THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: Cascading impacts of an epidemic

On an average day in America, over 38 Million people will buy a cup of coffee at a Starbucks franchise. That's about 10% of the US population. Starbucks stores are mostly owned by private Franchisees, small business owners operating a store they own but under license from Starbucks corporate. The average Starbucks Franchise operates on a 5-7% margin, meaning the operating costs of supplies, electricity, employee salaries, taxes, etc leave the business owner with a net profit of around 5-7% every month after all costs are deducted from all sales. Said another way, out of the typical month, the average Starbucks franchise only makes a profit based on about 2 days worth of operations each month...28 other days every month, all sales go to cover costs of operating a franchise.

Now, imagine you receive an email from your HR Manager or maybe the CEO at work. Due to the risk of Coronavirus, all employees are being asked to work from home for the next two weeks at least, effective immediately. You have your laptop, the internet stays up, and you already made your Costco run for canned goods, beans, rice and plenty of toilet paper. You're set. The Kids are going to stay home from school, you update your Netflix and Disney Plus subscriptions, and prepare yourself mentally for a 2 week "Bug In" semi-quarantine at home. Local governments ask residents to stay put and stay off the streets as much as possible to avoid inadvertently spreading COVID-19. As a responsible American, you plan on doing precisely as asked.

Back at the Starbucks, foot traffic grinds to a halt. In local businesses that are heavily dependent on daily cash sales, a rapid and sudden decline in sales has dramatic consequences. Operating costs of a store don't decline with the drop in foot traffic. It costs the same amount to run your daily business when the store is busy as it does when the store is empty. Employee salaries, electricity to keep the lights on, rent and insurance, license fees to Starbucks corporate, costs to brew coffee and bake muffins all remain the same, whether you have 1000 customers or 10 customers. And with only 2 days per month actually driving the profit of any given store, a two-week period with virtually no foot traffic is devastating.

And with only 2 days per month actually driving the profit of any given store, a two-week period with virtually no foot traffic is devastating.

The store owner does what they have to do. They start cutting back hours and shifts for employees, perhaps even laying workers off and moving to 'skeleton crews'. The loss of work for hourly employees means those workers may not be able to pay rent, or may not be able to make student loan payments or car payments, can't make credit card payments. Without ongoing sales coming in, the store owner has to dip into savings to cover expenses, selling stocks or bonds to raise cash to try to stay afloat.
Think of all the other things that you don't spend money on during your bug-in at home. No trips to the movie theater, who also have the same operating costs whether or not the theater is full. They still have to pay salaries, still have to pay licensing for showing films, whether there are 5 people in the auditorium or 500. While quarantined at home, you aren't stopping for gasoline, aren't buying that Mountain Dew fountain drink that is your guilty pleasure on Saturday morning while driving your kids to Soccer.
More than 6 million small businesses in America are heavily reliant on the daily foot traffic of customers walking into their store and making cash purchases. While online orders via Amazon might have an uptick if tens of millions of Americans are forced to "Bug In" and some restaurants might see orders via food-delivery apps stay steady, there are millions of businesses, from laundromats to theaters to bars to Starbucks stores that rely on classic consumerism to stay afloat.

This is the potential catastrophic butterfly effect of an epidemic like COVID-19. A massive change in consumer behavior can have an outsized effect on certain parts of the economy that rely on regular, steady income via cash sales at retail locations. 6 Million businesses in America, representing over 78 Million employees fall into this category, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. If America is forced to 'shut down' and self-isolate at home, while some spending may shift ONLINE, the direct economic impact to small-business America could be extremely damaging and have lasting effects. Most small businesses in America have less than 45 days operating capital at any given time. A multi-week disruption to in-store sales can have severe, cascading effects, leading to layoffs, losses in wages. Stores close. Higher unemployment.

For many businesses in America, the economic-contagion may be far worse than the virus itself.

We're barely starting to feel the effects of COVID-19. For many businesses in America, the economic-contagion may be far worse than the virus itself. Amazon and Netflix will probably be fine. There may be some pain on Wall-Street today but the pain on Main Street could end up being far worse. If what we're seeing in Korea, China, Japan, Italy and even in Seattle are any indicators, this type of localized shut down of foot traffic due to COVID-19 is exactly what America is going to have to endure.

This year marks the four hundredth anniversary of the first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims and their Wampanoag allies in 1621. Tragically, nearly half of the Pilgrims had died by famine and disease during their first year. However, they had been met by native Americans such as Samoset and Squanto who miraculously spoke English and taught the Pilgrims how to survive in the New World. That fall the Pilgrims, despite all the hardships, found much to praise God for and they were joined by Chief Massasoit and his ninety braves came who feasted and celebrated for three days with the fifty or so surviving Pilgrims.

It is often forgotten, however, that after the first Thanksgiving everything was not smooth sailing for the Pilgrims. Indeed, shortly thereafter they endured a time of crop failure and extreme difficulties including starvation and general lack. But why did this happen? Well, at that time the Pilgrims operated under what is called the "common storehouse" system. In its essence it was basically socialism. People were assigned jobs and the fruits of their labor would be redistributed throughout the people not based on how much work you did but how much you supposedly needed.

The problem with this mode of economics is that it only fails every time. Even the Pilgrims, who were a small group with relatively homogeneous beliefs were unable to successfully operate under a socialistic system without starvation and death being only moments away. Governor William Bradford explained that under the common storehouse the people began to "allege weakness and inability" because no matter how much or how little work someone did they still were given the same amount of food. Unsurprisingly this, "was found to breed much confusion and discontent."[1]

The Pilgrims, however, were not the type of people to keep doing what does not work. And so, "they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery."[2] And, "after much debate of things" the Pilgrims under the direction of William Bradford, decided that each family ought to "trust to themselves" and keep what they produced instead of putting it into a common storehouse.[3] In essence, the Pilgrims decided to abandon the socialism which had led them to starvation and instead adopt the tenants of the free market.

And what was the result of this change? Well, according to Bradford, this change of course, "had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been."[4] Eventually, the Pilgrims became a fiscally successful colony, paid off their enormous debt, and founded some of the earliest trading posts with the surrounding Indian tribes including the Aptucxet, Metteneque, and Cushnoc locations. In short, it represented one of the most significant economic revolutions which determined the early characteristics of the American nation.

The Pilgrims, of course, did not simply invent these ideas out of thin air but they instead grew out of the intimate familiarity the Pilgrims had with the Bible. The Scriptures provide clear principles for establishing a successful economic system which the Pilgrims looked to. For example, Proverbs 12:11 says, "He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread." So the Pilgrims purchased land from the Indians and designated lots for every family to individually grow food for themselves. After all, 1 Timothy 5:8 declares, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

We often think that the battle against Socialism is a new fight sprouting out of the writings of Karl Marx which are so blindly and foolishly followed today by those deceived by leftist irrationality. However, America's fight against the evil of socialism goes back even to our very founding during the colonial period. Thankfully, our forefathers decided to reject the tenants of socialism and instead build their new colony upon the ideology of freedom, liberty, hard work, and individual responsibility.

So, this Thanksgiving, let's thank the Pilgrims for defeating socialism and let us look to their example today in our ongoing struggle for freedom.

[1] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 135.

[2] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 134.

[3] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 134.

[4] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 135.

Like most people, biologist and science journalist Matt Ridley just wants the truth. When it comes to the origin of COVID-19, that is a tall order. Was it human-made? Did it leak from a laboratory? What is the role of gain-of-function research? Why China, why now?

Ridley's latest book, "Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19," is a scientific quest to answer these questions and more. A year ago, you would have been kicked off Facebook for suggesting COVID originated in a lab. For most of the pandemic, the left practically worshipped Dr. Anthony Fauci. But lately, people have been poking around. And one of the names that appears again and again is Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance and a longtime collaborator and funder of the virus-hunting work at Wuhan Institute of Virology.

If you watched Glenn Beck's special last week, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie," you learned some very disturbing things about what our government officials — like Dr. Fauci — were doing around the beginning of the pandemic. On the latest "Glenn Beck Podcast," Glenn sat down with Ridley to review what he and "Viral" co-author Alina Chan found while researching — including a "fascinating little wrinkle" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology called "7896."

Watch the video clip below or find the full interview with Matt Ridley here:

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Dr. Anthony Fauci's arrogance is out of control and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is one of the only members of Congress calling him out to his face. Last week, Glenn Beck exposed the truth about what happened leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, who the top players in government and science were, and what their real response was in the first days of the pandemic during a live special, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie." Sen. Paul joined Glenn on the radio program to review some of the facts uncovered during the special and to explain his next steps moving forward in Congress.

Paul said it's "amazing" that so few on the opposite side of the political aisle seem to care about the dangers gain-of-function research poses to the world. COVID-19 has a 1% mortality rate yet it still managed to cause massive destruction around the world, he said. So, what if the next mistake results in a leaked virus with a 50% mortality rate? Because scientists are researching viruses as dangerous as that, Sen. Paul explained, and some — including Fauci — believe the risks are worth it.

"It is kind of amazing, particularly that no one from the opposite side of the aisle seems to care at all about the dangerousness of this virus and that it might have come from a lab, and in all likelihood did come from a lab," Paul said. "Not one Democrat is curious at all. You know, you would think that Democrats have at least some sensibilities about the danger of things. They tend to be the ones who want to regulate away the things that could be dangerous in the workplace. Yet they don't seem to care about something that could kill millions and likely did kill millions of people. This virus has a 1% mortality and killed 5 million people so far, around the world. Can you imagine if the next one that comes out of the lab has 15% or 50% mortality? And they are doing experiments, as we speak, with viruses that have 50% mortality, and Fauci seems to have no problem with this. He says we weigh the risks verses the benefits of the research, and he comes down on the side that the risks are worth it."

"All of humanity could be wiped out if they make [another] tragic error," Glenn responded. "This is not something that the elites should be the ones making the decision. We should all be involved in these decisions. There's no bigger decision to make than, 'should we be playing around with things that don't exist necessarily in nature that have jumped to humans?' Should we be playing around with these things, making [dangerous viruses], so in case it jumps to humans, we can kill it with a vaccine? This is insanity. Insanity. Especially with arrogance coupled to it."

Sen. Paul went on to point out the additional dangers of allowing any one person to have too much authority, particularly, as in the case of Dr. Fauci, a person with casual disregard for both science and individual liberty.

"Fauci not only has a casual disregard for science, but also for individual liberty. You combine the two — ignoring the science, and then having no regard at all for individual liberty — and you have a really dangerous situation. But it's also dangerous because we've centralized the authority," Paul explained.

"Look, I have opinions on where the virus came from. I have opinions on how to treat it. But they're my opinions, you don't have to take them. If you agree with me, you can listen to my opinions. With Dr. Fauci, it's not the same. He has opinions, but he wants you to be forced to do as he says. So it is the difference between coercion and freedom. And in freedom, there are many choices. But the real danger is, as we centralize authority, ultimately you get authoritarianism. And I think that he could easily be a medical dictator, if he were allowed to be."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation, or watch Glenn's special, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie," on YouTube or BlazeTV.com now.

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Note: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID related questions & concerns.

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COVID-19 changed everything. The way we live our lives, how we operate our businesses, how we see each other. And now, the federal government is sinking its tendrils even deeper, threatening the fabric not only of our bodily autonomy, but of the republic.

Our American way of life may never be the same. To save it, we must understand the key fundamentals of the pandemic that transfigured our society into the nightmare it is today. What is the COVID-19 origin story? Who are its top players in government and science, pulling the strings? What was their REAL response in the first days of the pandemic? The answers to these questions are frightening.

Emails, documents, and federal contracts tell a dark story that is still dominating our lives. It's time to cast a light on the shocking truth. Because only with the truth can we emerge from the darkness of this "pandemic" and take back the liberty stolen from us.

This is Glenn Beck's most important chalkboard of his life. And the most pivotal time in yours.

Watch the full special below:

View the research and supporting documents for this special here.

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