Despite the fact that lockdowns do enormous amounts of economic damage, they’ve proven to be almost completely ineffective at stopping the coronavirus. One of the governors that understood this early on was South Dakota’s Kristi Noem. Noem was savagely criticized by liberals that pointed to the tiny state’s high rate of infection as evidence that she needed to shut everything down. However the state has only had a grand total of 1488 coronavirus-related deaths and yesterday, they had a mere 444 new cases. Meanwhile, unlike many liberal states that aggressively shut down their businesses, South Dakota’s economy hasn’t been decimated this year.
SD businesses cut the fewest hours and the fewest wages of any state in America. They had the lowest decrease in demand for their products and services. South Dakota’s economy took a hit when COVID came, just like every state, but we’ve come roaring back stronger than ever. (2/2)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) December 28, 2020
The national unemployment rate is 6.7% and states like New York and California that have heavily relied on lockdowns to control the coronavirus have unemployment rates over 8%. As you may have heard, people and businesses are fleeing both of those states. So, how is South Dakota doing on that front? It looks like they’re doing pretty well.
South Dakota's housing market is BOOMING. Folks want to live, work, and play in a state that respects Freedom and values personal responsibility.
If you agree, we'd love to have you join us! https://t.co/Je3iKRWekB
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) October 19, 2020
Those weren’t the only good things happening in South Dakota either.
2020 was a great year for South Dakota’s outdoors:
-Record number of visitors to our state parks
-Custer State Park eclipsed 2 million visitations for the first time ever
-Hunting and fishing participation increased
-Record number of licenses for youth mentored hunting
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) December 30, 2020
Unlike much of the country, South Dakota is seeing increasing tax revenues. In fact, we ended the 2020 fiscal year with a budget surplus and are able to look ahead to 2021 from a position of strength, which allows us to invest in ways to strengthen our state even further.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) December 29, 2020
How much of the economic misery we’ve seen this year was caused by the coronavirus and how much of it was actually caused by the overreaction of state governments to the coronavirus? South Dakota’s experience suggests most of the economic damage we saw this year was self-inflicted. That doesn’t mean the coronavirus isn’t serious and it doesn’t mean that we all shouldn’t take steps to avoid getting it. However, is it worth economically crushing a lot of small businesses and impoverishing so many people for lockdowns that don’t even seem to work? Some of us were asking that question months ago and South Dakota’s experience seems to suggest that we were on the right track.