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Showing posts from March, 2020

Editorial: Coronavirus Shows Drawbacks of Statist Healthcare Systems

Data aggregated by RealClearPolitics indicates that the United States has 133,146 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus. We lead the world handily in infections, but surprisingly, we place  sixth for deaths: 2,363 Americans have died from the virus, a death rate of 1.77%. Out of the "top" thirty countries on RealClearPolitics' list, only six countries purport to have a lower death rate than the United States: Germany, South Korea (which leads the world in testing), Turkey, Austria, Ireland and Malaysia. The other 23 countries on the list have higher death rates despite a much lower number of infections. Italy clocks in at 11.03%, Spain at 8.38%, France at 6.49%, the United Kingdom at 6.29%, the Netherlands at 7.10%, Belgium at 3.98%, Switzerland at 2.02%, Sweden at 2.97%, and Denmark at 3.01%. Waiting room (The Federalist) I am deliberate in listing these countries: They are all developed, democratic Western nations with per-capita GDPs in the same neighborhood as th

City Journal: Bureaucracy Hindered Coronavirus Response

Last week, I published an editorial, " Coronavirus Shows Virtues of Limited Government ," which posits the coronavirus crisis as an affirmation of federalism and limited government. A core component of my argument is that the CDC and the FDA -- epitomes of Washington, D.C. bureaucracy -- suppressed private development of test kits. This led to a dearth of testing and limited information on the breadth of the domestic epidemic. Source: Wikimedia Commons My line of argument has been further developed by James R. Copland, writing in the public-policy review  City Journal . Bluntly, Copland notes, "Some of the holdups in the critical early U.S. testing effort read like paradigmatic illustrations of bureaucratic bloat." Copland elaborates, describing how early actions by the CDC and the FDA led to a shortage of tests: The reasons [for limited testing]: the American regulatory system, cumbersome even in emergency settings; and the specific choices made by regu

Editorial: Nancy Pelosi and the Role of Money

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have each proposed their own coronavirus-response legislation. Broadly speaking, the Senate bill is supply-side, focusing on relief for corporations, and the House bill is demand-side, focusing on relief for the public. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposal, called the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, would  give each American $1,500 (though there are restrictions on payouts for those making more than $75,000 annually). To enact these payouts, the bill calls for the creation of a digitalized dollar. Forbes reports , The bill establishes a digital dollar, which it defines as 'a balance expressed as a dollar value consisting of digital ledger entries that are recorded as liabilities in the accounts of any Federal Reserve Bank or ... an electronic unit of value, redeemable by an eligible financial institution (as determined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System).' Additionally, a digital

Editorial: America's Disconnected Political Class

As working-class North Carolinians scrimp and save their way through the coronavirus-fueled economic crisis, they can rest assured knowing that their United States senator -- Richard Burr -- relieved himself of our nation's collective struggle. U.S. Senator Richard Burr (Quartz) Burr, a Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and sits on the Senate Health Committee, has been briefed extensively on the Wuhan coronavirus. The New York Times ' David Leonhardt observes , "On January 24th, attended a private Senate briefing from senior government scientists about the seriousness of the coronavirus." Burr was so personally   shaken by what he heard that he sold off his stocks in hotel conglomerates. The Wall Street Journal reports , Mr. Burr ... made 33 stock trades on Feb. 13 worth between $628,000 and $1.7 million, according to the filings. Congressional rules require that trades be reported in ranges, not precise figures. ... Three of Mr. B

Editorial: Coronavirus Shows Virtues of Limited Government

The Wuhan coronavirus, which has consumed the lives of 7,330 people worldwide , has hundreds of millions of Americans on lockdown. If economic models prove correct, the pandemic will precipitate a contraction in the United States' economy; the Federal Reserve has responded by cutting the federal funds rate by a hundred basis points to 0-0.25%. It is obvious that the coronavirus will come with a multitude of consequences, many of them profoundly negative. However, one  positive  effect of the pandemic may be a renewed commitment to the founding principle of limited government, instituted in the U.S. through federalism. Federalism is an arrangement wherein the feds do what only the national government can do, e.g. maintaining a military, immigration standards, terms for foreign trade, tribunals for crimes committed across state borders, etc. This restriction of federal power, codified by Article One and the Bill of Rights, protects Americans from tyranny. Obviously, if govern