Pundits demand “big, bold, expensive action from the government” to fight coronavirus, but the real unsung heroes are free individuals– doing what’s in their own interest.
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People who demanded government action got what they wanted: $2 trillion stimulus. That wasn’t enough for many — they wanted President Trump to use the “Defense Production Act” to force companies to make more medical supplies.
“What is the hold up?” demanded CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
President Trump, at first, wisely answered: “Call a person over in Venezuela. Ask them, ‘how did nationalization of their businesses work out?’ Not too well.”
He was right to point that out. Government interference with business leads to higher costs, less flexibility, and less production. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but government mismanaged the state oil company so badly that the country can no longer even ensure oil for its own citizens.
Although Trump got that right — within a week, after getting tired of negotiating with General Motors over ventilator production, he used the Defense Production Act to order the company to make them. Such top-down dictates will lead to less productivity in the long run.
Free individuals would — and already are — meeting our needs in this coronavirus pandemic. Here are just some of the ways:
— Tesla is retooling its solar panel factory to make ventilators
— Fabric companies are producing masks for hospitals
— Alcohol distillers are making hand sanitizer instead of liquor
— Truckers are working overtime to get goods to stores (government limits truckers to 11 hours of work a day; that regulation has been waived during the pandemic)
— Musicians broadcast their live shows online
— Supermarkets created seniors-only hours to make shopping safer for the elderly
Those are just a few of the things free people are doing to fight the pandemic, acting voluntarily and in their own interest. Those people, not the politicians, are real unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.