To defeat the coronavirus, many Americans have been - and many still are - staying home. But the real solution won't come because we isolate ourselves - it will come when we work together and go big.
That's going to require big drug companies to craft vaccines, and then produce billions of doses. (That is assuming that a vaccine for COVID-19 is possible.) But even more important will be the roles played by big technology companies.
Information sharing will allow America to survive and thrive. We can work from home (using big tech platforms) while doing "contract tracing" when it makes sense (managed by big tech companies) to determine where people with the virus have been. That will allow the isolation of only those people who are ill or likely to become sick, while they too work from home (helped by big tech). And everyone can eat and shop at home (using big tech platforms). Big tech companies may even be able to tell us when we are feverish and should seek help. While many liberty-minded people are rightfully suspicious of big tech "monitoring," there is no question that these platforms can be useful tools in this fight.
All this explains why tech stocks are climbing. These companies are currently set to lead the nation back from a recession. So why is the Trump administration helping liberal pressure groups by trying to harass big tech operators?
There are multiple tech companies with a track record of targeting conservatives in one fashion or another. Donald Trump has publicly denounced this activity on many occasions. Those of us who have spent time in "Facebook Jail," faced "You've Been Cancelled" efforts on Twitter, or throttled down on YouTube are very likely to see this as the tech companies getting a just reward and not look any deeper. However, this tale appears to go back to the final moments of the Obama administration. That is when an obscure agency in the Department of Labor suddenly filed nuisance lawsuits against Google, Oracle, and Palantir.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) alleges these companies discriminated in hiring. The problem is that it doesn't have any direct evidence. Instead, it is relying on statistical analysis by looking at public sources. Making this situation more concerning is the fact that this agency doesn't have the statutory authority to do this. It just does it and tries to pressure federal contractors into paying it to drop the cases. (In other words, unelected, big government bureaucrats using intimidation to force a pay-out from their target. A.K.A. the Deep State engaging in extortion.)
Even if OFCCP were legally allowed to do this, it wouldn't make for very effective federal policy. "Boxes on government forms simply can't capture sufficient data to explain differences in wages and promotions based on employee behavior and preferences," noted Romina Boccia of The Heritage Foundation. "The result is less flexibility and more rigidity in the workplace."
Yet it has been going on for years.
"OFCCP's power to debar or disqualify contractors from future federal contract opportunities dramatically underscores the relationship the Agency has with the regulated community," warns a white paper from the Chamber of Commerce. "Facing the threat of debarment, federal contractors are understandably reluctant to challenge OFCCP's unreasonable document requests, overreaching investigations, or even allegations of discrimination."
This governmental overreach could have come to an end in January of 2017. The incoming Trump administration had no reason to continue the suits and should have ended them right away. But former Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta failed to act. He allowed the lawsuits to crawl forward. They are still hanging over the heads of prominent market leaders, even as the 2020 election cycle hits full blast.
Acosta "aimed for a balance in his approach to labor policy that would satisfy the White House — while also placating union leaders and Democrats on Capitol Hill," as The Washington Post explained. Instead, he failed. Leftists won't be satisfied. Notice that the leftwing pressure group "Democracy Forward" is busy sniping at the administration in court. It has filed more than 100 frivolous lawsuits and plans more for no other reason than to keep the administration tied-up in court.
The Labor Department needs to do its part to protect tech and reduce distractions. This is not because the tech industry is deserving of special protections but because all sectors deserve the protections offered by our government being constrained by the rule of law. Also, in this case, the Trump administration has enough court-related speed bumps slowing the administration's efforts to implement its policies. Continuing any lawsuit begun by the Obama administration that is nothing more than governmental overreach designed to control the behavior of private companies is unwise at best.
Secretary Eugene Scalia is a veteran of that department. He must see the value in keeping it focused on its core mission: encouraging work, not harassing those who are hiring. Scalia is also now playing a role in the coronavirus task force, so he can do the entire country a favor by shutting these suits down quickly.
The United States will recover from this pandemic. However, it won't be easy. Let's encourage big tech to play a big role instead of threatening it with silly sanctions.
Dan Perkins is an author of both thrillers and children’s books. He appears on over 1,100 radio stations. Mr. Perkins appears regularly on international TV talk shows, he is current events commentator for seven blogs, and a philanthropist with his foundation for American veterans, Songs and Stories for Soldiers, Inc. More information about him, his writings, and other works are available on his website, DanPerkins.guru. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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