As the number of new cases of coronavirus infections in the U.S. continues to level off at about 30,000 per day, and should soon start beginning to drop, America is thinking more and more about how to return to normal.
For example, restaurants in many different states are reopening with seating restrictions.
It turns out that Middle America is leading the way in loosening restrictions so that the economy can begin to reopen. It is urgent to begin doing this. We simply cannot stay locked down until an effective vaccine appears on the scene which may be many months, or even a year or more, from happening.
An at least temporary retreat of the regulatory state is helping this to happen. For example, medical personnel have been freed to practice across state lines. Obstacles to telemedicine are being dismantled by Medicare and Medicaid. Private firms are being liberated to develop Covid-19 and antibody tests. The FDA has authorized emergency use of the Gilead drug Remdesivir for Covid-19 patients.
Long term, the pandemic has exposed several weaknesses of overly strict central planning. For example:
- Net neutrality price controls on internet service providers, now overturned, never anticipated that the entire country would be simultaneously stuck at home, requiring much more flexibility for internet traffic.
- The 2010 Dodd-Frank law piled a multitude of unnecessary restrictions on small banks which prevent them from serving desperate small-business applicants at the present time.
- Obamacare outlawed short-term health insurance plans lasting more than three months (now loosened), not anticipating that millions of people could be thrown out of work, with no guarantee of being back in less than three months.
- Our decentralized federal system of government is now showing its great strength in the coronavirus pandemic.
Conclusion. Led by Middle America, the U.S. is now just starting to recover from the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This forward movement has been greatly aided by a loosening of various regulatory restrictions. Our decentralized federalist system is demonstrating its great strength and resilience.