OPED by Vic Williams, former State Lawmaker and a 2020 candidate for Pima County Supervisor in District 1
As a former legislator, taxpayer and businessman, I find it abhorrent to see politicians making decisions for the private sector and paralyzing our country’s economy. Pima County economy is extra fragile, as one the slowest areas to recover from the past recession, it can’t afford another recession already. Yet, others running for office with little to no real business experience, I see them calling for even more inane measures.
Most of our politicians have never started a business and don’t understand business. I have, and I do. So, what I’m about to say comes not just from my perspective as someone who has run policy at the heart of Arizona state government, but someone who has run a small business — a number of them actually.
The chosen strategy we’re told to combat this pandemic is social distancing, and right now, that involves extreme measures to shut down daily life. But there is a huge gap between sensible social distancing and the total shutdown spreading across the country. Just as the spread of coronavirus creates a curve of the number of people infected, this economic shutdown is creating a curve of the numbers of people affected, losing their jobs, their homes, their businesses.
Mandates proposed and developed by know-nothing politicians and political wannabes are needlessly creating an element of fear damaging consumers, workers and business owners of this country from coast to coast. State-by-state, county-by-county, and town-by-town each jurisdiction is rushing to enact ever more stringent measures with a ‘monkey-see, monkey-do’ mentality.
You get what you pay for. Elect people to office who have little to no private sector experience and mayhem like this is sure to follow.
Locally, when the head of Brookfield Property Partners, which owns two of Tucson’s largest malls, the Tucson Mall and Park Place Mall, says, “The coronavirus pandemic that has prompted stores and major centers to close across the United States and globally has squashed any optimism.” Local officials need to pay attention.
I have been a problem solver in business since 1990. My life has been spent figuring out how to keep businesses moving forward through several down turns and crises while always coming out on top. In January of 2009, at the age of 45, at the very depth of the great recession I was sworn into the Arizona Legislature. Over the next 4-years the hard choices my colleagues and myself made lead the state out of near bankruptcy and put our state on a path of economic recovery and success.
With this pandemic, critical, tough, and unpopular choices will need to be made by our elected officials. These choices will need to protect the health and well-being of the citizens of Pima County as well as keep our economy alive and well. But they need to be made. There are a lot of hapless people in and around politics. My businesses and political career have both been born and bread in times of crisis and two poignant lessons learned apply in this time of crises: Poverty and despair kills.
Any economic shutdown has dire consequences that will be deadlier the longer it is prolonged.
To learn more about Vic Williams, visit his website at Vote4Vic.com