Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

The shutdown will be relaxed, one way or another.

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Time to use the other side of those signs. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If the politicians don’t start relaxing the lockdown and letting people pay their rapidly accumulating bills, bunches of people are going to take the initiative and do so on their own.

I sense there is a limited time for those in power to start loosening the extreme restrictions or people are going to start ignoring parts of the rules.

At a deeper level, the concern I have is what’s referred to as the “social contract.” Government gets its authority from consent of the governed.

If a large number of people get to the point of concluding the rules in places like California and Virginia are unnecessarily severe and are causing more health, mental, social, and economic damage than they prevent, people will conclude our leaders have broken the contract.

If we get to that point, respect for law and respect for public officials will decline. That is not a good place to go.

 

Next two articles point out a small number of people who have already reached that conclusion:

4/20/20 – Daily Wire – “Social Shredding”: Defiant Residents Grab Shovels, Dirt Bikes After Cali Authorities Dump Tons of Sand In Skateparks For ‘Social Distancing’ – Officials in San Clemente California noticed teenagers were committing the grave sin of skating in the city’s skate park. Well, that is patently unacceptable, so the city dumped 37 tons of sand into the skate park in an effort to shut down the skating. Since the park is at the beach, sand was readily available.

Well, the city officials did not take into consideration the incredible level of creativity present in humans, especially Americans.

A bunch of people grabbed their shovels and rearranged the sand just a bit. Turns out that sand dumped into a skate park levels out the bottom of the bowl-shaped areas and leads to a wonderful place to ride dirt bikes. Good sandy base creates a great place to take on the banked curves at the park.

Yes, the skate park is now a dirt bike park.

Check out the video at the end of the article. Those dirt bikers are having a great time, courtesy of the city.

4/25/20 – Victory Girls – Businesses Without Options Defy Closing Orders – Article pulls together other reporting on owners of four very small business owners who are opening up in spite of state demands they stay closed.

Owners make a variety of points. One salon owner is pregnant with young children at home – she not only wants to the years and her life savings invested in her business but she has this uncontrollable need to give her children food.

A restaurant owner explains he can provide a far safer environment than Cosco – how can there be 30 or 50 people run around in a neighborhood grocery store with minimal cleaning while he is capable of taking steps to mitigate risks. He would have all his servers wear masks, limit occupancy to 30%, and clean every dining area between customers.

There is a relatively small number of business owners who will choose to commit economic suicide.

Those two articles may describe just a small number of people. However, that is an ear-splitting warning broadcast for anyone perceptive enough to hear it.

 

Possibly, just possibly, huge numbers of hospitals are not going to die:

4/22/20 – Wall Street Journal – Hospitals Aim to Resume Procedures Postponed by Coronavirus – hospitals in several states, such as Texas, California, and Missouri will slowly start to resume surgeries. The entire health care sector has been devastated by the cessation of everything except coronavirus treatment and immediate emergencies. Hopefully this hold off the collapse of large number of hospitals.

 

Even California won’t commit complete economic suicide:

4/22/20 – PJ Media – Four Southern California Counties Start Declaring Independence From Wuhan Virus and the Governor – Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Orange counties will take teeny tiny steps to start opening the economy. Golf courses, horseback riding, and Mount Baldy ski resort will be opening up. It isn’t much in light of most of the economy collapsing, but it is a minor step in the right direction.

4/22/20 – The Mercury News – Coronavirus:  California hospitals can resume non-emergency surgeries – Urgent non-emergency surgeries will now be allowed in California. This includes chronic disease, heart valves, and tumors. This is good news. Perhaps we can bend the curve of uncounted deaths from the lockdown.

 

A growing number of officials seem to have taken the time to read the federal and state constitutions:

4/23/20 – Greenwich Time – “Constitutional sheriffs” won’t enforce coronavirus restrictions – Article says many sheriffs in Washington State are refusing to enforce the stay-at-home order. The Snohomish County Sheriff is quoted as saying the order from the governor “intrudes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Article says sheriffs from many other counties across the country are doing the same.

Article is critical of these sheriffs, alleging they are part of an alliance of “constitutionalist sheriffs.” Since these sheriffs are directly elected, article says they are not accountable to any other government authority. Silly me, I thought that was the point of directly electing sheriffs, mayors, county auditors/recorders, district attorneys, governors, secretaries of State, State treasurers, and Attorneys General.

To provide a sense of the author’s heavy-handed bias and blatant agenda, consider the following comments about these sheriffs. They:

…feel beholden to no one but their voters (silly me – I thought that was the point of elections – once every two years those folks have to listen to us)

…lead rebellions against higher levels of government

Sheriffs’ campaign platforms consist of their political and law-enforcement records, personal philosophies and policy priorities (which presumably the author would like us to believe is unlike every other elected politician who has ever run for any office in the entire history of this country)

…willing and able to lead local rebellions against the government

…use their offices to undermine enforcement of federal public land policies

…may find it in their political interest to thwart other levels of government (pursing one’s own political interest is apparently unlike every other politician ever elected)

 

More public rejection of the complete lockdown in California:

4/25/20 – Fox News – Thousands hit Southern California beaches to cool off amid coronavirus stay-at-home order – An estimated 40,000 people hit the various beaches in Newport Beach on Friday. This is reported to be somewhere around double the number from Thursday. Beaches were also open in Ventura and San Diego counties with many people enjoying the water.

The parking lots, piers, and boardwalks were closed to hold down crowds.

Article also says there were protests in San Diego and Huntington Beach asking the governor to reopen the state.

4/26/20 – Daily Bulletin – “You would think it was summer”: Heat wave brings crowd to Newport, other OC beaches amid coronavirus fears – I have learned over the years that it is exquisitely dangerous to reach any conclusions based on one photo that the media provides to us – the risk of manipulation and distortion is seriously high. At first glance the photo of Newport Beach on Saturday, 4/25, suggests an extremely crowded beach with people crowded around each other. The inference is all those people are being horribly irresponsible.

A few moments analysis of the photo shows that family units are typically separated by six or 10 feet. I can pick out only one group, consisting of about eight or 10 adults, that does not look like a single-family unit. Essentially everyone in the picture is in a self-isolated group.

Huge crowds showed up at Orange County beaches, which is understandable since it has been in the 90s for about four days in Southern California. Los Angeles County beaches are closed.

Multiple comments in the article reflect the panic which has been generated over the pandemic. In spite of the panic, thousands of people decided to vote with their feet to get fresh air and sunlight.

Written by Jim Ulvog

April 27, 2020, 10:35 am at 10:35 am

Posted in Economics, Pondering

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