March 25, 2021

Contact: Steven Nekhaila,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
[email protected]
844-FLA-FREE (352-3733)

As Jobless Claims Drop, Problems Persist


KEY WEST, Fla. – This morning, we saw good news as the number of jobless claims drops to pre-pandemic levels. More people are consuming America goods and services. More people are working to accommodate the growing consumption. More consumption, more jobs. Good news.

But there’s still a darkness behind this good news. More than 5 million people completely fell off the states’ unemployment compensation rolls. [i] By March 6, 18.9 million people are receiving some kind of federal or state assistance. That’s a staggering increase over the roughly 2 million that were receiving assistance prior to March 2020. Who or what’s responsible? COVID-19 itself? Let’s see.

Since the pandemic began, more than 30 million people became ill or tested positive with the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. [ii] Of them, more than 500,000 people tragically died. In Florida, about 75 percent of the 2 million who contracted or tested positive are between the employable ages of 18 and 65. [iii] About 18 percent of them died after contracting COVID-19. This suggests 1.6 million or more of them recovered and were ready to return to their jobs. But many of them found they had no jobs to resume, so clearly, another factor is at play here.

That factor is the heavy-handed state and local government reaction to this disease. By forcing private enterprise to shut down, millions of people were made jobless and many of those businesses had to close permanently. Even when institutions were allowed to remain open, they faced fines and other penalties for not complying with state mandates. Bars were forced to close while strip clubs remained open.

This action by Gov. Ron DeSantis was done despite the ability of business-owners and their employees to make rational decisions to protect their health and that of others through sound, medically-based recommendations. Even as Gov. Ron DeSantis opened up the state for resumed activity late last year, local governments persisted.

Libertarians do not support government mandates. We believe the intelligence of adults leads to knowledgeable choices for society. Libertarians do support government’s ability to collate and make available current information and research. So informed, responsible adults can make intelligent decisions for themselves and their children. If they chose not to protect themselves, then they understand the risks to themselves and others, including the liability of knowingly infecting others.

A responsible society does not need government nannies to guide them by the nose. It guides itself.

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

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[i] U.S. unemployment claims sink to 684,000 and hit lowest level since pandemic

[ii] John Hopkins Coronavirus 19 Dashboard

[iii] Florida COVID-19 Response