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Video Shows Tragedy of Gov't-Imposed Shutdowns: Penn. Food Bank Line Extends for Miles

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In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the virus which has sparked a worldwide pandemic, many state governments throughout the U.S. have effectively shut down most businesses, throwing millions of people out of work virtually overnight.

While volatile financial markets are a harbinger of difficult economic times, the real impact of a government-ordered shutdown of commerce can be seen quite clearly in Butler, Pennsylvania, where ordinary people waited in a massive line for food this week.

A video posted on the campaign Facebook page of Phil Heasley shows a line of cars — including some older vehicles but also plenty of late-model minivans, sedans, etc. — waiting to receive food from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on Tuesday.

“The turn out for today’s drive-up food bank is incredible,” wrote Heasley, a Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ District 8, which includes parts of Butler County.

“Waiting lines down both sides of 356 filter into Alameda. Be patient we’re moving very smoothly!”

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“Thank you Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for helping our community during this time!” the candidate added.

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf first implemented a stay-at-home order for seven counties on March 23, eventually broadening it to all 67 counties of the state effective April 1.

The order limited virtually everything, including commerce, to a list of “allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel,” in addition to implementing “non-life-sustaining business closures,” with the particulars posted on the state’s website.

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Government action left many residents out of work, which Republicans in the state legislature tried to remedy with a bill to help certain businesses reopen.

However, Wolf’s office said the governor would veto it, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The threat of coronavirus infection is serious, but so is the economic impact of shutting down the economy.

Americans are cooperating with orders meant to slow the spread of coronavirus, but something has got to give when a food bank in Pennsylvania is overwhelmed with so many recipients.

A WTAE report showed an aerial view of cars waiting to receive food.

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Many vehicles lined up several hours early to get in line for the distribution of 1,000 boxes of food, showing the magnitude of the crisis.

At one point, there was a 2-mile-long line of cars, the outlet reported:

What’s happening in Pennsylvania, and the nation as a whole, can be directly linked to the abrupt shutdown of commerce.

Videos like these bring to mind decades-old comments from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was recently second in line to be the Democratic 2020 presidential candidate before dropping out.

“It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing, in other countries people don’t line up for food, the rich get the food and the poor starve to death,” Sanders said in 1985.

A Reuters piece, which tried to justify the remarks by putting them into the broader context of a discussion about how food is still available even amid poverty, failed to explain away Sanders’ blind spot to poverty caused by government overreach in the first place.

And make no mistake about, a government-imposed shutdown is responsible for the long food lines we are seeing in Pennsylvania.

It is encouraging to see the American charitable spirit on display (the food bank is a private organization, after all), but these food lines demonstrate what happens when the government takes away the means for ordinary people to make their living.

The country needs to reopen as soon as possible after carefully considering not only the health risks posed by coronavirus, but also the massive economic devastation that could have an even greater impact on American lives.

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Christine earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, where she studied communications and Latin. She left her career in the insurance industry to become a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother.
Christine earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, where she studied communications and Latin. She left her career in the insurance industry to become a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother.




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