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Let me be crystal clear, my intention is not political toward any party, nor am I pointing blame for any past decisions. I believe an open, honest, and transparent discussion is in order from all levels of government and both parties to the American people relating to the economic impacts of the state, national, and global shutdowns.

Let me share some items most of us have never seen in our lifetimes, truly precedent-setting economic realities:

  1. Crude oil negative $35 a barrel.
  2. Unemployment greater than the 1930s Great Depression.
  3. Bipartisan support for $1,200 per person stimulus.
  4. National debt exceeding GDP.
  5. National defense authorization act (for production).
  6. Extended state/national/ global shutdowns.
  7. Record-setting federal emergency spending up to $8 trillion, 33% of the current $24 trillion in national debt.
  8. Fed interest rates at 0%.

I am not minimizing the COVID-19 virus, and every life is important. Much has been learned over the past few months. We have learned that 6 feet or more of separation, hand washing, covering cough/sneeze, disinfecting common touch points, masks when separation cannot be maintained, and staying home when sick are critical to everybody’s safety. We have learned that those with underlying conditions and the elderly may be at additional risk and must be further protected through additional screenings and procedures.

I don’t believe it to be fiscally possible for government to pay all the losses of all businesses until a vaccine is found, nor do I believe it possible for government to pay its citizens to stay home until a vaccine is found without massive economic consequences to businesses, households, and the country at large.

I do not think people with grave concern or those at heightened risk should be forced into society, nor should large groups gather without the basic reasonable safety precautions of 6 feet or more spacing, washing hands, covering cough/sneeze, disinfecting common touch points, staying home when sick. The facts show many can carry and shed this virus with little or no symptoms; we can and should protect the vulnerable by practicing these basic and reasonable safety precautions.

We have learned much over the months about the virus, but we have yet to have an honest, transparent discussion concerning the economic impacts of these shutdowns on households, businesses, and our states/country.

I am calling on our government at all levels, our economic experts, our business leaders, and of course our citizens to have an honest, transparent and public discussion on the economic impact expectations. In just over a month, Minnesota has gone from a surplus of $1.5 billion to a deficit of $2.5 billion. The federal government has authorized up to $8 trillion, and counties and cities are taking losses. This is not sustainable and ultimately will be funded by taxpayers, further harming our economic situation.

I think we are fast approaching a point where not reviving our economy will have grave negative impacts for years to come on households, businesses, states, the country at large, and all its citizens.

The country’s future and lives are at stake from both COVID and economic impacts. We can and must find solutions before it is too late. We are a great nation; we can and must meet the challenges.

This is my opinion and does not represent the city of Shakopee nor its city council. 

Matt Lehman 

Shakopee City Council member

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