Arresting small business owners while permitting large violent protests. That's the response of some Democratic state and local governments across the nation in recent weeks.
Witness New Jersey, where police arrested the owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr for defying state orders to close the facility in response to COVID-19. The gym owners, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, had taken virus-spread precautions, including social distancing, closing workout stations, operating at 20% capacity, requiring face masks, increasing equipment sanitization, and taking temperatures. To no avail. Atilis Gym is just one of countless American small businesses trying to balance public health, government edicts, and profitability before being shut down by government edict.
Meanwhile, in major cities throughout the country, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and Portland, Ore., violent protests continue to rage. In Portland this week, protesters breached a fence around a federal courthouse building housing U.S. agents.
Why are these left-wing protests allowed when small business activity -- itself a form of political protest in today's climate -- is not? The virus doesn't distinguish between gatherings based on political preference. Neither should politicians. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who's led his state's business crackdown, even attended a Black Lives Matter protest in June in defiance of his own order prohibiting large gatherings.
Congressional Democrats' proposed $3.5 trillion coronavirus relief package would add to employers' pain. They plan on extending the $600 a week (about $2,500 a month) supplemental unemployment insurance on top of what states already provide. Paying people a few thousand dollars a month to stay home makes it a lot more difficult for small businesses to reopen, rehire a workforce, and restart national economic growth.
But Democrats don't care about debt. Much of the party now subscribes to Modern Monetary Theory, a crackpot economic doctrine that claims debt doesn't matter because the U.S. can simply print money to service it. It's a theory so dumb that it could only have come from the economics departments at the nation's major universities. In reality, printing money destroys its value, causing high price inflation, which hurts ordinary people, who see their savings wither and consumption power shrink.
The arrest of the New Jersey gym owners, while mass protests are allowed to continue miles away, is a microcosm of Democrats' broader agenda that punishes hardworking Americans and rewards loafers. Suburban voters should take note.