Barr calls lockdowns violation to ‘civil liberty’ as Black businesses see more closings
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said that the coronavirus lockdowns by state governments have been the biggest violation to civil liberties in America since slavery, as the closing of Black businesses outpaces others.
“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said as a round of applause came from the crowd.
Barr was speaking at a Constitution Day even sponsored by conservative Hillsdale College.
“Most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do, which is they … defy common sense,” Barr said Wednesday according to CNN. “They treat free citizens as babies that can’t take responsibility for themselves and others.”
Barr explained that the lockdowns have interfered with small businesses especially, depriving people of their ability to make a living.
Mainstream media outlets are outraged that Barr would mention slavery in the context of the pandemic.
“Attorney General William Barr brings up slavery when referring to quarantining during the pandemic,” said CBS News. “The attorney general made several shocking statements at a Constitution Day event sponsored by Hillsdale College.”
CNN says that Blacks have been disproportionately hurt by COVID-19 according to the CDC, but CNN is only measuring the numbers of people who contracted the novel coronavirus.
However, data shows that the effect of COVID lockdowns on Black-owned businesses are much greater and perhaps more long lasting.
“COVID-19 shutdowns have pounded Black-owned businesses particularly hard,” said National Geographic in July. “Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 41 percent of Black-owned businesses—some 440,000 enterprises—have been shuttered by COVID-19, compared to just 17 percent of white-owned businesses.”
One Black business expert thinks that only half of all Black businesses will survive.
“After 90 days without positive cash flow, you will feel a lot of pain,” says Harold T. Epps, former Philadelphia commerce secretary and senior advisor at Bellevue Strategies. “It doesn’t matter if you are a barber, beauty supply store, food provider, or other retail outlet. Many are challenged by cash flow on a good day, and over the last 90 days it’s been nonexistent. That will result in one out of every two not returning.”
Black businesses don’t historically enjoy the same types of relationships with the banking community that other business owners do, making COVID loans more difficult to obtain. They have smaller savings, making it harder to outlast recessions.
Sixty percent of Black-owned businesses, for example, didn’t return after the 2009 recession, versus 50 percent of White-owned businesses, says National Geographic.
“I expect this pandemic to offer a worst outcome,” concluded Andre Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
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