Reason Roundup

The Coronavirus Debate Was Bernie Sanders' Last Chance. He Blew It.

Joe Biden rightly noted that Medicare for All "would not solve the problem" posed by the coronavirus.


Last night's Democratic debate was possibly the last chance for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) to turn the tables against former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the party's presidential nomination. But his plan to wholly transform vast sections of the U.S. economy seems unlikely to be particularly attractive to the public right now, given the country's current sense of dread.

The coronavirus pandemic loomed large over the proceedings: Biden and Sanders bumped elbows in lieu of shaking hands, stood at podiums that were several feet apart, and delivered their remarks to an empty audience (a dramatic improvement: thank you, social distancing). Moderators Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, and Ilia Calderon began by asking the candidates how they would deal with the crisis, and Biden attempted to reassure viewers that he would harness the full reach of the federal government to confront COVID-19.

"We need to act swiftly and very thoroughly, and in concert with all the forces we need to bring to bear to confront this crisis now," said Biden.

Sanders vowed the same but tried to pivot to his usual talking points: transformational economic change, Medicare for All, etc.

"Let's be honest and understand that this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunction of our current health care system," said Sanders. "We are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people. We're spending so much money and yet we are not even prepared for this pandemic."

Biden countered that Italy has a single-payer health care system and this hasn't helped the country deal with coronavirus. "It doesn't work there," said Biden.

When asked how to address the economic impact of the crisis, Sanders brought up income inequality:

We have more income and wealth inequality in America today than any time in 100 years. And what that means that in the midst of this crisis, you know, if you're a multimillionaire, no one is happy about this crisis, you're going to get through it. You're going to get everything you need. You're not worried about health care. You're not worried about income coming in.

Half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. We've got people who are struggling working two or three jobs to put food on the table. What is going to happen to them? So the lesson to be learned is we have got to move aggressively right now to address the economic crisis as a result of…the coronavirus, what we have got to do also is understand the fragility of the economy and how unjust and unfair it is that so few have so much and so many have so little.

Sanders also stated that the U.S. government's job "is to tell every working person, no matter what your income is, you are not going to suffer as a result of this crisis." This is of course an impossible promise—even if the government took strong action to bail out various sectors of the economy, forgive some debts, or pay people who can't work right now, many Americans would still suffer adverse economic outcomes due to the virus.

When the debate finally turned to other matters, Sanders hammered Biden more successfully by bringing up the frontrunner's long history of bad Senate votes: on the Defense of Marriage Act, the Iraq War, etc. He was definitely a bit sharper and more focused than Biden throughout. But at this time of national crisis, Biden's comparatively comforting message seems like the better sell—or at least, more than adequate to maintain his decisive lead.

Read a full transcript of the debate here.


Economist Tyler Cowen highlights a list of proposals for funding coronavirus research on his Marginal Revolution blog:

This is (by far) the best document I have seen on what to do on the medical side.  It is about 3 pp. long and I believe it will be updated periodically.  Excerpt:

  • Consider guaranteeing top tier treatment and ICU beds for people directly working on treatments or vaccines. We need to keep relevant science labs open. (They're likely to be closed as things stand.) No doubt logistically challenging but may be necessary. Can you get scientists to keep going without this?
  • Announce $10B prizes for first vaccine and for first cure. Think about mechanics. Should there be awards for second place, too? How should collaboration be factored in?
  • Issue $1B of research grants to all competent labs and organizations that could plausibly use them. They just have to report on progress every 30 days and require that they actively share all progress with other labs.
  • Proposed structure: $100M to each of 5 companies.

Check out the rest of the post here.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been a significant obstacle in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Massachusetts General Hospital President Peter Slavin reminded Meet the Press viewers of this yesterday when host Chuck Todd thunderously demanded that Slavin explain why it had taken so long for "private facilities and university facilities" to provide COVID-19 testing.

"Well it was just the day before yesterday that we got regulatory relief from the FDA so that we didn't need to jump through all sorts of hoops," Slavin responded.

The best thing federal regulatory agencies can do to stop coronavirus right now is to speedily step out of the way. No libertarians in a pandemic? Nonsense.


  • More debate news: Biden promised to pick a woman to be his vice presidential candidate. Sanders said that he would "in all likelihood" pick a woman as well.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all events including more than 50 people be canceled for at least eight weeks. This has plenty of people wondering whether Tuesday's primaries should proceed as planned.
  • State and local governments are instructing restaurants to shut down. New York City has ordered all establishments to close, and D.C. is implementing strict occupancy limits.
  • Andrew Gillum, a former Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, announced he would enter rehab after being caught in an embarrassing incident over the weekend.
  • Missing sports? I've got you covered:

NEXT: Price-Gouging Laws Will Do More Harm Than Good During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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  1. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So if there is a silver lining to this crisis, it’s visible in the skies above China. The dramatic slowdown in manufacturing and driving has caused a reduction in carbon emissions. We’ve all seen these NASA satellite images which show the improvement in China’s air quality.

    1. Smog or being among the living.

      These types of horrible decisions are what Socialism brings you.

    2. It’s no secret that ecofascists see humanity as a cancer on Gaia and love pandemics-the higher the body count, the better! I’m sure little Greta is smiling and doing a dance for every thousand of deaths reported

      1. She would probably like to crash passenger jets full of wasteful westerners into centers of global capitalism and their military cronies.

        Hmm, that sounds familiar for some reason…

    3. It’s funny how these people end up sounding like the Unabomber when they say stuff like this.

  2. Joe Biden rightly noted that Medicare-for-all “would not solve the problem” posed by the coronavirus.

    Not with that attitude.

    1. The politics of “can’t” on full display last night. We need to dream bigger.


    Joe Biden promised to stop all new drilling for oil to the greatest extent possible and to ban fracking. Funny how that isn’t getting any play in the media. Joe is pledging to make the country poor and dependent on Russia and Saudi Arabia for its energy. But remember, it is Trump who is Putin’s puppet.

    1. Depend on Russia and SA for energy, depend on China for manufacturing and medical supplies, support Iran as a counter to the USA in the mid east. Exactly who are the foreign puppets?

      1. FREE MARKETS*

        Except our own.

    2. Shit it might be an academic question by the next year.

      1. That the Democrats are under the pay of the Chinese and Saudis? It probably will be. Who knows what is going to come out once the full Russiagate truth is revealed. The upside is that I doubt many of their hard core base will care. But, I think it will ensure they are a minority party for a while.

        1. Speaking of which…

          Multiple news media outlets pushing China propaganda about Covid19. Includes NYT.

          Glad sqrsly, jeff, and Vince’s odd the world dont use these sites as regular sources.

          1. Between payoffs to politicians, and their families *Cough*Hunter*Biden*Cough* and threats to not let the next big budget Hollywood film in to control the media, our ruling class pretty much does what China wants.

          2. They all called it the Wuhan Virus until the Chinese government started demanding that it not be associated with it. Then the media decided it was racist to refer to a virus by the place from which it originated.

            Most of the major media seems to be on the Chinese government payroll in some way or another. They are all straight up agents of the Chinese government. It explains a lot of the TDS. The Chinese are desperate to get someone more friendly to their interests elected President.

            After all of the psychoanalysis and speculation over why the media has totally lost its mind over Trump and been so willing to throw away its credibility, it all comes down to “follow the money”. I doubt there is anything more complicated than the media wanting to get paid and the Chinese being willing to do so.

            1. Most of the major media seems to be on the Chinese government payroll in some way or another.

              I doubt it’s that so much as the herd mentality of the modern press. Some assmad SJW journalist tweets out how racist it is to associate the illness with China, and the Twitter network eventually makes it conventional wisdom as the tweet and its children reproduce like cancer cells.

              1. The corporate media is not that benign.

              2. All of the above can be true

            2. “The Chinese are desperate to get someone more friendly to their interests elected President.”

              Yep. It’s why I’m surprised Trump is still around. Trump’s ideas will largely die with Trump, unless you see a leader in the GOP who’ll pick them up and run with them. I don’t.

              A whole lot of powerful people’s rice bowls get filled again if Trump isn’t around anymore. I pray for the dude’s safety. I’ve actually grown to like the guy: shitposting, malapropisms, arrogant anti-intellectualism, and all.

              1. The Democrat Party will be a nationally dead political party by the time Trump’s second term ends in 2025.

                1. We heard liberals make the same claim about the GOP in Nov. 2008. Pendulums are funny things.

                  1. If the democrats regain control, it will be time for torches and pitchforks. Or maybe AR-14’s.

      2. “Shit it might be an academic question by the next year.”

        Does being a lefty make you gullible, or do you become so ass a result?

    3. +10000

      The Lefty Propagandists in the media are too busy trying to hysteria America into the ground.

    4. Did anyone else notice Biden’s 1000 yard stare? I’ve seen this before on a family friend who had Alzheimer’s, not kidding!

      1. More BDS. Lets deal with the facts Joe Biden is competent and President Trump is not.

        1. Someone doesn’t know what “facts” mean.

        2. Joe Biden is competent

          That should be a real boost to his candidacy for the Senate.

          1. And if you don’t think so, you can vote for the other Biden.

        3. That would be funny if I didn’t know you were actually stupid and credulous enough to really believe that.

    5. Absolutely insane. In a rational world, that would cost him Pennsylvania, at a minimum.

      Whole lot of people like their royalty checks from fracked gas.

    6. Saudi Arabia and Russia already beat Biden to it. Their current oil war is making fracking unprofitable.

      1. Neither can afford to keep it up for long. Both countries buy off their dissatisfied with proceeds from their major export, which is O&G.

        Although EU NG prices haven’t fallen as precipitously as WTI and Brent. NG prices fall too low, and Russia will have an existential crisis. Those usually end badly for everyone.

  4. Announce $10B prizes for first vaccine and for first cure. Think about mechanics. Should there be awards for second place, too?

    Third prize is you’re fired.

    1. Fourth place you are the first test case.

    2. Coffee is for coughers.

  5. Biden promised to pick a woman to be his vice presidential candidate. Sanders said that he would “in all likelihood” pick a woman as well.

    Aaaaaaaaaand they lost the trans vote.

    1. feminists need to do a better job of explaining that so-called “real” women are women too

    2. what, all 3.5 of them?

      1. They identify as a much larger portion of the electorate, you bigot.

        1. numbers and statistics are literally white male oppression.

          1. Just like biology!

    3. Transmen aren’t women in all likelihood?

  6. Paraphrased from Twitter: the same millennials demanding the government tell everyone what to do are now telling the CDC to STFU and stop telling them not to go out and hit the bars.

    1. Police officers used tear gas to disperse a disruptive crowd of West Virginia University students Thursday, a press release from the Morgantown Police Department stated. The incident involving a crowd of what appeared to be at least dozens packed into a small area occurred as universities, including WVU, as well as the federal government is warning Americans to practice “social distancing” in effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

      According to police, ten students were charged on counts ranging from nuisance party to public intoxication and underage consumption.

      Officers arrived on the scene to find “a very large crowd, blocking the street, congregating on rooftops, consuming alcohol, and creating a very large disturbance in the neighborhood,” MPD reported. As officers went door to door directing students to disperse, “suspects began throwing beer bottles, beer cans and other debris at the officers.”

      1. So West Virginia students are doing the exact same shit they did 20 years ago?

        1. and every time they win a game


    3. Gunnison county, CO has announced a ban on people over 59 in restaurants and bars.

      Millenial paradise?

      1. Tired of those senior discounts.

    4. Big government is all fun and games until it starts restricting your fun and games.

  7. The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that all events including more than 50 people be canceled for at least eight weeks.

    Arbitrary numbers are science.

    1. Arbitrary or not, as long as the House and the Senate are now in recess for the duration, I’ll take it.

    2. The 51st person should be shot.

      1. I thought we were supposed to sacrifice them to the gods? Oops.

        1. The elder gods. Vote for Chthulhu, kids: sacrifice a person today.

          Chthulhu has all the qualifications you need for president:
          -he’s super old
          -he’s the greatest evil (why vote for the lesser? losers all).
          -He will solve pollution, healthcare shortages, and overpopulation by consuming us all when the stars are right.

          1. You make for a compelling case sir

    3. The irony of all these venues like Disneyland being closed is that they’d actually be tolerable from a crowding standpoint since they’re not being overrun with Chinese tourists right now.

  8. Andrew Gillum, a former Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, announced he would enter rehab after being caught in an embarrassing incident over the weekend.

    What kind of libertarian labels that behavior embarrassing?

    1. The kind that knows that if you’re going to do drugs (or booze), you need to know your limit.

      1. Meth fueled trannies were not his limit.

    2. I love how getting caught ODing on meth with his gay lover is “embarrassing”. I am sure ENB would use the same delicate language if the guy were a Republican, right?

      1. You’ll have to ask her, Robby wrote this one.

        1. To be sure

      2. Its only embarrassing that they got caught and might hurt his political ambitions.

        Never mind that this illustrates horrible choices and costs taxpayers tens of thousands in first responder costs.

        Even if drugs were 100% legal, this shitbird Democrat politician still should be publicly shamed for being irresponsible and a selfish little prick.

    3. the embarrassing part is that there were no Mexicans involved?

    4. The kind that recognizes freedom to embarrass oneself and freedom from embarrassment are not the same thing?


    5. Well, we found out that Gillum is a (Walter) White man.

    6. “What kind of libertarian labels that behavior embarrassing?”

      The kind that is critical of hypocrisy, especially when it is evident in those who have power or would seek power over others. I am, of course, assuming that Gillum has never advocated for decriminalization of meth, let alone entirely ending the war on drugs. No doubt someone here will let me know if I’m off base with that assumption.

  9. “We’ve got people who are struggling working two or three jobs to put food on the table.”

    I really appreciate that AOC has enough influence in the Democratic Party that her economic insights are being mentioned by leading Presidential candidates.


    1. Fortunately, with nanny state over-reaction most people will soon have no jobs.

  10. State and local governments are instructing restaurants to shut down.

    There are no constitutions in a pandemic.

    1. Plenary power is a hella of a drug!

    2. It falls under one of the umbras.

      1. The phone and pen umbra.

      2. ♬ Under my umbra….ella…ella…ella….

    3. Government powers to fight epidemics in English law at the time of the Founding were pretty extensive, and those powers would be retained by state and local governments as not delegated to the Federal under the Constitution.

  11. The Coronavirus Debate Was Bernie Sanders’ Last Chance. He Blew It.

    Who cares. These Democrats wont be President in 2020 no matter what they do.

  12. …Biden attempted to reassure viewers that he would harness the full reach of the federal government to confront COVID-19.

    The entire executive branch would be mobilized to leave no hair strand unsniffed.

  13. California is the place where nearly 50% of the nation’s homeless population have congregated to kick back, live on the beach, collect a check, and use and abuse drugs with impunity.

    Citizens from San Diego, where the homeless were hit especially hard by Hepatitis A, to Los Angeles, where typhoid is making a comeback, to San Francisco, where there are visible urine lines on buildings in The Tenderloin, Californians have begged, pleaded, demanded that something be done about the filthy conditions, which threaten everyone’s health. But progressive politicians have done nothing but make such behavior easier. People like former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon decriminalized anti-social behaviors – open-air drugging, urinating and pooping on the streets. He refused to enforce the law and, indeed, wrote Proposition 47 – passed by voters – that has made the homeless problem even worse. Gascon is now running for Los Angeles district attorney.

    Despite these pleas from the public, little to nothing has been done to get people off the streets and enforce the law to discourage even more from coming. Californians are being told, in effect, that they’re mean and nasty for wanting the drugging, sleeping, pooping, peeing homeless to shove off. Elected officials claim that they have no way to do this because of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision. By enforcing few if any laws, they entice more to come.

    But when asked what would happen if the people in homeless encampments refused to be put in a motel or hotel and if he would consider forcing them into housing, here’s what Newsom said: “All of these things are hypotheticals and we’ll meet the moment. And we have the capacity to encourage people off the streets. We have existing rules and regulations.”

    “We have existing rules and regulations” to force people off the streets? That’s right, the California governor admitted to having the authority to do this the entire time, but he just hasn’t done it.

    1. I got back from Commifornia about a month ago for a business trip.

      Shanty streets. Fucking shanty streets.

      Even in that shithole of a state, they even have help wanted signs in business windows but people are living in tents surrounded by junk.

    2. To the extent this will be worse than it otherwise would have been, it will be almost entirely to social conditions and government policies liberals love. Yet, somehow, it is all Trump’s fault not the people who think allowing bums to camp on the sidewalk by the thousands was a good idea.

    3. Maybe corona panic will change the public attitude and force the pols to do something. Real and rumored health risks about clusters of bums spreading this particular germ might get more selfish reactions from Berkley moms and LA bleeding hearts.

  14. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio advocated for nationalizing certain industries to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus…

    And after de Blasio blamed the shortcomings of the federal government for the decreased supply of testing kits and ventilators, he called for the federal government to nationalize “crucial factories and industries.”

    “This is a case for a nationalization, literally a nationalization, of crucial factories and industries that could produce the medical supplies to prepare this country for what we need.”

    1. And, like a typical progressive, he probably doesn’t realize how directly he contradicts himself

    2. Hey now, trump is the real fascist here. Stop projecting

    3. “This is a case for a nationalization, literally a nationalization, of crucial factories and industries that could produce the medical supplies to prepare this country for what we need.”

      You need only look to Venezuela to see how nationalizing the paper industry has made toilet tissue abundant.

      1. They have plenty of toilet paper although I believe they pronounce it “bolivars”.

    4. Hey, DiBlasio! Good luck nationalizing those “crucial factories and industries” that are within Chinese borders. Perhaps Xi might have an objection or two…

  15. I think I agree with Joy Reid on this.

    Does anybody honestly care, at this stage, how these two lifetime politicians voted 30, 20 or even 5 years ago?

    Drumpf supporters will try to seize on irrelevant trivia like Biden’s Iraq vote. Don’t let that distract you. Nothing Biden did in the early 2000s can compare to the horrifying carnage of World War 3, which Orange Hitler started in Iran earlier this year.


    1. “What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?”

      Some things never change.

    2. I remember joy being quit aghast at kavanaugh…

      1. Look, that was an event that didn’t happen when he was in high school. That’s much more indicative of what kind of person you are and how you will perform in office.

  16. Sanders also stated that the U.S. government’s job “is to tell every working person, no matter what your income is, you are not going to suffer as a result of this crisis.”

    The government will line farmers against the wall to assure you have food on the table.

    1. FNS Response to COVID-19

      Most states are requesting waivers so they can go back to feeding kids gruel.

    2. you are not going to suffer as a result of this crisis.

      We have ways of making it a painless death.

  17. Our country’s leaders have assumed nigh on martial law powers, and you are talking about how “FDA has been a significant obstacle”? Really? That’s the libertarian hot take?

    These milk-toast opinions are hilariously terrible. The Governor of California imprisoned people on a boat for weeks. Now he is using the power of the press conference to shut down bars, pubs, and gyms. He is confusing people on whether schools should or shouldn’t be closed. And that is just the state level.

    When did the libertarian position just tacitly accept that the government has all these powers to restrict our daily lives in order to mitigate a tiny, tiny risk? The logic now assumed by supporters of these actions will give the rationale to grab guns, take away driving privs, ban smoking, and lock down our economy for the next flu season. Never in my life would I ever assume you could see such mass hysteria writ global, and the libertarians just follow along.

    1. This Coronavirus hysteria is unreason staff’s wet dream.

      How else is Anarchy-Land going to rise from the ashes of America?

      1. We are up to 61 deaths. I cant emphasize that enough. 61. We can handle 20-70k flu deaths, but dont you dare demean the 61 dead from Covid 19.

        1. In the stock pages today from Fortune, Brian O’Keefe. I’ll post one of the most incredible sentences (on indoor refrigeration) I’ve read on the day of pretty dam serious rippling financial events. I will paraphrase, as this has a wall:
          “Today, the world is confronting a colossal unmet need unlike anything we’ve grappled with in the past. The warming of our planet thanks to human activity. If unaddressed, warming is likely to alter life on earth in dramatic ways with trillion dollar price tags. Business has been a big part of the problem and flooded the planet with refrigerators, SUVs and soda, through fossil fuels.” It goes on and on.

          The irony that they published this on the stock pages today, of all days, makes me believe some crony got their signals crossed and pulled from the *wrong* induce panic statist grab bag. They missed the induce panic pandemic grab bag.

          Poor people don’t deserve refrigeration, air conditioning, private transportation, indoor plumbing or heat. Only the right people, aka the government and their cronies-dammit.

      2. If by anarchy land you mean totalitarian global socialism, then sure

        1. That’s what is so funny. unreason staff anarchists are in a minority compared to Socialists in the USA.

          IF…if, America collapses I would put my money on most Americans forming another USA using our basic Constitution and starting over. Then my money is on a Socialist state, if all of the American Patriots are dead. I just do not see how any Americans would want Anarchy.

      3. unreason! Gets me every time! Cannot get over how clever, witty and insightful you are.

        1. Exactly hillary69!

    2. It will pass. Do you think they will shut down all the bars forever? I don’t. As threats to liberty goes, this sort of stuff is pretty far down the long term list of threats. If there is one thing that the last 70 years has shown this country is that liberty is lost slowly over time like a snake constricting its prey. The emergency stuff comes and goes. The other stuff does not.

      1. The precedent is set for the government to restrict pretty much all your movement and commerce in order to mitigate some little risk.

        I agree that this coronavirus nonsense will pass. But next time it will be some mass shooting. Or it will be a particularly bad flu year. Or an “epidemic” of obesity, or whatever.

        “liberty is lost slowly over time like a snake constricting its prey. ”

        I disagree. I think it is more of a ratchet. Some emergency or perfect storm of crises create an opportunity to ratchet tighter, and then everyone gets used to it. The Dot Com era gave us SOX, 9/11 gave us Patriot. Financiapocalypse gave us the consumer protection board and Obamacare.

        This is yet another crisis that the government will use to wratchet things even tighter, and we see that reason merely complains about a bureaucratic FDA while heads of state declare quasi-martial law.

        1. Socialism incrementalism 101

        2. Shutting down public places in the name of health is not a new power nor any new restriction on liberty. I am really a bit amazed at how shocked people are by this. It is like they had no idea how public health law works. This is not a new exercise of power nor is it the government doing anything it hasn’t done nuermous times in the past under similar circumstances. You may not like it. But, I don’t see how you can reasonably say it is something new or a new restriction on liberty or an expansion of existing government power. It isn’t.

          If it turns out that these powers are used for reasons other than controlling a contagious disease, that will be a restriction on liberty. But right now that is not what is going on.

          1. “If it turns out that these powers are used for reasons other than controlling a contagious disease, that will be a restriction on liberty”

            A couple dozen people have died from covid.
            A few thousand are infected.
            Numbers dwarfed by the annual rates of common cold and flu.
            Be wary of the coming perpetual pan(ic)demic

            1. It is a more deadly diesease and it has shown the ability to overwhelm the healthcare systems in Italy and China. The ordinary flu doesn’t do that. This really is a special case. If you think they will now do this every year over every flu, time will tell. I seriously, however, doubt that.

              If nothing else, politicians are about graft and corruption. They are at heart simple people. Shutting every business down and destroying the economy isn’t getting any of them rich. That is not how this works.

              1. It’s easy to overwhelm the system when you convince everyone to bumrush the system.

                1. +100000

                  If SARS-Covid is not dormant in two weeks and everyone emerges from their quarantine at the same time, then infection rates will blow up.

              2. “Overwhelmed” the socialized medical systems in two 3rd-world countries?!
                Weak tea…

              3. The shitty leftist healthcare systems of Italy and China, John.

                The systems whose main purpose is to insure that everyone has their card and knows they’re insured–at the expense of actual medical care.

                And the ordinary flu does worse every year. The common cold is magnitudes worse.

                We just don’t shut everything down over it.

              4. John, I was stationed in Italy.

                The US Military told us that if we got injured get to a US Military Hospital at all costs. Only use Italian hospitals if you had no other choice.

        3. Some emergency or perfect storm of crises create an opportunity to ratchet tighter, and then everyone gets used to it.

          I agree that that external situation is why it ratchets. But you are dead wrong as to why it doesn’t return back. What is really obvious to me over the last month is that those who proclaim there is an ‘alternative’ actually have nothing whatsoever to offer, spend ungodly amounts of effort denying there is an external problem, asserting that anyone who says there is an external problem is a far bigger problem than the external problem.

          We have yet to see what the post-crisis response will be – but I suspect it will look like – see next

          Financiapocalypse gave us the consumer protection board and Obamacare.

          What is obvious to me with the thread re the Fed’s panic move yesterday is that what it really gave us was a whole bunch of R’s who may well have been outraged enough because of TARP/2008 to be part of Tea Party stuff – but whose anger was still so inchoate that they could easily be turned and manipulated into irrelevancies. Rather than actually learning anything from 2008 in order to either ratchet back that stuff or prevent a similar situation from reoccurring. So that NOW – with another 2008 bailout in the very early stages of reoccurring, they have nothing to offer but inchoate denial, no alternatives, and a DEFENSE of what happened in 2008.

          1. “What is really obvious to me over the last month is that those who proclaim there is an ‘alternative’ actually have nothing whatsoever to offer, spend ungodly amounts of effort denying there is an external problem,”

            Is this your first time meeting Libertarians? They’re good on complaining; not so great on practical solutions. That said, there may not be a good solution to this problem, other than fading the 1 percent dead, practicing the hygiene your grandparents taught you, and getting back to work. It’s not polio, but neither is it just the flu.

        4. Im going to be a pedant here and point out that a sanke constricting its prey is very much like a ratchet.

        5. Covid is the test case if they claim they saved thousands with these actions then next years flu season will get the same treatment. but they will have to sell it right now there are plenty of people on both side of wether Covid is a real threat or not and with the shut downs you can never prove that it wasn’t threat. Some may say look at italy but there are several variables at play that would eliminate the comparison

      2. 9/11 called, they want their talking points back.

        1. What liberty did you lose because of 9-11? Some privacy at the airport but that is about it. FISA existed since the 1970s. And to the extent you lost liberty, it was the small things like not being able to take liquids on planes that have stuck.

          I have talking points. I have thoughts. Sometimes they are wrong, sometimes they are right. You should try the same. Or at least stop assuming everyone else just spews talking points because that is what you do.

          1. Have you ever met someone who was mistakenly put on the no-fly list? The TSA molesting me is a small burden compared to herculean task of getting yourself removed from that.

            1. Yeah, that whole thing is a giant middle finger to liberty.

              They took over airport security too…. that used to be private.

              And USA PATRIOT act. None of it for the betterment of liberty.

          2. “Some privacy at the airport but that is about it.”

            Making a 1 hour flight into an hour and a half to board first?

          3. “What liberty did you lose because of 9-11?”

            Banking regulations, CTRs, Know Your Customer, etc… The federal government asserting it could wiretap the phone and electronic traffic of the entire nation, sans warrant, and people basically shrugged, and said OK.

            9/11 was a great excuse to implement every law enforcement wishlist since the beginning of the Clinton administration. Those laws haven’t gone away. We’ll see what interference in public life the government thinks will be essential to fight this bug.

          4. You do remember that parts of the original patriot act were found unconstitutional by SCOTUS, right? Remember the Echelon program? Carnivore?

            Have you forgotten how the feds flagrantly violated Jose Padilla’s civil rights? Any of us could be the next Jose Padilla, but for the fact that the feds know they must boil that particular frog very, very slowly to avoid backlash.

            (For the pedants: I’m well aware that the metaphor of slowly boiling an unconstrained frog would not actually work. That doesn’t detract from the illustrative value of the metaphor.)

      3. I’m not at the point where I think this is a “dry run” for anything bigger, but there are a lot of people in positions of power who are watching very closely right now to see how the people react to all this,

        1. Like a common burglar casing a neighborhood.

    3. Are you maybe looking for something like this?

      The comments are fun.

    4. This is the perfect scenario for statists to condition the people into compliance. Had politicians proposed these sorts of restrictions for other reasons, most people would resist. But with animal panic hysteria, much of it unjustified, we not only go along with restrictions but beg for more.

  18. Well it was just the day before yesterday that we got regulatory relief from the FDA so that we didn’t need to jump through all sorts of hoops…

    The FDA lets you move forward and you repay them by throwing them under the bus?

    1. Good luck getting the necessary permission slips.

  19. Sevo should have taken that idiot JSlave up on his stupid bet. There’s pretty much zero chance of the United States having 31 more coronavirus deaths in the next 14 hours.

    Have we managed to figure out yet what this absurd manufactured mass hysteria is all about? Oh yeah, we did: it’s all because Trump is president.

    1. Lefties here dont honor bets.

    2. In at least some fairness, people would probably be panicking either way but it seems to me that the breathless coverage is probably not doing anyone favors.

      Incomplete scare statistics are probably not helping either.

  20. More bad economic news.

    Charles Koch current net worth: $50.8 billion

    And was (correctly) denouncing Drumpf’s economic policies even when our benefactor was worth around $60 billion! It is absolutely heartbreaking to witness Mr. Koch’s hard-earned fortune crumbling due to Drumpf’s incompetence.


  21. at this time of national crisis, Biden’s comparatively comforting message seems like the better sell

    “I will save America’s soul!”

  22. Tyler Cowen highlights a list of proposals for funding coronavirus research on his Marginal Revolution blog

    Those are good proposals.

    Note also – the first one (Consider guaranteeing top tier treatment and ICU beds for people directly working on treatments or vaccines.) is only moral if you have a militia response system. This is exactly why you really do not need to make militia service mandatory. Those who don’t participate – with their time and their labor and in-kind – do not receive the benefits when the emergency happens. No matter how much cash they’re waving around.

    And note also – the next three kind of show how much of a scam the current IP and patent system are. Prizes and recognition and such are FAR more effective in motivating the individuals who make the creative/knowledge advances. If they succeed, then the chemical/formulation itself becomes more like penicillin NOT proprietary. The next challenge would then opening the next challenge to ramping up production. That sort of a process invention would have a patent attached precisely because it requires the further deployment of capital to implement. And in what is almost always the case – there’s more than one process that can be used to formulate an end-chemical and more than one end-chemical that be produced by an process. This is the 19th century IP system that Germany used re their chemical industry – and the system that was used to ramp up penicillin (and as a side-effect created virtually all antibiotics known by the early 50’s). And it works FAR better than the current pharma patent system which grants the patent on the chemical/formulation itself

    There is a little bit of centralized crony corporatist BS here in the third proposal. Who is going to be choosing which ‘institutions’ are ‘qualified’ to get prize money without doing anything more than submitting paperwork and having the right connections to the one making decisions about how to give away $1 billion?

    1. Giving priority to healthcare providers and researchers in treatment is entirely moral. To do otherwise is to endanger even more people by allowing the virus to kill off your ability to treat the sick.

      This is a good example of how every principle has its limits. As a general rule, yes, it is immoral to say that one life is inherently more valuable than another and thus entitled to treatment priority. Utilitarianism can be a great evil. But like all moral questions, it is a practical question that under extreme circumstances can change. In this case, giving priority treatment to healthcare providers and those researching the virus preserves society’s ability to treat the sick and fight the virus. The consequences of not doing that are so dire that it is a moral imperative to do so even at the cost of lives in the short term.

      Is that utilitarianism? Absolutely. And the fact that it is the answer shows that life and moral questions are really hard such that “meh principles” don’t always give you the answer. If they did, moral philosophy and ethics would have been settled thousands of years ago.

      1. Giving priority to healthcare providers and researchers in treatment is entirely moral. To do otherwise is to endanger even more people by allowing the virus to kill off your ability to treat the sick.

        Of course it is. They are the ones who are contributing their time/knowledge even without a militia response system. If we had a militia response system, they would still be contributing their time/knowledge. But the fact is that this proposal is being posited by someone who thinks TOP MEN should be deciding who gets priority. And when we don’t have militia response system (as now), those are precisely the people who will instead be bribed into rationalizing priority for ‘people who just stuffed money in my pocket’ or ‘poobahs in DC’ or ‘people with big houses in the Hamptons’.

        1. Dude, start a fucking non-martial militia already and stop whining about it.
          You can ask the Cajun Navy or Red Cross for help on how to organize it

    2. Holy shit, you just called me a cronyism yesterday for daring to mention TARP was deficit neutral. Now you want to hand out billions of dollars to an industry even if they fail in their endeavor. Fucking hilarious.

      1. You are truly simply fucking illiterate. A prize for that discovery (and even 2nd and 3rd place) is not rewarding failure you dickhead. And my comment SPECIFICALLY points out the cronyist problem with handing out money to corporations simply because they are deemed ‘qualified’ and do paperwork.

  23. Biden promised to pick a woman to be his vice presidential candidate. Sanders said that he would “in all likelihood” pick a woman as well.

    “*** opens binder full of women (remember *that*?) ***

    Pick a woman, any woman.”

    1. Why can’t they reserve a spot for someone different? Why do they hate people who are non-binary?

    2. No, no! Not the white one! Pick one from Column B.

      1. “I *triple*-dog dare you to pick a Muslim!”

        1. Especially one who has married her brother!

          1. Hey… .it means she’s… flexible, at a minimum. So maybe she’ll tolerate a little hair-sniffing.

            Tulsi would toss him through the wall if he tried that crap on her.

    3. No, ideally xe would be differently abled, pansexual, Muslim transwoman of color.

  24. The new round of quantitative easing by the Fed is probably the worst policy we’ve seen come out of the coronavirus so far, and we’ll be really lucky if we don’t get any worse policies than that. Aren’t all the worst policies we have today reactions to crises of the past? From the Patriot Act to TARP, from the AUMF for Afghanistan to the federal regulatory burden we were left with after FDR, . . .

    Judging a president by what he does in reaction to a crisis is probably a great way to judge them, and President Trump has done a pretty good job of deflecting bad policy ideas in the aftermath of crises–with his relative non-reaction to the Las Vegas shooting being one example. Because something bad happened that we weren’t anticipating is never a good reason to remake our society.

    And bad policy ideas are bad regardless of whether they’re proposed in a crisis or how bad the crisis gets. This crisis lends itself to exploitation, especially, since it will keep going on until we see the infection rate peak, and we’re not likely to get the data to support that for at least a couple more weeks.

    For the next two weeks, the pressure for the government to do something about a crisis that no one can do anything about will continue to build, and I am so grateful that Hillary Clinton isn’t the president right now. She’d be exploiting this crisis to justify all manner of evil in an election year. The American people really dodged a bullet when she lost the election.

    1. It may well be the worst so far enacted, but it’s not the worst proposed:

      “Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown.”

      Shut down the entire US for 14 days as a result of a disease which has yet to kill 80 people!

      1. I’ve seen a lot of pressure for that, as well.

        I overheard someone over the weekend criticizing a national retailer for not closing–because of greed. They care more about their profits than they do about workers!

        I pay a lot of attention to financial news, so I happen to know that this retailer recently announced they were closing 125 department stores all over the country.

        They’re fighting to stay alive. For all I know, their commission based sales people don’t want the stores to close because of the virus, but you’re going to force these stores closed–to protect the salespeople from greed?!

        It is amazing how much more kind and thoughtful people can be when they think primarily of themselves instead of what they want to do on the behalf of other people. Those of us who are old enough to remember when so many Americans genuinely believed that the people of Iraq wanted us to bomb, invade, and occupy their country know how this goes. I wasn’t sure I’d live to see the day when people started realizing that it wasn’t necessarily in the best interests of our urban poor to invade their communities military style and throw millions of them in prison under the pretense of saving them from the ravages of marijuana, but everybody thought we were saving them! Africa still hasn’t fully recovered from the consequences of the British coming in and saving them from the ravages of slavery.

        I once saw a primatologist talk about what happens when chimpanzees don’t have enough to do in an environment that’s really well suited to them. He was talking about when they don’t have to spend much time looking for food, they immediately turn their attention to each other and just start fucking with each other. Just as he said this, one chimp was bending his head down into a stream to drink some water, and another chimp came up behind him and with both hands, grabbed hold of the drinking chimp’;s head and pushed his head into the creek. He just did it to be an asshole!

        Hairless apes with little to do are just as apt to that kind of behavior, and with our neocortex, we can rationalize fucking with other people by the delusion that we’re trying to help them. You’re just not drinking enough water–which is why I’ve got to grab you by the ears and hold your head in the river. It’s for your own good! Believe me, I watch MSNBC, so I should know!

  25. California has a law that disallow employees from saying anything negative about unions.

    1. What is the remedy there? Are they going to come and arrest school board members who criticize unions? I wish them luck with that. I can’t believe this hasn’t been challenged in court and largely ignored. School board is a voluntary position. If they remove you from office, you have a whale of a civil rights lawsuit and haven’t lost your livelihood.

      1. Remedy is to do what the author did and dare california to charge him so he can sue. Sad it has to come to that.

      2. My perception from the outside is that the quality of California’s public schools is still mostly a function of the economic levels of the people in the community. The best schools are in mostly affluent areas, and even in places where they have bad areas, like Los Angeles, the schools in the affluent parts of Los Angeles are much better than they are elsewhere. This stuff probably only impacts people in poorer districts. If you live in a school district that’s wealthy enough to have good schools, these kinds of rules don’t really affect you.

        1. Evidently some California schools closed down for a month.

          I wish they would track test scores before and after that to see if kids got smarter after not being indoctrinated for 30 days.

    1. They just need the right people in charge.

  26. I’m not seeing much news on this topic, but I believe the Senate is considering the FISA “reform” bill from the House. I believe the reason the bill hasn’t already been voted on by the Senate is because 1) they don’t have the votes and 2) the President may be likely to veto it.

    For those of you keeping track, meanwhile, if I’m not mistaken, the Patriot Act powers in question expired at midnight last night, and to the best of my knowledge, life has gone on more or less like it would have without the Patriot Act powers in question being reauthorized.

    Maybe we should just keep going like this. Those powers didn’t exist for 212 years before the Patriot Act, and I strongly suspect the United States will do just fine for another 212 years without them.

    1. The PATRIOT Act powers didn’t expire last night, just the authority. If you’ve learned nothing else from Edward Snowden, it should be that authority is not much of a check on power.

      1. The rules, whatever they are, don’t mean anything if there are no consequences for breaking them. Clearly, there are not any consequences.

        I think reforming FISA and writing new rules is a fool’s errand. Write all of the rules you want, unless people start going to jail for breaking them, they won’t be followed. Forget Snowden, we know now that the FBI spied on Trump’s campaign and lied to the FISA court to do so. Unless the people who did that go to jail, no reform means anything.

        1. They need a leg to stand on.

          I was a release information clerk for a medical records department for a while, and I’d turn down requests for information from law enforcement all the time if they didn’t have a properly executed subpoena. I once turned down a couple of FBI agents. They said they could arrest me. I said it would probably be easier for them to get a subpoena, which is what they did.

          I used to turn down subpoenas if they weren’t properly executed. Sometimes they would have the hospital’s name wrong, sometimes they’d have our name on the subpoena with the address from a hospital down the street. Only once did law enforcement leave a subpoena with me after I pointed out the reason why I wouldn’t accept it willingly. Every other time, they’d take it back to the court and tell them what was wrong with it.

          I don’t think it matters if it’s medical records, phone call records, financial records, or server records from your ISP, if you divulge someone’s private information without their knowledge, their consent, or a duly authorized subpoena, you’re opening yourself up to all sorts of problems.

          And if not being able to reauthorize those Patriot Act powers means that the feds can’t use information gained without probable cause and without oath or affirmation and without a warrant blessed by a judge, then they’re less likely to bother going after that information in the first place.

          Let it expire, and let it stay expired.

          1. They already have a leg to stand on. Lying to the court in a warrant application is perjury. Using intelligence assets on American persons who are not connected to a foreign power is a felony. They did both of those things. They committed perjury to fool the FISA court into granting them a warrant to use IC assets to spy on Carter Page, an American person, without any connection to a foreign power or foreign intelligence. They are guilty of multiple felonies under the law as it stands.

            We need to enforce the law as it is right now before we start adding new laws. I don’t think the problem is FISA or the FISA power. The problem is no one in the IC is ever held accountable for abusing its power.

            1. I’m not against holding individuals FBI agents accountable for breaking the law.

              If there wasn’t a law that allowed them to do any of this, they wouldn’t even have tried. They’d have gone through the standard channels with standards public scrutiny, and that’s what needs to happen.

              I appreciate that it isn’t enough to make something illegal if the law won’t be enforced, but the problem is more than just a bad apple or two not facing criminal charges, too. The process is awful and begging for abuse without the standard scrutiny and public process of the courts.

              P.S. Did you see that President Trump says he’s “seriously considering” a full pardon for Flynn?

              1. This would have happened eventually given the way the FISA process is set up.

            2. They also conspired to do so, meaning you would use RICO to charge all of them if you were a federal prosecutor going after not-federal-employee bad guys.

              But since they are “made men”, they’ll just issue a report.

    2. Trump basically said reforms wont work if not utilized. He pointed out nobody was charged under the previous regulations.

  27. Prediction for November:

    To combat the second wave of the virus, Democrats will insist on having no live voters at the voting booths.

    1. Nailed it.

      “And, rest assured, we have fixed, uh, *corrected* our voting App!”

      1. *voting/obituary app

    2. They will make the election impossible to conduct and then claim Trump is a tyrant who is canceling elections.

      My prediction is that this will be over by May or June. When it is over, the same people who are today openly hoping for death and chaos because they think it will keep Trump from being re-elected will, when they find out their efforts to use it to harm Trump have backfired, will demand Trump and the Republicans stop “pouncing” and using a pandemic for political benefit.

      1. If that’s the case they’ll pretend the breathless pandemic never happened after briefly taking a victory lap for their tireless coverage leading to people following social distancing guidelines as the reason it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and shift right into the terrible trump economy that was largely an obama, as reported by them, success story till last week.

      2. I think it will get better in the summer too, but we have to keep immigration under control to prevent a second wave, IMO. Democrats will do everything they can to prevent continuing immigration controls because they benefit the most from the crisis continuing or starting up again.

        1. “but we have to keep immigration under control to prevent a second wave,”

          That will be key. It does no good to burn the virus out here, if you’re going to import new cases and start the process all over again. I doubt we will have either herd immunity or a vaccine by June.

          It will be very interesting to see how this magazine squares its open borders over everything stance with maintaining public health.

      3. “They will make the election impossible to conduct and then claim Trump is a tyrant who is canceling elections.”

        Well, he’s already the cause of this HORRIBLE DISEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

      4. Remember folks. The media is largely causing or at least purposely stoking a hysteria.

        The main reason is to destroy the US economy and get rid of Trump.

        Lefties in the media hate America and will destroy it if they have to to prevent us escaping the grasp of Socialism.

        There will be massive violence when Trump is reelected and the media will stoke those flames too.

      5. Silly argument. A President’s term is up regardless of if there’s one to take his place. Their term doesn’t magically get extended.

    3. Welcome to Cook County.

  28. “We are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people.”

    Uh, Communist China refuses medical care to the politically unreliable.
    All countries with government run health care systems deny health care by wait times to most citizens.

  29. Female VP will do all the work only to have Joe swoop in, mansplain everything, and take all the credit. Suddenly, the practice will become sexist.

  30. “”We need to act swiftly and very thoroughly, and in concert with all the forces we need to bring to bear to confront this crisis now,” said Biden.”

    We need to do all those things that need to be done and we need to do them and swiftly and thoroughly do them the ones that are needed and that bear on the bearing in order to confront the confrontation that is now a crisis of confrontational bearings.

  31. What debate were you guys watching? Nobody won that snooze fest, Bernie might not have come out looking good, but he certainly dinged Biden quite a few times, Biden didn’t come out of it looking good either. Both of the obviously prepared for the debate before the stock market recovered, Biden was ranting about bailouts that no one wants or needs, and both took each other to task about the other’s misdeeds. Of course, Biden’s the DNC and media’s pick, so we aren’t gonna talk about him.

  32. Key question of the month: how many lives is a vibrant economy worth?

    One end of the scale: tens of millions of Americans infected by seasonal flu each year with tens of thousands of deaths. And little public concern or restriction on social and commercial activity.

    The other end of the scale: wholesale shutdown of most industries and businesses for at least weeks or months, with some number of corona virus-related deaths eliminated. (You can fill in whatever number you like, with worst case projections up to millions.)

    But of course the immediate and lingering effects of economic shutdown will also induce suffering and death, perhaps for years.

    My own speculation: if Americans do not care about 50,000 annual flu deaths (at least when not in stampede panic mode), they can probably tolerate some multiple of this and still not want to give up life as they know it. So perhaps, 250,000 dead? Thus the complete disruption of social and commercial life now unfolding should be based on projections that doing nothing will lead to more than 250,000 casualties. Can we demonstrate that?

    1. But of course the immediate and lingering effects of economic shutdown will also induce suffering and death, perhaps for years.

      Which is exactly the goal and the point of all this manufactured mass hysteria. The main goal of course is to try to hurt Trump, but now they e taken it to a whole other level and have decided to punish Americans for electing him in the first place.

      The lefty scum in the government/media complex has been trying to manufacture fear, hysteria, and a sense of chaos for three and a half years, and now they’ve finally found something that’s working. Absolutely none of this bullshit would be happening if Obama or Hildog was president. None of it.

      1. The shutdowns are said to “flatten the curve”, not prevent infections. The same number of people will get sick, just over a longer period of time. So yeah, let’s throw the economic under the bus and drag this thing out for a year.

        1. Economy

          1. Don’t worry. Most people and politicians don’t know what this is or how it works.

  33. Biden promised to pick a woman to be his vice presidential candidate. Sanders said that he would “in all likelihood” pick a woman as well.

    Ooh! Ooh! Me! Me!

  34. Too white. Too old. Too much of a health risk.

    1. Trump is not the poster child of elder health but he managed a grueling 2016 campaign while hillary was being potato tossed from speaking appearance to appearance.

      Sanders literally had a heart attack on his Presidential campaign and Biden clearly has brain damage or dementia which is affecting his memory.

  35. Can someone explain how Medicare for All proponents can be sitting there watching the federal government (the CDC) fail to provide sufficient testing capacity for the coronavirus and think, “You know what would solve this, if the federal government were responsible for providing all testing for all medical conditions and then providing treatment for them, too!” I mean, if they can’t even manage it for the one illness they took responsibility for, what sort of reasoning thinks they’ll do better with more responsibility? If these people had a kid, and their kid let his hamster starve to death, would they immediately move to put him in charge of the entire cattle farm?

    Or are these folks kind of like Flat Earthers? No amount of evidence is enough for them?

    1. The only lesson that they have taken from this is that Trump is to blame. If they had different Top Men in charge we’d have defeated coronavirus months ago.

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