A number of newspaper columns have emerged since the struggle with the coronavirus took hold praising both government’s crucial role in a crisis and the sacrifices of workers who are in the front lines. They should be acknowledged. But also brought into clear focus is the importance of business to our everyday way of life beyond the period of emergency. 

The columns usually support a greater involvement of government in our lives and reject the idea of a limited government. As one writer put it in the Los Angeles Times, “We desperately need competence and courage in our government,” and added, Many Americans seem to view government as an impediment to the American dream.” 

No one disagrees that government should be competent and efficient, even those who don’t want government expanded to become too dominate in their lives. But the size and influence of government is a worthy discussion. In fact, the degree of control and reach of government was argued front and center in the recent Democratic presidential debates. 

While praise has rained on the public sector response and the frontline workers in the corona virus fight, business is also a key ingredient in our lives that should receive respect. Labor is occupying the front lines in the battle as we think of  medical and public health emergency workers, first responders, and grocery clerks, to mention a few. Business re-tools to manufacture the goods to combat the crisis while it is also becomes clear that the lack of business reduces jobs and opportunities to provide revenue for individuals and governments to build a well-functioning society.   

Over recent decades, California legislative battles often centered on business interests versus labor interests, both appealing to government to tip the scales in its favor. In recent times, labor has taken a clear advantage in the halls of the legislature.

But, in the current crisis that is enveloping the state and nation, it is certain that we need both areas functioning well for the general public to thrive. 

When government favors one side it upsets a needed balance. Seeing how this crisis involves government, labor and business, there is a lesson to be learned about the necessity of all in making our world work even after the emergency is past. 

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson trying to put partisan differences aside, famously said of the warring factions of the day, “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans; we are all Federalists.”

In that spirit, in the current climate we should understand how important it is to keep government, labor, and businesses healthy. 

The corona virus is putting immense strains on society and emphasizes the ability of people and factions to work together. Perhaps, the silver lining in the situation is for all sides to see the importance of the other and that the sentiment will last beyond the present crisis.