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End the Lockdown!

Writing for AIER, David Henderson makes an informed, eloquent, and powerful case for governments to end the economic lockdown now. Read the whole thing, but here are a few slices:

Congress and the President quickly produced one of the most expensive spending bills in history, a bill that, tragically, will pay tens of millions of workers more to be unemployed than to work. The politicians claim that their spending is “stimulus,” but it’s not and it can’t be. A government cannot stimulate production that it has forbidden.

The only way to stimulate the economy is to liberate it. The people, all of us, need emancipation from the lockdown. And we need it now.

Many people fear the consequences of letting tens of millions of people go back to work. I’m afraid. But we can’t continue as we are. Some say that we need to discuss when to free up the economy. No. We needed to discuss it long ago. The time for discussion has passed. We are surrounded by wreckage. It should not last one more day.

Those who think discussion is needed before we take such a bold step should answer this: how much public discussion was there before March 16, when San Francisco Mayor London Breed, in what she called a “defining moment,” shut down most of San Francisco’s economy? Days later, did the county governments of California discuss with their citizens whether to impose “sheltering in place?” California’s governor? New York’s governor? Most of the other governors? No. Nor was there debate or much consultation on the White House’s sudden and shocking bans on international travel that have trapped possibly more than 100,000 American students abroad, forcibly separated from their families?

No, these leaders just did it.


If you add up all the suffering and death generated as a secondary effect of the shutdown, we are looking at carnage that could be in the same ballpark as COVID deaths. Emancipation now could in fact be a strategy for minimizing fatalities; it will certainly reduce overall social and economic disaster from the disease and the disastrous policy response.

It’s time to let us wash our hands and go to work.

Austria, Denmark, and the Czech Republic are now opening up. Sweden, South Korea, Japan, and even China have opened. Right now, in the United States, a thousand politicians are looking for political cover to reverse course. Let someone brave and bold step forward. History will consider that person a hero. A liberator!

And let’s not forget the fact that so many of us are losing social interaction. “Man is, by nature, a social animal,” said Aristotle and man, are we ever seeing how true that is. We are thinking, acting, creative beings. We have the capacity to achieve remarkable things, including responding to the enormous challenges of pandemic disease, but we must be free to do so.

Re-open the free society right now!