A distinctive feature of Joe Biden’s presidency is the frequency with which his economic claims are rebutted by the government’s own statistics. One can find this disturbing or amusing—or perhaps both if one is determined to carry a good mood into the weekend while remaining clear-eyed about the country’s challenges.
Today in a Journal op-ed President Joe Biden follows up on a piece from last year in which he pretended to be the author of an economic rebound who took office amid a “stalled” recovery. Yet Mr. Biden’s own Commerce Department affirms that the U.S. economy was growing faster during the quarter he took office than it has in the two years since.
Mr. Biden is also once again posing as a deficit fighter, but this week’s monthly update from the Congressional Budget Office exposes this canard.
As in Britain, U.S. officials leaned on multiple private firms to suppress messages the government didn’t like.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) played a direct role in policing permissible speech on social media throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reason‘s Robby Soave reported in January. “Confidential emails obtained by Reason show that Facebook moderators were in constant contact with the CDC, and routinely asked government health officials to vet claims relating to the virus, mitigation efforts such as masks, and vaccines.”
[In 2021] New York led in net business out-migration (487), followed by California (456), Illinois (208), Maryland (50) and Pennsylvania (33). Florida (399), North Carolina (148), Nevada (103), Texas (103) and Tennessee (92) drew the most businesses from other states. All besides North Carolina have no income tax.
These figures probably underestimate the business migration that occurred early in the pandemic since they don’t capture larger firms shifting headquarters or workforces to other states. Texas saw a spike in headquarter relocations in 2020 (42) and 2021 (80), more than half of which came from California.
Early in the Covid pandemic concerns were raised that lockdown and other non-pharmaceutical interventions would cause significant multidimensional harm to society. This paper comprehensively evaluates the global state of knowledge on these adverse social impacts, with an emphasis on their type and magnitude during 2020 and 2021. A harm framework was developed spanning 10 categories: health, economy, income, food security, education, lifestyle, intimate relationships, community, environment and governance. The analysis synthesizes 600 publications with a focus on meta-analyses, systematic reviews, global reports and multi-country studies. This cumulative academic research shows that the collateral damage of the pandemic response was substantial, wide-ranging and will leave behind a legacy of harm for hundreds of millions of people in the years ahead. Many original predictions are broadly supported by the research data including: a rise in non-Covid excess mortality, mental health deterioration, child abuse and domestic violence, widening global inequality, food insecurity, lost educational opportunities, unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, social polarization, soaring debt, democratic backsliding and declining human rights. Young people, individuals and countries with lower socioeconomic status, women and those with pre-existing vulnerabilities were hit hardest. Societal harms should challenge the dominant mental model of the pandemic response: it is likely that many Covid policies caused more harm than benefit, although further research is needed to address knowledge gaps and explore policy trade-offs, especially at a country-level. Planning and response for future global health emergencies must integrate a wider range of expertise to account for and mitigate societal harms associated with government intervention.