COVID’s Assault on Entrepreneurs

A lot has been written about great numbers of Minnesotans and Americans passionately disagreeing with one another about how and when to “open up” the state and country.  A lot also has been written about how great numbers of such contesting Americans live in separate worlds, some might say universes, albeit all in one country.

Peggy Noonan, for example, wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week about how there is a “class divide between those who are hardline on lockdowns and those who are pushing back.  We see the professionals on one side . . . and regular people on the other.”  She described this divide as the “protected versus the unprotected,” and made the inarguable point that “How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures.”

None of this is surprising in the smallest way.  Nor would it be even if the United States wasn’t home to nearly a third-of-billion, crazily diverse souls.

Yet even with such gulfs, recognition is universal that the economic toll Covid-19 is taking is immense.  Recognition is also universal, or at least should be, that one side of the divide is suffering economically more than the other, often immensely so.

Nonetheless, there are countless subsets of citizens overlapping the two mega-groups, one of which is business owners.  I’m thinking especially of men and women who not only run their operations, but conceived and started them, too.  There is no shortage of news accounts about how they, along with millions of other shopkeepers and businesspeople are bleeding money, and the pain of it all.  But much less has been written and spoken about the agony of losing one’s metaphoric baby.

My intent is not to separate out such men and women for extra concern or solace, though I may be doing so.  It’s certainly not to discount anyone else’s real pain.  But as someone who, more than 30 years ago, first conceived of a think tank, and then with the help of scores and hundreds of other people brought that baby to life, my cringing at what Covid is wrecking is accentuated when contemplating what so many entrepreneurs and builders now face.