Work is not an “necessary”activity. That’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the unfortunate last report of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Job Force on Organization and Jobs Healing.
“California will not rely on previous successes to push forward,” the report concludes, “but rather, increase to the obstacle of developing a healing for all.”
Without jobs, obviously. California’s previous successes were constructed on letting loose the animal spirits of some of world’s most fiercely driven and enthusiastic individuals. It‘s in California’s DNA. We’re individuals, or the descendants of individuals, who saw something much better and were not scared.
No more. Now we’re individuals, or governed by the individuals, who saw something scary and shut down the economy in fear.
“The future doubts,” the job force reported. California will deal with “a variety of headwinds” such as the expiration of Pandemic Joblessness Support, the “ongoing requirement for federal relief,” and “changes to life and work” from the shift to working from another location. “These difficulties are particularly serious for lower-income Californians who were disproportionately affected by task losses in 2020, as well as small businesses that have actually gone through an entire year of unpredictability and lower earnings,” the report says.
No kidding? Thank goodness for blue-ribbon panels of experts.
Rather of providing well-reasoned proposals to promote financial growth and fiscal sustainability, the job force’s report checks out like a theatrical program handed out to the audience that’s concerned see a play. There are lots of flattering images of the participants, each accompanied by a carefully handled paragraph of career-enhancing platitudes. And the text explaining the program discusses what the producers were attempting to attain.
Drape up. Let’s see it.
“This group of more than 100 of the very best minds,” co-chairs Ann O’Leary and Tom Steyer composed in the overture, was “a powerful cross-section of voices and point of views allowing the comprehensive discussions required to develop holistic and actionable suggestions for healing.”
OK. What are these suggestions?
The very best minds advise that we increase screening and public health procedures and focus on “getting as many Californians back to work as possible” in “a way that works for all.”
OK, but how?
Apparently through the ramped-up production of buzzwords. The job force developed a “crucial focus” and “essential workstreams.” They were “surfacing significant problems,” “focusing” and “leveraging.” They promoted “resonant” messaging and “strategic advisory services.”
OK. What are the suggestions?
The very best minds advise more federal help, and also “sped up bond sales” to put the state deeper into financial obligation for more public works projects. This will develop “thousands of shovel-ready jobs,” according to one union leader on the job force.
Theater critics are most likely to pan this production as acquired, tedious and more than a little foreseeable.
The most significant thing produced by the job force was the resignation of Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger, who may have disagreed with the state’s “Oh, well” response to the decimation of the tourism industry and the livelihood of everybody who works in or around it. The job force report blandly keeps in mind the pandemic’s “out of proportion effect on particular markets (e.g. tourism)” and calls it a “essential chance” to “take advantage of the work” of a state effort to “develop cross-sector civic collaborations at the local level.”
Can we talk?
The state’s metrics for determining when and where companies may resume are completely arbitrary and even worse than useless. If the goal is to know the degree of COVID-19 infection in the neighborhood, as medical experts and epidemiologists informed the Senate Homeland Security Committee earlier this year, what’s required is random-sample screening.
We’re refraining from doing that in California. Individuals are most likely to be evaluated if they have signs, if they look for healthcare for another reason or due to the fact that of a job-related requirement. Each positive test is counted as a “case,” and the case numbers are turned into charts, and the charts are flung in front of the general public to justify new constraints on freedom and commerce. This is theater.
In Los Angeles County, outdoor dining at dining establishments has actually just been prohibited for three weeks by the Public Health department without any evidence that outdoor dining at dining establishments has actually been responsible for the documented boost in COVID-19 “cases.”
If this is going to be the policy in the state of California, random damage of companies and markets based upon no clinical evidence whatsoever, there is no amount of federal help or sped up bond sales that will develop a “Organization and Jobs Healing.”
If the goal is financial healing, what’s required is a plan to allow companies to recover.
One thing that would assist is accurate data about the prevalence and spread of the virus. Random-sample screening would provide us a better picture of where we are in the timeline of this pandemic and the real infection death rate. Every death is a disaster, but there are many causes of death, and public policy should be assisted by an accurate evaluation of dangers and repercussions.
Once we have accurate data about COVID-19 infections, we should do what we can to reduce other preventable dangers to job-creating companies. California is currently relying on its normal model: brutalizing enforcement of impossibly complicated policies. Even prior to the ink is dry on new rules, the state is levying massive fines versus companies and even local governments that get anything incorrect. If the state’s approach was cooperative and instructional rather of punitive and cash-based, it would assist. California just recently fined Los Angeles County $71,555 for six alleged violations related to training and reporting at the Twin Towers Correctional Center. These fines are not handy.
An affordable liability guard for companies that make a good-faith effort to comply with health and security policies would go a long method toward securing jobs and keeping small companies operating. The exact same liability guard should be reached school districts and other entities that could be economically ravaged by claims, even if meritless. This is a danger we can control and moderate with practical legislation.
Rather, it gets worse next year. A brand-new state law produces new COVID-19 reporting and notice responsibilities for employers, increasing the risk of fines and claims. And worker’s comp insurance coverage premiums in California will be even higher thanks to a brand-new law that produces an anticipation that an employee who evaluates positive for COVID-19 was infected on the task. This raises operating costs. That’s the incorrect instructions for public policy if the goal is financial healing.
The job force has actually been dismissed, and so has the goal of a “company and jobs healing.” The new goal is endless federal government power to select losers and winners.
That’s the real significance of the job force’s report. It also discusses the guv’s otherwise inexplicable tiered reopening plan and ever-shifting metrics.
This isn’t the course to a go back to health. It’s the course to what medical professionals euphemistically call “a bad result.”
Susan Shelley is an editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group. Susan@SusanShelley.com. Twitter: @Susan_Shelley