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Open everything now and other commentary

Social Democrat: Open Everything Now

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“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were too slow to adapt,” Yascha Mounk notes at The Atlantic. “Now we are once again in danger of prolonging the status quo more than is justifiable. It is time to open everything.” No one restriction is “prohibitively onerous on its own” (though “some, such as the requirement for children to wear masks for much of the day, do significantly decrease the quality of life”). But they add up to “create a deep sense of societal malaise.” “Accepting restrictions that weaken our social ties” temporarily differs from “putting up with them indefinitely.” Indeed: “Like our ancestors, we should prioritize the living of life” and “shake off the pandemic malaise. Open everything.”

Libertarian: ‘Paycheck Protection’ Failed

The Paycheck Protection Program “was among the most expensive of the pandemic relief measures passed in 2020, eventually growing to some $800 billion,” observes Reason’s Peter Suderman. “It was intended to save the jobs of ordinary workers,” but “the majority of the funds spent by the program went to business owners and shareholders rather than to workers themselves.” Why? “It was designed in haste at the beginning of the pandemic,” which lawmakers expected to be short. But COVID dragged on, and PPP became “an all-purpose federally funded slush fund for small business owners.” Bottom line: PPP “was cobbled together in a slapdash manner based on partisan agendas, poor projections, incomplete information, and wishful thinking.”

Foreign desk: Holy Land’s True Apartheid Gov’t

Amnesty International’s smear of Israel as an apartheid state is not just “a lie” but “an inversion of the truth,” roars legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich at The Wall Street Journal. In Jerusalem-controlled areas, Jews and Arabs “mix openly”; all areas under Palestinian control are “Jew-free.” In Israel, Arabs “enjoy full property rights, enforced by the courts against Jews.” Palestinian law makes selling land to Jews “a crime punishable by death, often without trial.” The Palestinian government also bans Jews from worshipping at their own holy sites. And where South Africa’s apartheid regime “used death squads against blacks . . . the Palestinian government pays terrorists for killing Jews.” By Amnesty’s own standards, it’s the Palestinian rulers who are “guilty” of apartheid.

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Congressman: End War on Oil, Gas

With “hearings meant for partisan show, rather than gain,” Dems in Congress are aiding President Biden’s “war on the American oil and gas industry,” fumes Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) at Fox News. In last year’s hearing with top execs from ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Shell Oil, Dems “berated the executives . . . with accusations of lying regarding their actions on combating climate change,” though all are “industry leaders when it comes to technology and innovation to reduce carbon emissions.” Now they’ve “subpoenaed the board of directors of the same major oil and gas companies” — “a severe move usually reserved for when there is clear misconduct” — “despite the recent hearing which produced hours of testimony and hundreds of thousands of documents.” And this drive “to demonize the oil and gas industry” comes as “gas prices have risen 40% at the pump.”

From the right: VA Dems’ Big Mask Loss

“The Virginia Democratic Party picked their hill to die on . . . and then they died on it,” chuckles National Review’s Jim Geraghty. State party chief Susan Swecker declared that only “extreme, far-right fringes” want parents deciding on masking their kids in the classroom. “So Virginia Democrats prepared themselves for an epic showdown over masking in schools. And then they lost, badly.” Half of state Senate Democrats voted with the GOP Tuesday to pass a bill barring school boards from instituting mask mandates and disciplining maskless students. Party elites should’ve seen it coming: The Dem govs of New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware are lifting school-mask mandates, destroying the claim “that a desire to see masks become optional in schools was some sort of fringe, far-right position.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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