Coronavirus Infects Stock Market: Part LII
During the coronavirus outbreak, the difference between heavy-handed local government, and private enterprises has been plain.
Businesses are incentivized to protect their most important assets, their employees. Government officials are protecting their own reputations.
In the early days of the virus, Leupold, an American business serving police departments and America’s military elite took smart steps to protect employees.
At The Federalist, Madeline Osburn reports on Leupold’s response in an interview with company CEO Bruce Pettet. Describing the response, Pettet told Osburn:
Because we have Department of Defense contracts, so we knew that we were in an essential business so I was never worried about someone telling us we can’t operate. We actually got some urging from the Department of Defense and their purchasing department telling us we had to keep manufacturing because of some of our contracts.
We had to make some changes to our factory layout, which was challenging. We made the decision to actually close our factory and do a complete deep clean of all the offices, factory, everything. Then our engineering team and factory team came in and said, “Where are the places where we’re working tight?” Right, you have that when you have 600 people. So we reengineered our factory, particularly assembly, to make sure that they have the proper social distance and to make sure we’re following the guidelines that have been laid out.
We made sure that we reengineered so that the priority products for our military and for our law enforcement, that those were the priority. So it did take away a little production from what would be our normal commercial sales, but we actually upped our production on some products like our DeltaPoint Pro Reflex sight, which which a number of our military law enforcement users use.
Our average employee has been with us for 12 years. I’ve got some that have been here for over 40. I think I’ve got 12 over 14 years. When you have the kind of tenure that we have, it is kind of like a family. Everyone wanted to roll up their sleeves and get this thing done. I was pretty impressed and I’m just blessed to have a team that is willing to get after do what they did.
The ability to take intelligent steps to keep employees healthy and remain in business are what make American industrialists the best in the world. Meanwhile, in blue states and cities where governors have gone wild, things haven’t gone so well.
One of those governors is New York’s Andrew Cuomo. The Blaze reports on the field hospitals New York built. Now the governor and fellow-traveler NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio want taxpayers from across the country to pay for them. The kicker is, most of the hospitals were barely used, some not at all. Chris Enloe writes:
A field hospital set up in Brooklyn specifically for coronavirus patients is now being dismantled without having served a single patient, The City reported.
As New York City quickly became the global COVID-19 epicenter, city officials ordered that many sites across the city be converted into field hospitals. At the time, experts said the growing pandemic would easily overwhelm the city’s hospital system.
One such site transformed into a hospital was the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, which was designed to treat nearly 700 patients.
According to The City, the field hospital was “slated to open in mid-April but wasn’t ready for service until May 4.” But by the time construction was completed, New York’s coronavirus-related hospital population had dropped significantly, meaning the city no longer needed the field hospital.
And now, the site is being demolished.
What’s worse, city officials reportedly expect the Federal Emergency Management Agency — via the taxpayer — to pick up the $20.8 million tab for constructing and tearing down the temporary site.
Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox offer solutions on the way forward for big cities and America, writing at The American Mind:
To survive, cities need to focus on reducing exposure density, which the public may also support. Right now, according to the Harris Poll, as many as two in five urban residents, including the young, are considering a move to a less dense place. The latest consumer survey from the National Association of Realtors found consumers are “looking for larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors.”
The cities of the future will no doubt retain “hip”, dense creative districts, but tech and high-end business services have been moving during the past five years to sprawling, low-density metro areas like Austin, Nashville, Orlando, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, and Raleigh. For many cities, it might make sense to give incentives not for office towers but for home-based workers; most people now working from home—some 60% according to Gallup—express a preference to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
For the rest of the population, the last thing we need is another economic collapse as deep as a depression, which, even if it is short, will produce millions of “losers” who will never recover their lives. Rather than adhere to the ideological visions of planners and pundits, we need to move in bold ways to minimize potential exposure to this and future pandemics.
This should largely be led by the marketplace and through innovation. Consumers will demand new alternatives to transit, going beyond telecommuting to autonomous cars and cabs, which could provide mobility in the niche areas where transit dependence is high. Consumer demand could lead to changes in housing design, for example, such as developing houses with separate entrances and dedicated workspaces.
Faced with a crisis in urban forms, the biggest danger would be to do nothing, or even double down on the very things that worsened the pandemic. Density, transit, and poverty present special challenges in the pandemic era. Finding ways to address them should be our highest priority for the future.
Read my entire series, Coronavirus Infects Stock Market here.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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