Op-Ed: Pa. Lawmakers must challenge endless Covid lockdowns in 2021

Originally published in Broad + Liberty.

For already struggling service sector businesses, the holiday season could have helped mitigate the catastrophe that was 2020. Instead, Gov. Tom Wolf’s new lockdown measures are digging their financial hole even deeper. Even so, it’s still possible for lawmakers to push back and take steps to better our business climate both during and after the pandemic.

Pennsylvanians are struggling under an economic plight that is even more costly than the current health crisis. According to an October Right to Know request sent to Pennsylvania’s Office of the Budget, almost 80 percent of the state’s total Covid-19 spending was dedicated to unemployment compensation. This economic decline is relatively unique in that it isn’t driven by economic factors. Instead, it’s fueled by the societal and government response to Covid-19—and it isn’t hitting everyone equally.

According to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, early in the crisis, high-wage workers experienced a short recession with a quick recovery in just weeks. By comparison, low-wage workers struggled for several months. Their economic vulnerability meant low-income communities were less likely to comply with shelter-in-place ordinances than those in economically privileged areas.

This disparity shows…

Read more at Broad + Liberty.