Four weeks ago, Gov. Greg Abbot (R-TX) announced the end of the statewide mask mandate and completely lifted restrictions on businesses. The usual suspects howled with outrage, predicting that the move would drive up infections and kill Texans. Since the announcement, the seven-day average of infections has fallen 47 percent. Deaths are down 34 percent in just the last two weeks. Hospitalizations have fallen 25 percent.
And the economy is booming. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released the results of its March survey of manufacturing businesses on Monday. Economists had forecast the survey to show a decline in business conditions in the state, largely because of expected hangover effects from the February freeze that shut down 83 percent of Texas manufacturing businesses. After a score of 17 in February's survey, which was taken before the worst of the cold snap, economists forecast a decline to 12. Instead, the general conditions index soared to a score of 28.9. The production index jumped to the best level ever recorded in the 15-year history of the index. The capacity utilization index soared from 16.5 to 46.1, also an all-time high.
This is a promising sign for the economy as more and more states reopen. It will also make an important counterpoint when the conversation turns to who deserves credit for the expanding economy. Democrats will want to claim that much of the credit should go to the $1.9 trillion spending bill signed into law on March 11. But the Texas survey tells a different story. The economy was primed to grow swiftly even before the stimulus passed. The real key was lifting the lockdowns.
– Alex Marlow & John Carney
Breitbart News Network