Coronavirus in one state: Special edition exclusive (2)

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued his first significant COVID-19 shutdown order on March 16. The order was subsequently continued and extended on March 25 with the ensuing loss of some 795,00 jobs. I wondered if Walz took any account of the economic devastation he was causing before he promulgated his shutdown orders.

On April 23 I submitted a Minnesota Data Practices Act request to Governor Walz seeking “all economic data and economic analysis submitted to you in connection with each of the executive orders you have promulgated in connection with COVID-19, specifically including analysis of anticipated job losses.”

Walz slow walked his response to my Data Practices Act request and you can see why. It is stunning. Consisting of three documents produced by email as PDF attachments this past Friday, it was too small to call it a Friday afternoon document dump. It was a Friday afternoon document trickle. The documents are dated respectively April 3 (six pages), April 17 (six pages), and May 27 (a two-page memo “To whom it may concern” summarizing the April 3 and April 17 memos).

I posted the April 3 memo here on Monday. The April 17 memo is posted below. Although they came after Walz’s original shutdown orders, the memos accurately foretold the scale of the devastation wrought by Walz’s shutdown orders. The devastation continues.

Kevin Roche comments on the two memos here. This is Kevin’s conclusion:

All in all, the memos paint a very grim picture of revenue and job loss, which is currently being largely offset by the federal top-off payments, but which are likely to persist beyond the end of those payments. None of this information was released to the public by [Walz], who has continually avoided any discussion of the economic, health or social impacts of his extreme shutdown; a shutdown that will kill more Minnesotans than coronavirus while leaving us with a severely weakened economy and health system, and governments with very limited finances to address these problems.

The highly regarded former investment officer of a financial services company based in Minnesota has forwarded a spreadsheet comparing job losses in Minnesota and its four neighboring states: Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Having run the numbers for me previously, he now explains: “I have updated the job loss data for the five-state area, and the story remains the same, but I think is worth repeating. Minnesota has experienced the worst job losses per capita in the five state area, more than 20 percent worse than every state, and more than double South Dakota.” He concludes:

If Minnesota had [achieved] better outcomes [with respect to the epidemic], one might argue that the economic damage was worth it, but that does not appear to be the case.”

Minnesota’s deaths per 100,000 are twice as bad as Wisconsin’s and 2.5 times as bad as South Dakota’s. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the other states did a better job of protecting vulnerable people in nursing homes. Regardless of the reason, it appears Minnesota has suffered the worst of both metrics.

For some reason, the Minnesota media have not taken the time to gather the documents or compile the data.

Responsive Data 2 by Scott Johnson on Scribd