Voters in the United States now have a chance to punish politicians who endorsed crippling lockdowns during the Covid panic. Meanwhile in China, citizens who are not allowed to choose their leaders seem to be taking extreme measures to escape continuing lockdowns. And now Chinese citizens may have even more reason to blame the communist regime for its actions at the dawn of the Covid era.
Martin Quin Pollard and Bernard Orr report for Reuters on the workers at a Chinese plant that does manufacturing for Apple Inc.:
In Zhengzhou, a Foxconn plant that makes iPhones and employs about 200,000 people has been rocked by discontent over stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, with numerous staff fleeing the facility, prompting nearby cities to draw up plans to isolate migrant workers returning to their home towns.
Of course the virus is a monster for some while posing little risk to others. The world-wide failure of public health authorities to focus on the vulnerable while discouraging broad lockdowns will haunt people around the world for years.
So in the last 24 hours, China has:
🇨🇳 Locked down over 230 million people
🇨🇳 Trapped visitors at a Disney theme park
🇨🇳 Caused employees to flee an Apple factory
🇨🇳 Seen its stocks fall to the lowest levels since 2005
But yeah, Zero-Covid would have worked great in the U.S.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many bad policies being implemented. We need accountability so that we never institute these policies again. Let me enumerate some structural solutions
- The person who heads the National Institutes of Health funding (or any of the Institutes) should not be setting federal policy. Either decide who gets funded, or set policy, you can’t do both. It’s a problematic dual role. Nobody will want to criticize you because they’ll fear retribution with funding.
- With novel scientific problems, and unprecedented responses, you need to have a series of public debates. I didn’t sign the Great Barrington declaration, but I can read it today and know that no one was closer to the truth about schools than the authors. At the same time they were demonized by Fauci and Collins, who called them Fringe epidemiologists. This was inappropriate. In times of crisis, we need to have big debates in academic institutions. We should not silence or censor people. We need to foster disagreement, not stifle it.
- The Federal government, and anyone who works for it, should never be telling social media companies who they should throw off the platform. This is absolutely unacceptable.
- Social media platforms should never try to regulate discussion around scientific issues. They do not have the expertise in-house to decide what is truth or fiction. Censorship is a fool’s errand.
11. Vaccine makers should not be shielded from litigation for vaccine adverse events. People who mandate vaccines should also be subject to litigation. In America, the only retribution is litigation. If you mandate a booster in a 26-year-old man and he has myocarditis, he should be able to sue the s*** out of you.
But today’s SEC leadership—which as of August had proposed 26 new rules this year alone—is ignoring the real-world effects of its regulations on market participants. Its approach can be described as “regulation by hypothesis.” If not remedied, it will prove disastrous.
Examples of this pedantic approach to regulation abound. Take the SEC’s current rule proposal on money-market funds, which would require certain institutional money market funds to “swing,” or adjust the fund’s net asset value in the event of net redemptions. Swing pricing would remove features that investors value, such as same-day settlement and multiple net-asset-value strikes per day, and impose unpredictable costs. It may sound good in theory, proposing a way to charge investors leaving a fund, but in reality it will fundamentally alter the product, making it unattractive to investors and forcing sponsors to close and stop offering the funds. So much for healthy capital markets.
The new craze is “de-growth.” Proponents demand we “put well-being ahead of profit.” Normally, I’d say “Pfffft, ignore them,” but none other than the Davos dudes of the World Economic Forum are featuring arguments for de-growth. Weird because mostly growing global companies pay the WEF’s bills—tributes to the woke dons. The WEF’s website is filled with scholar-infested nonsense including a video asking, “What would a post-economic-growth world look like?”
It wouldn’t be pretty. Like Manta rays that must keep swimming or die (sharks too), societies that don’t grow eventually devolve into oppression, chaos, anarchy and then ruin. The Roman Empire. The Soviet Union. Venezuela. De-growth is living with less. Capitalism’s productivity is doing more with less. Big difference.
Taxes on capital also reduce saving by reducing the after-tax returns on investments. These include property taxes that, while relatively small percentages of the capital invested, are sizable fractions of the annual income generated. Then state and federal (and sometimes local) corporate taxes take further bites from income, reducing the after-tax return still more. The implicit “tax” imposed by expanding regulatory burdens must also be borne, before earnings can go to investors.
The treason dragnet is going to have to go way beyond Cato and Mercatus. Support for free international trade—and by implication, opposition to mercantilist holdovers like the Jones Act—is more or less universal within the economics profession regardless of ideology. In 2017, NPR’s Planet Money did an episode on the Jones Act’s absurdity that featured Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a notable man of the left. He’s hardly anyone’s idea of a free market zealot.
I’ve done contract work for both Cato and Mercatus and have long admired how they have defended the principles underlying free and prosperous societies. If joining an economists’ consensus on a policy that wastes resources and impoverishes the country is treason, then I guess that makes just about every economist in the country guilty.