Dan Mitchell article “Long-Run Policy Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic”

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Long-Run Policy Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic

Between March 2020 and January 2021, I authored a five-part series (see herehereherehere, and here) on how big government hindered a quick and effective response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In this discussion with Brad Polumbo, I summarize some of my key points.

While I criticized the dismal performance of the FDACDC, and WHO, I also explained that there are costs and benefits to any approach.

I largely focus on the deleterious impact of government regulation and intervention, but I mentioned in the discussion that a laissez-faire approach has potential downsides.

My argument is simply that markets, on balance, will produce better outcomes.

For instance, Brad and I discussed how government regulators at the Food and Drug Administration did something good many decades ago by prohibiting thalidomide (which led to birth defects), but we also mentioned that academic research showsthat our regulatory apparatus – on net – leads to bad outcomes because of lengthy delays in life-saving and live-improving drugs.

And we shouldn’t forget that the current system makes drugs far more expensive.

There are two other parts of the interview that merit special attention.

  • First, I mention that private companies should be allowed to require “vaccine passports.” I’m not saying they should, but I believe in property rights so it’s not the role of politicians to interfere in that choice.
  • Second, politicians should have adopted a more hands-off approach to mandatory lockdowns. This is not an argument against social distancing, masking, and other prudent behaviors, but mandates were largely unnecessary (and, in the case of what stores were allowed to operate, pointlessly discriminatory).

And I should have mentioned that politicians often didn’t follow the rules that they imposed on the rest of us.

P.S. The silver lining to the pandemic’s dark cloud is that we got some clever humor (see hereherehereherehereherehereherehere, and here).

P.P.S. Actually, there’s a second silver lining. There’s been a lot of progress on school choice this year, which is partly a response to the self-serving actions of the government school monopoly during the pandemic.

P.P.P.S. There may even be a third silver lining. As mentioned in the discussion, I’m slightly hopeful that politicians and bureaucrats have learned that we need to set aside regulations and red tape, at least during emergencies. Heck, maybe they’ll even apply that lesson more broadly!


A.F. Branco’s cartoons are in high demand as he slays dragons of Leftist Lunacy with his razor-sharp humor. He has appeared on Fox News, “The Larry Elder Show,” “The Lars Larson Show” and more. Read his full bio here.

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A.F. BRANCO February 17, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 16, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 15, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 14, 2021

Branco cartoon

Where does Branco get his news from? Yes, Fox News, but also the BBC, the Drudge Report, CNN, CBC and NPR.

Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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A.F. BRANCO February 13, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 12, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 11, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 10, 2021

Recently Published

A.F. BRANCO February 17, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 16, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 15, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 14, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 13, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 12, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 11, 2021A.F. BRANCO February 10, 2021

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