Column #280

The insanity of shutdowns is over the top. A new working paper, by authors at Duke University, Harvard Medical School, and the Johns Hopkins University business school, indicates that “over the next 20 years, 1.37 million more people will die than would have died without the unemployment shock the pandemic caused.” That’s in an article by “Fortune” magazine. The toll on small businesses is a perfect example of why.1

Small businesses range in age from new startups to centuries old. Many are just individuals working as house cleaners, musicians, dog sitters, bookkeepers, commercial fishermen, farmers, programmers, consultants, mechanics, and more since the skills of the self-employed are limitless.

Many businesses do not work out of formal brick and mortar establishments which is why some folks do not think of them as being part of the small business community. Most believe a business has to be in an establishment with employees.

Here’s the small business statistics. The “official size” of a business is based on its industry, gross sales, and number of employees. There are about 5.6 million employer firms and about 25 million nonemployer firms. About 99.7% of the employer firms employ less than 500 people and 89% employ 20 or less. Add in the 25 million nonemployer businesses and the share of businesses with less than 20 workers increases to 98%.2 3

The point of this column is that even in the face of pleas from scientists and healthcare professionals to stop shutdowns, we’ve seen many shutdowns in the past 12 months and they are continuing! The shutdowns have been dictated by demonic bureaucrats who have acted based on COVID-19 hysteria—not science. They seem clueless to the fact that shutdowns have a devastating impact on broad swaths of society without solving the spread of the virus. As such, shutdowns have been patently unfair to the majority.4 5

While many people followed dictates and cowered in fear for their lives while thanking their leaders for “saving them,” they and their dictators ignored the damage the decrees inflicted on over half of their fellow citizens. More than 77 million students had their educations interrupted at best, postponed a year or more, or brought to an end with virtually no lives saved. Incidences of depression, drug and alcohol deaths, suicides, abuse and violence in homes, and murders are now considered epidemic. Deaths of despair increased as much as 60% in 2020 compared to 2018. The small business death toll had reached 100,000 in September 2020 and it’s higher now since more than 110,000 restaurants alone are closed! The businesses that tried to defy the “authorities” were forcibly closed and their owners fined and/or jailed. How cruel is that?6 7 8 9

Those are the reasons why so many experts have said it’s the vulnerable who should isolate while all others go on about their business as usual. Except for the elderly with multiple chronic conditions, COVID-19 is no worse than the annual influenza outbreaks that people have dealt with for decades. In fact, some epidemiologists are saying many recently reported COVID-19 cases are actually influenza cases!10

It’s a major step to start a business from scratch. First it’s a dream, then a plan, and then the entrepreneur takes the plunge. Launching a business requires lifestyle sacrifices in order to save up the required capital. It demands considerable sweat equity. Rarely is a launch met with overwhelming success. Instead, it often takes months and maybe years of baby steps and more sacrifice, more investment, more advertising, possibly debt, and more sweat equity to get a business sustainable. It’s not an easy path.

The shutdowns are a cruel divide. They benefitted nearly all online businesses including the online meat business. Literally overnight online meat sales reached their physical limits for processing, storage, staffing, and shipping. Now these businesses are afraid to expand physical resources because the COVID-19 scare may disappear on January 20 and change the dynamics overnight in the other direction. Yet while the shutdowns befitted some, they needlessly vaporized many other small businesses.

Because I’ve experienced numerous business cycles during the past fifty years, I really feel for the small business owners who were crushed by the shutdowns. Many of them had poured all their money and their entire being into their enterprises only to see their treasured enterprises go up in smoke. They were thrown a few crumbs to pay employees or whatever, but that didn’t replace gross income, reputations, an established clientele, location, equipment, and experienced employees. When closed, a business will quickly fall behind on the many necessary expenses that support it. When the cash runs out, the owners are forced to walk away with absolutely nothing other than a totally shattered dream.

The number of financially destroyed business owners and stranded employees outnumber all the deaths that were reported as associated with a COVID-19 infection. What’s even more tragic is that most of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 were gravely ill, elderly people at the end of their lives rather than middle aged or younger people. It is the vulnerable who should have been strictly quarantined. Therefore the bureaucrats ignored the survivors and only focused on questionable case counts and fabricated COVID-19 deaths as if the deaths were universally distributed amongst the entire population. At the same time the MSM, social media giants, and certain bureaucrats continued to scaremonger the virus every minute of every day.

About 37% of the American workforce is employed by big business and 16% is employed by various government agencies. About 39% work for small businesses and 7% are self-employed. Therefore, most Americans work for big businesses or a government entity of some sort. Since many believe big is better, small businesses do not gain the respect they deserve. In light of recent bureaucratic actions, apparently small businesses are expendable.

In spite of not being properly respected, small businesses still play a mighty role in our country. Their importance was emphasized by Adam Smith in his 1776 book "The Wealth of Nations." That book is arguably the most important document of its time because of its worldwide impact. In it he emphasized the “invisible hand” of free markets for the most beneficial way to create widespread wealth. He also explained how many small businesses create a free market whereby markets dominated by big businesses are no longer free because they ultimately become monopolies.11

Small businesses have many benefits beyond creating the ultimate free market function. They provide character and individuality to a community. More of their earnings recirculate within a community. Often small businesses start new approaches to a common problem, whether by providing services to help others or in developing new products. Their owners live within the communities they are based and many participate in local community services and events. Some small businesses are ideal training grounds for first time workers.

Unfortunately, there are some mega-billionaire elites who want MOAR. They believe that because they are so wealthy they are more intelligent than everyone else. Their way is the only way. Of course, not all billionaires are like that but all it takes are a few power-mad billionaires to manipulate public opinion. These less scrupulous billionaires can dictate the national narrative by controlling what the MSM reports and by influencing scores of politicians with their monetary power. The young billionaires that started the popular social media sites are good examples. They believe that because they are smarter (wealthier), their social views are superior. Thus, not only is the public narrative filtered and one-sided, but opposing viewpoints are now strictly censored.12

These know-it-all billionaires are hostile toward small businesses because they would prefer to control them in order to grow their own wealth. The business model trend of the past 50 years has been toward more Oligopolies and even some Monopolies. For instance, 70 years ago most restaurants were independent but now most are franchises or corporate chains and the concentration grows greater every year.13

There are 650 American billionaires with a combined wealth of $4 trillion. The 400 richest Americans own 64% of our country’s wealth. This concentration of intoxicating power puts those who play politics in a position where they can buy (bribe) nearly anyone or, if their targets don’t go along, have them cancelled—one way or another. Their power is so great they can literally manipulate national events and control the narrative around them. It’s gotten so bad that even the writers of the television series “House of Cards” couldn’t come of with plots as outrageous as the events we’ve experienced recently.14

For all these reasons I am concerned about the future of small business. If they can be destroyed so easily in 2020 while citizens just stand by, what about the rest of us? This doesn’t bode well for a healthy society.15

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

1. The Covid Recession May Kill More Americans than COVID-19 Does by Geoff Colvin from Fortune

2. What Is a Small Business? from American Society for Quality

3. Facts & Data on Small Business and Entrepreneurship from Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council

4. Catastrophe Is All Around Us by Jeffrey A. Tucker from American Institute for Economic Research

5. Great Barrington Declaration

6. Lockdown Measures Catastrophic for Recovering Addicts, Mental Health by Charlotte Cuthbertson from Epoch Times

7. Deaths of Despair and the Incidence of Excess Mortality in 2020 by Casey B. Mulligan

8. Nearly 100,000 Establishments That Temporarily Shut down Due to the Pandemic Are Now out of Business by Anne Sraders and Lance Lambert from Fortune Magazine

9. The U.S. Has Lost More Than 110,000 Restaurants, Setting The Stage For A Commercial Real Estate Collapse Of Epic Proportions from The Most Important News

10. Coronavirus Epidemiologist Says Influenza Cases Are Being Counted as COVID-19 by Paul Joseph Watson from Summit News

11. Adam Smith and "The Wealth of Nations" by Joy Blenman from Investopedia

12. The American System is One Big Grift by Peter Van Buren

13. A Guide to Types of Market Structures from Aurora University

14. House of Cards (American TV series) from Wikipedia

15. Gates On CNN: ‘Appropriate’ To Close Bars And Restaurants. Cruz: Halt CNN, Microsoft, Dems’ Salaries. Then Let’s Hear You On Lockdowns. by Hank Berrien from Daily Wire