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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy applauds the creativity and compassion on display in the private sector [2]. A slice:

After what can only be described as a multilevel government failure that resulted in the United States having practically no coronavirus tests available for weeks after the onset of the pandemic, the private sector ramped up its production so much that we’re now testing 65,000 people every day. This number is bound to grow. The tests are a crucial component of making it through this crisis, and they’ll become even more accurate and deliver results faster as innovators do what they do best when they’re unhindered by silly or contradictory government regulations.

Vincent Geloso teaches us what Herbert Hoover inadvertently teaches us about reaction to COVID-19 [3]. A slice:

This bias in favor of draconian measures that avoid the stigma of the “do-nothing-Hoover” etiquette stems from the fact that these actions are observable. Even if they impose considerable costs to society at large [4] or hurt the poorest [5] most, they will be privileged over less easily observed but more efficient measures.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel rightly laments the self-serving cronyism – the “big government contagion” – of government ‘relief’ efforts [6]. A slice:

Government mostly “Cares” for government. Bills that hand out money are written by appropriators. And appropriators never miss an opportunity to expand departments, agencies, bureaus and commissions. A rough calculation suggests the single biggest recipient of taxpayer dollars in this legislation—far in excess of $600 billion—is government itself. This legislation may prove the biggest one-day expansion of government power ever.

And here’s Bruce Yandle on the massive relief bill from Washington [7].

David Henderson warns against being gullible about claims of scientific consensus [8]. (A note: I’m neither an epidemiologist nor a physician. I remain open to a wide range of claims about plausible scenarios both of just how contagious is the coronavirus and of its lethality. But I am an economist who has spent his adult lifetime – now one that’s been quite long – observing governments. As Vincent Geloso argues in the piece linked above, we must all expect that most government officials will opt for worst-case scenarios and trumpet these as though these scenarios are the only ones that are legitimate. Further, we should all – although, alas, we won’t all – recognize the grave danger of the viral expansion of government power.)

I was recently interviewed by Dan Proft [9].

Hans Eicholz reviews the great Stephen Davies’s The Wealth Explosion [10].

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