopen the economy by the end of the week, but we don’t have to drown it in the process. So instead of losing jobs and destroying lives, maybe we could follow a plan like this:

1. Parents need to parent. Stop allowing your kids to go anywhere they want. Their ignorance isn’t slowing this virus.

2. Gradually reopen the economy. Allow young and able people to get back to work and feed their families.

3. Require/encourage certain professions to use protective equipment. Provide people with masks, gloves, etc.

4. Keep nursing homes quarantined. Protect the elderly who are most at risk.

5. Lockdown people at-risk or with symptoms. Prevent them from interacting with others.

6. Increase testing. Continue to test and quarantine people.

7. Provide Relief. Whether through a stimulus — which isn’t socialism given the fact that the government issued a mandatory shutdown — or charity.  We all have a part to play.

If you’re going to do the most restrictive thing our state has ever done, you better have a plan for how we come out of this — which no one on the political left has offered. This isn’t going to be a V-shaped recovery. The longer these businesses are out, the less chance they have of going back in.

Economics is real life — it’s people’s jobs, income, and community.

I’m not weighing the economy against human life. I’m merely offering a take that best preserves human life by keeping the quality of life intact.


  1. Phil Mackelroy

    Who is this ghoul?

  2. ub52

    How can you open the economy when you are quarantining people for two weeks who come from out of state? People go to Florida to vacation, not to be locked up!

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