To the editor:
In an Aug. 14 column, Lisa Nelson, the CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) declares states should receive no further federal stimulus funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nelson takes what a newspaper columnist is supposed to be to another world.
She states that business and government revenues decreased because schools and some business were temporarily closed. That’s it. In over 500 word of comments she offers no other possible cause for the worst economic recession in 90 years. Apparently, nothing else comes to mind for Nelson. Her message for us is that if state officials had mandated no closures then we would have had no recession. That’s her basis.
It is not because of a disease that can essentially spare some of us, leave some of us with serious on-going health problems and kill some of us. It is not because 5,460,429 of us have had COVID-19 and 171,012 of us have died from it. So far. It is just that our schools and some business closed for a while. That’s it.
Of course, our businesses have been open for some time and our schools will open soon. Since Nelson’s cause of the recession has been lifted, by her explanation, the economy should be back on track. Boeing should be building planes; airlines should be booked with a full schedule of flights, oil demand should be strong and the demand for agricultural products should be hitting new highs.
After putting the blame on state officials, Nelson justifies her declaration of no further federal stimulus funds for states by noting over 200 state legislators signed a letter opposing more funds for states. There are 7,383 state legislators in the U.S.; 97% of legislators did not sign the letter. Nelson takes opposite-world reality to a new level.
To a large extent, ALEC is a collection of big money corporations that obtain financial rewards by getting laws passed that favor their interests. Well over 90% of ALEC funding comes from corporations, trade groups and think tanks. What ALEC then does is function as a bill mill to create and route pages and pages of legalize through compliant legislators and into something like 200 of our state and federal laws every year. ALEC is one of the most onerous examples of big money influence in government.
Columnists are supposed to be individuals, often with a background in journalism, who give perspective on social issues. Sometimes they are specialists in a given field writing on their expertise. These are the traditional and legitimate authors of newspaper columns. And then there is Nelson.