We are entering our second calendar year of coronavirus lockdowns and panic. The economic damage resulting from arbitrary lockdowns has been so catastrophic, even New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for the economy to reopen. “The cost is too high,” he tweeted. “We will have nothing left to open.”
At the state level, the pandemic has been a tale of two policies. While Democratic-led states such as California and New York keep people in their homes and wait for a federal bailout, Republican-led states such as South Dakota and Florida have opted to keep their economies open. The economic consequences of these two strategies and the impact they’ve had on the daily lives of families couldn’t be more different.
When the Labor Department reported 140,000 job losses in December, more than 60% of those lost jobs were in California and New York. In the same month, South Dakota’s unemployment rate declined to 3%, lower than before the pandemic started, and the state ended the year with a budget surplus. Realtors have since reported significant upticks in people looking to relocate to South Dakota, resulting in higher home values and a seller’s market.