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President Trump said it best.
"We can't let the cure be worse than the problem itself."
Though there is no guarantee of a vaccine, many governors are imposing draconian lockdown orders that are costing jobs and creating mental health risks.
One of the governors who has been under fire the most is Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer.
Her lockdown is one of the strictest in the entire country, as she banned fruit and vegetable seed sales as "not essential."
Meanwhile, people were allowed to buy alcohol and lottery tickets.
Now, a story is breaking from Hastings, Michigan, a town of 7,500 people.
A beloved music store owner was weeping on the local news, saying that Governor Whitmer's lockdown has cost him his "dream" and is forcing him to shut down for good.
The news story quickly went viral, as the music store owner is loved by many in community and is a figure many can relate to.
Most Americans can some form of music lessons or music education growing up.
Steve Walker and his family are music lovers and educators who have been running their store in Hastings for over a decade.
Now, because of Governor Whitmer, their small business will shut down for good.
Watch the heartbreaking local news clip below:
While states like Ohio, Georgia, and Texas are taking steps to safely reopen, Governor Whitmer has been extremely controlling in Michigan.
The effort to save lives is costing livelihoods.
While it's certainly a valiant effort, there is no promise of a vaccine and people have the right to exercise personal responsibility.
Furthermore, people have the right to choose for themselves whether or not they re-integrate into this "new normal."
But for Michiganders, Governor Whitmer has made the decision for them by taking matters into her own hands.
Accoring to local Fox 17 West Michigan:
Steve Walker and his family are preparing to close their store the Walker Music and Textile Company after being in business for 11 years.
Throughout the years, they’ve made a lot of friends in Hastings, whom they consider to be family, Steve said.
However, what Steve will miss most are the kids and teaching them how to play an instrument and fall in love with music, he said.
“This is my dream. Shutting it down. Closing out this phase of my life,” Steve said bursting into tears during an interview with FOX 17 on Monday afternoon. “It won’t be a retail shop anymore and it won’t be an inviting environment for kids to come and be loved and to learn music.”
Steve continued to cry.
Later, he and his son Mike picked up their guitars and played Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama.
Mike stopped halfway through and said ‘I can’t do it’ while wiping tears from his eyes.
“This is who I am. People that know me, know it is,” Steve said before pausing and letting out a sigh. “If you look on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll see what this means to people. And you’ll see what it means to me.”
Sunday, Steve announced online that they were closing because of the pandemic.
He said the governor’s stay-at-home order, that went into effect on March 24, really hurt them especially when they were deemed ‘non-essential’ and other businesses in the area were not.
“I’ve been sitting here for 60 days watching my neighbors do business day in and day out,” Steve said. “They aren’t thriving but they are surviving. There’s no reason in hell I couldn’t have done the same thing. None. And that's what makes me angry.”
Steve said he tried to save the business. They called the unemployment office several times and were unsuccessful in reaching anyone. And, when they applied for grants through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, they were denied.
“There was only $32,800 grants for Barry County in total,” he said. “Of that $32,800, five businesses were the recipient of that money.”
Steve said he doesn't know which businesses were awarded the money. However, he's grateful that his store is up-to-date on their bills, even though they’re uncertain of how their expenses will look in June.
“Our utility bills with Consumers is over $600 a month so that really bites into what you have,” said his wife Nancy, who also manages the store. “And then of course we have our phones and internet and water bill an insurance and on and on.”
So they’re moving out, she said. Their landlord will let them out early. In the meantime, they’re selling their inventory.
It's truly a tragic story.
But what's even more heartbreaking is that it's not just the Walker family.
This is happening to small businesses and mom-and-pop shops across the country where governor's are refusing to allow the economy to safely reopen.
Outrage has continued to build against Governor Whitmer, especially after the local news aired this story.
Unemployment claims are now above 36 million.
While major corporations will certainly be damaged by the economic fallout, it's small businesses such as music stores that are receiving the brunt of the storm.
For some businesses, the reopenings are too late.
The New York Times reports:
Scattershot reopenings of retail stores, nail salons and restaurants around the country have not halted the flood of layoffs, with the government reporting Thursday that nearly three million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the two-month tally to more than 36 million.
The weekly count of new claims has been declining since late March, but that hopeful flicker barely stands out in an otherwise grim and chaotic economic landscape.
“This is a very protracted, painful situation for the labor market,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, “and I just don’t see anything positive.”
In places where the fitful reopening has started, workers called back to their jobs often face reduced hours and paychecks as well as a heightened risk of infection. Declining to return, however, is likely to put an end to any jobless benefits.
“It’s a very tough choice for those in the service industry and those at the lower end of the pay scale,” Ms. Farooqi said. “Do you go back and risk getting sick, or have no money coming in?”
Lags in data make it hard to calculate just how many workers may have been rehired after the most recent shelter-in-place restrictions were lifted. And Connecticut cited an error in the government’s report that appeared to have inflated the state’s latest claims by more than 200,000.
But Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America, said she doubted that callbacks to work outnumbered additional layoffs from other sectors. The slowdown has been rippling beyond the early shutdowns in retail and hospitality to professional business services, manufacturing and health care.
“In a sense, it’s a rolling shock,” she said.
Georgia, one of the first states to reopen, is an example. “The reopening is bringing people back to work, reducing the total amount of people receiving unemployment insurance,” Ms. Meyer noted. “But the number of initial jobless claims is still rising, which suggests there is still residual weakness in the economy.”
In an analysis of the latest unemployment-claims report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that in 11 states, more than a quarter of those in the work force in February were now unemployed. And a survey by the Federal Reserve found that in households making less than $40,000 a year, nearly 40 percent of those who were working in February lost their jobs in March or the beginning of April.
Until a vaccine is developed or until herd immunity is reached, there will virtually be no change in risk to the average American.
Locking down indefinitely is not a solution, and it certainly isn't a winning solution.
Allowing Americans to make their own choices responsibly and to earn a living to put food on the table must be allowed.
Shutting down indefinitely for the "common good" is a slippery slope that will only lead to more government and more tyranny.