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’s too small to call it a Friday afternoon document dump. It’s 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).
The April 3 memo is posted below. Coming after Walz’s original shutdown orders, it came too late to influence the decision making behind them. It projected that “805,656 Minnesotans may end up not working if Stay at Home is extended in its current form.” We are now in a modified version of Walz’s original shutdown orders, but with 795,000 lost jobs to date this memo has proved uncannily accurate.
Kevin Roche comments here. Kevin makes this point in bold: “[N]ote that for all [Walz’s] yammering about systemic racism and the need for equity, there was zero consideration of the impact on minority businesses.”
Kevin has coincidentally just posted his evaluation of the the supposedly fine-tuned Minnesota Model (now in version 3.0) behind Walz’s shutdown orders in “The Minnesota Model Output.” Kevin’s post includes graphic representations comparing the model with reality. Kevin writes:
The Governor kept talking, until a couple of weeks ago, about climbing the curve, and you see that in these charts. But look at the lower line–that is the actual, there is nothing approaching the projections and it just keeps getting further and further away. He isn’t talking about the model any more, for obvious reasons. Now [according to Walz et al.] it is just one data point. That is is the exact opposite of his use of the model when he was issuing his extreme shutdowns. This is embarrassing for all of us, that we didn’t push back collectively on this horrendous mistake. And it is pathetic that he has never once acknowledged how far off the models were.
In short, the Minnesota Model formerly touted by Governor Walz has proved a joke. The April 3 analysis of projected job losses, however, seems to have hit a bingo. It’s a shame no one was paying attention then — or now. The Minnesota media remain recumbent and comatose.