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Opinion

Big Brother’s COVID Failures


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jan. 26, 2021 - 12:58 PM

Big Brother’s COVID Failures

Lawrence W. Reed, a resident of Newnan, is president emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education. His most recent book is “Was Jesus a Socialist?” He can be reached at lreed@fee.org .

In the early days of the COVID pandemic, a retired local high school teacher declared in these pages that capitalism was “woefully inadequate to sustain itself through any type of major crisis” and that “other economic theories and systems must intervene to save capitalism from itself.”

If you thought the pandemic was caused not by capitalism but by a virus from a communist country, you surely banged your head on the wall over that one! Some people’s bias is so deep and careless that they will pounce on anything to confirm their sweeping and superficial misconceptions.

Why are so many young people these days drawn to the moral and economic poison called socialism instead of the promise and success of entrepreneurial capitalism? Maybe it’s because that’s what they’re taught all too often in high-cost government schools. For that and other reasons, more and more parents are opting for private schools and homeschooling.

Well, now that we have a few months to look back, the absurdity of that teacher’s remark is even more evident. The pandemic is still with us, but enough has transpired so far to suggest we should thank our lucky stars for capitalism. We should also view with a healthy skepticism the way Big Government dealt with the crisis. Here’s why.

Incompetence, red tape and conflicting dictates from government agencies bungled the handling of the virus from the start. The rapid production of private testing kits was shut down early on by the CDC, which then put its own flawed, contaminated kits on the market. Vaccines were delayed for months because of the FDA’s bureaucratic bungling.

“Progressive” governors in states like New York, New Jersey and Michigan ordered COVID patients into nursing homes, resulting in the deaths of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens. “Progressive” mayors like Bill de Blasio of New York City ordered sustained lockdowns and business and school closures, even though the evidence is overwhelming that they do far more harm than good.

California has almost 20 percent of active COVID cases in spite of having the strictest lockdowns. Among many examples of governors and mayors caught defying their own restrictions (like California’s Newsom), almost all of them are the very “progressives” whose heavy-handed measures have destroyed businesses and livelihoods with little to show for it. They are also the ones who have caved to their friends in big-city teachers unions, who want paid whether schools are open or closed.

Meanwhile, private companies like Moderna and Pfizer have come up with vaccines in record time. Private firms have developed alternative learning platforms and communication tools such as Zoom. Restaurants, grocery stores and other private businesses have come up with heroic measures to serve customers safely, while clumsy government shuts things down without regard to all the actual, destructive effects.

Capitalism is proving, despite the obstacles that politicians put in its way, that it is far more adaptable and innovative when it comes to problem-solving than government know-it-alls. Pay no attention to the state worshipers who tell you that Big Brother knows best.

(Don’t take my word for it. In the comment section of the online version of this column, I will provide links to supporting material and sources).

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Lawrence W. Reed, a resident of Newnan, is president emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education. His most recent book is “Was Jesus a Socialist?” He can be reached at lreed@fee.org .