Boy, do we feel non-essential!
Washing my hands, boss!
It is a matter of time before Gov. Tony Evers announces that Wisconsin state government will go on hiatus — most of it, anyway — due to COVID-19. And Madison schools? City bus service?
CAUTION: Old War Story ahead: As Jim Doyle sought ways to hand me my walking papers, Blaska was working his way down the ladder in his misspent state government career to run disaster preparedness for the WI Department of Revenue. We set up alternate offices in case jihadists ran a passenger jet into our six-story building on Madison’s Rimrock Road. Compiled manuals, flowcharts, and spreadsheets; populated thumb drives.
⇒ You know it’s real when Tom Hanks says he’s got the Coronavirus! (Is anyone more credible these days?)
⇒ It’s like listening on the radio back in the old days for school closings during a snow storm. What’s next ?
So Blaska proposed shutting down the Department of Revenue. Completely. Go home and stay there. God love the dedicated state worker! But how will retail merchants sell products without a State of Wisconsin Seller’s Permit? one asked.
They’re already doing it! the disaster response manager answered. Every year the Department catches a dozen or so and fines them. So issue a blanket amnesty; we can catch up later. Besides, most taxation is automated. A computer calculates the government’s portion of your sale and your paycheck and sends it to the cloud. The real essential functions of government are the first responders — police, fire, EMTs — snow plowers and the like. Medical service providers? Sure, but most are private sector.
Every one needs to feel essential. How many of us really are? It is sobering.
The stock market is down another 1,600 points this morning (03-12-20201). Airlines are sitting on the tarmac. Sunday’s mano-a-mano between Biden and Bernie will be a TV-only event. (Do they both wear surgical masks?) Movie theaters are empty. UW-Madison classrooms closed. Dane County circuit court trials and conferences scaled back. (More here.) Trade with China and the European Union suspended. Catholics for Trump rally in Milwaukee next week, cancelled. (A good source of info here.)
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Commerce is coming to a halt. We’re in for a recession.