Coronavirus

Why the Government Is No Good at Fighting Coronavirus

The problems with the federal response to COVID-19 go far beyond Donald Trump and deep into bureaucratic inertia.

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One of the defining features of the coronavirus pandemic has been the failure of government, especially at the federal level, to act in a wise, timely, or effective fashion. When cases of coronavirus started showing up in Washington state in January, researchers turned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for approval to test nasal swabs but were rebuffed by bureaucrats there and at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Officials told local doctors to stop running unauthorized tests, then waited until February 29 to let biotech companies and non-government research labs develop and deploy new tests for the virus. The two main agencies charged with protecting the nation's public health screwed up from the very beginning.

In a devastating new story, the AP reports that "the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment." As China and then Italy wrestled with the spread of coronavirus, the president publicly minimized dangers and privately kept various agencies under his control from increasing supplies of equipment from N-95 masks to ventilators. "State and local officials report receiving broken ventilators and decade-old dry-rotted masks," says the AP, which quotes presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner's statement on Thursday that "the federal stockpile" is "not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."

Bad as this is, it's important to underscore that the calamitous federal response is not simply the fault of Donald Trump and the people around him. As The Washington Post's Dan Balz, no supporter of the president, reported over the weekend,

The problems go far broader and deeper than what a president does. Lack of planning and preparation contribute, but so too does bureaucratic inertia as well as fear among career officials of taking risks. Turnover in personnel robs government of historical knowledge and expertise. The process of policymaking-on-the-fly is less robust than it once was. Politics, too, gets in the way.

Balz has interviewed many federal, state, and local officials involved in the responses to the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, and the Ebola and SARS outbreaks. One common thread was that agencies, especially at the federal level, are excessively rule-bound and slow to innovate on the ground, despite the reality that virtually every major event presents unique circumstances that call for deviations from standard-operating procedures.

Andrew Card was President George W. Bush's chief of staff, and as result was involved in the responses to both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. (The federal response to the latter is widely considered to be one of the most incompetent emergency responses in federal history.) Before that, he had coordinated President George H.W. Bush's response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

"I found that FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] is a great organization, but they were all afraid to do things that weren't, quote, by the book," Card said. "FEMA was always being challenged…second-guessed after a disaster."

Card learned through that experience and later as White House chief of staff to President George W. Bush during 9/11 and Katrina the obstacles that the combination of fear and bureaucratic inertia can impose when immediate and innovative action is required.

"Each bureaucracy has its own momentum," he said. "The challenge in dealing with a disaster is addressing the momentum or the inabilities. If something's not moving, it takes a lot of effort to get them to move."

That helps explain why CDC and FDA officials simply denied the Washington state doctors' requests for testing approval.

If the track record of the government so far is dispiriting, there's even more cause for concern going forward. Yesterday the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, said that the coming week will bring record surges in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths. But despite the fact that we've known about the disease since the first reported cases surfaced in China late last year, the nation's top doctor instinctively reached for metaphors about surprise attacks, telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly….This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.

If our leaders are still acting as if the coronavirus pandemic is a sneak attack, it's no wonder the federal response has been such a disaster.

It's comforting to know that officials are waiving stupid and counterproductive regulations, and it's heartening to see all the workarounds the private sector is doing to comfort people and save lives. But it's an outrage that we're not simply fighting a pandemic, but fighting the government that is supposed to protect us from just such a thing.

Related: Economist Alex Tabarrok says "the FDA and CDC's coronavirus is a failure of 'historic proportions'":

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  1. Well personally I’m just shocked. Aren’t these the TOP MEN?

    1. unreason is never consistent.

      Everything Trump is bad.

      Government under Democrats is good.

      1. In Gillespie’s defense, he noted quite openly that this is far beyond Trump, and goes much further back than Trump.

      2. Well at least you’re consistent. Everything Trump is good.

        1. Trump may not be ideal, but hes not a career politician constantly trying to usurp your rights. Nor is he a progressive who wants to lock you up for misgendering someone, or offending their sensibilities.

          1. To be fair, I think Trump has done some good things. But he has often shown that he doesn’t care about individual rights, as he supports the patriot act and the racist war on drugs.

            1. Actually, he’s indicated he’d like to remove federal restrictions on marijuana and leave it as a state issue, which makes him the first President to come into office holding that position openly (Obama doesn’t count, because he often talked about it, but cracked down on state clinics frequently).

              1. You’re right, he has said that, but Trump has a habit of saying things and then not following through on them. I’ll have to see more before I agree that he’s truly on the right side of that issue. Also, don’t forget that his administration played a significant role in the vape ban.

      3. “Bad as this is, it’s important to underscore that the calamitous federal response is not simply the fault of Donald Trump and the people around him.”

  2. This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly…

    And if true almost every ideological and sociological bent of American can probably thank their various levels of government for that. Be it from failing to take steps that hindsight tells them should have been taken (constitutional and logistical bounds be damned) to making economically ruinous one-size-fits-all public policy dooming us all to recession.

    Likely, however, he’s talking about unfortunate urban centers, where our national attention apparently simply must be drawn.

    1. Agreed.

      New York has The Rona spreading wild, and rural America must shut down and take a massive economic hit to compensate.

      1. how on earth anyone “in charge” cannot see that this isn’t a one size fits all virus is beyond me.

        In all likelihood, this is a virus that while extremely contagious is not all that deadly. We’d know for sure if we did random testing in every state, which would allow low risk people to go back to work while we directed resources toward protecting those high risk individuals who choose to isolate. But we’re not. We’re stupidly testing only those people who feel sick.

        We’ll never get out of quarantine unless we know what we’re actually dealing with. Another month of this, and our economy, mental health, and social vibrancy likely to be shot beyond repair in the short term.

        1. It’s almost like they aren’t even interested in determining where we are on the curve, as long as they get to rule like kings in the meantime.

    2. It is only a hard week because of Government’s lock downs and economic harm. On a health view, it isn’t terrible. This is a statistical noise. Sorry people don’t realize this.

      1. I’m seeing several news stories today that New York City will be temporarily burying the dead in public parks because mortuaries are overwhelmed. Is that incorrect, a deliberate attempt to make the seem situation seem worse than it is, or within the statistical noise of body disposal in NYC?

        1. Alright, my bad. I admit to not checking the story as closely as should have. These were tweets from a local politician. I should have done better and will learn from this mistake.

        2. An estimated additional 180 – 195 deaths per day occurring at home in New York City due to COVID-19 are not being counted in the official figures. “Early on in this crisis we were able to swab people who died at home, and thus got a coronavirus reading. But those days are long gone. We simply don’t have the testing capacity for the large numbers dying at home. Now only those few who had a test confirmation *before* dying are marked as victims of coronavirus on their death certificate. This almost certainly means we are undercounting the total number of victims of this pandemic,” said Mark Levine, Chair of New York City Council health committee

          1. This guy is 100% wrong:

            “COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.”

            https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/coronavirus/Alert-2-New-ICD-code-introduced-for-COVID-19-deaths.pdf

        3. In 2017 the weekly death rate from the flu was 5k.

  3. Government is a monopoly and single point of failure. That’s really all there is to understand about why it can never get anything right. The only incentive guiding individuals within the government is to cover their own ass by strictly following the rules.

    1. But, as of now, it doesn’t seem like all governments have failed in responding to this, or have failed as badly. I know not all the numbers are complete or trustworthy, so I’m reserving final judgement until after the dust settles. But if, in the end, countries like Germany, South Korea, and heck, even China (I know, I don’t trust the numbers either, but it becomes a question of how far off they can plausibly be), have far fewer deaths and suffer less severe economic damage, then American citizens are going to want to know why. “Government can never get anything right” won’t be an acceptable answer. “It wouldn’t work here” also is probably not going to fly if there really are 100k or more deaths.

      We (libertarians and people who generally value liberty) need to be able to offer constructive criticisms and credible reforms that would both improve the US’s ability to respond to a crisis like this and protect are liberty and prosperity. I sure as hell don’t trust either Democrats or Republicans to do so. Even then, there may not be enough of us to make a difference. But it can’t be worse than offering no ideas at all.

      1. We already know why SK and Germany fared better, they recruited the help of private biotech companies to develop tests in mid-January. We waited until the very last leap day of February to even begin to lift the federal monopoly on testing.

      2. “even China (I know, I don’t trust the numbers either, but it becomes a question of how far off they can plausibly be),”

        Based on reports of cremation schedules and urn deliveries, quite a bit.
        As in upwards of 30-40 k

        1. I saw similar numbers but it wasn’t clear if that was total deaths in Wuhan or some sort of excess over what is typical. I can believe that the true number is closer to 30-40k, but the US may still end up with more. Again, we just need to see what the situation is when the dust settles.

          1. “For a month, the Chinese Communist Party, instead of fighting the contagion, did everything possible to censor all information about the Covid-19 outbreak. After President Xi Jinping declared “a people’s war” on the epidemic on January 20, Chinese security services pursued 5,111 cases of “fabricating and deliberately disseminating false and harmful information”. The Chinese Human Rights Defenders documented several types of punishment, including detention, disappearance, fines, interrogations, forced confessions and “educational reprimand”.

            After that, China lied about the real number of deaths. There are photographs of long lines of stacked urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in 2,500 urns. According to Chinese official figures, 2,548 people in Wuhan have died of the Covid-19. According to an analysis by Radio Free Asia, seven funeral homes in Wuhan were each handing out 500 funeral urns containing remains for 12 days, from March 23 to the traditional tomb-sweeping festival of April 5, a time that would indicate up to 42,000 urns, or ten times higher than the official figure.

            In February, it was reported that Wuhan crematoriums were working around the clock to cope with the massive influx of infected bodies. Wuhan’s officials are apparently pushing relatives of the victims to bury the dead “quickly and quietly”.”

            http://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/covid-19-chinas-colossal-cover

      3. It is not clear to me that anyone other than South Korea is measurably better.

        If you look at per Capita numbers, the US is essentially right where all of Europe is. Germany is slightly better on deaths per capita (19 vs our 32) but pretty much the rest of Europe is worse. In fact, Germany is so much of an outlier that I suspect this will come down to differences in how they record a death as COVID related.

        1. it sure is interesting how this seems to be far less deadly for countries with an east asian population, considering its origination in proximity to a biowarfare research facility and its outsized effects on western economies.

          1. it sure is interesting how this seems to be far less deadly for countries with an east asian population

            It might be, if those statistics hold up

            considering its origination in proximity to a biowarfare research facility and its outsized effects on western economies.

            But not for those reasons.

        2. In fact, Germany is so much of an outlier that I suspect this will come down to differences in how they record a death as COVID related.

          Why don’t you just say what you mean, here, which is, “I in fact have paid very little attention to what’s happening globally, so I’m just sniffing my own farts.”

          1. Why don’t you admit you’re a fucking lefty ignoramus and fuck off?

        3. I can’t find the article (ok, I’m not going to look for it) but read somewhere that probiotics in the diet, like yogurt, made a statistical difference.
          They went on to speculate about Germany: maybe its the sourkraut?

      4. Germany’s CFR and economic stimulus is almost equal to the US on a per capita basis. Not sure where you’re getting your derision from.

        1. I saw a NYT story saying Germany had a lower CFR than the US. This was a couple days ago now maybe and for some reason it’s now behind a paywall. I don’t remember the specifics. Like I said, I’m not drawing any conclusions until the dust settles.

          Even if it turns out that the impact in the US is pretty much on par with other developed countries, my second paragraph still stands. There will be a limited window for reform and I hope liberty-minded individuals will be prepared to offer constructive and realistic ideas for how to make things better.

          1. It’s slightly lower. Not astoundingly lower.

  4. It’s not Trump’s fault. It’s not Pelosi’s fault. It’s not the Democrat or the Republican parties’ fault. It’s the fault of government at all levels. And no, Trump can’t fix it, neither can Pelosi, or the Democrats, or the Republicans. The system is fundamentally broken, and it’s only going to get fixed after people realize that it’s the system of government itself that is the problem.

    We need to decentralize government at all levels, limit its powers at all levels, fundamentally change how bureaucracies work, and in general get government OUT OF THE WAY of the individual people. The idea that we can just solve everything by electing an omniscient and omnipotent titular head of government, the right brand of leader, is fucking bullshit.

    1. Try convincing the throngs of people BEGGING for even more economic destruction and rights crushing lockdowns.

    2. In other words, we need to follow the US Constitution?

      1. How quaint!

    3. So the federal government should let local leaders, like governors and mayors, make decisions about how to best handle their situation?

      1. Not a bad start, so long as their decisions pass the Constitutional filter.
        Not true in CA; Newsom has no Constitutional authority to imprison the population.

        1. Yea, I was just pointing out, via rhetorical question, that it’s exactly what they’re doing

    4. Sadly and unexpectedly the takes seem to be mostly falling on the “we just didn’t centrally plan hard enough” side. That’s what gives me the most anxiety about all this.

    5. The idea that we can just solve everything by electing an omniscient and omnipotent titular head of government, the right brand of leader, is fucking bullshit.
      The celebrity-and-monarchy obsessed public would like to disagree. They are obviously wrong, but they are fully enamored with the idea of Top Men.

      I blame public schools, which don’t make an effort to teach liberty or instill any sort of critical thought or heroic spirit in their charges, and parents, sipping Franzia in those quite school hours, blissful as little Sally is drained of her individualism.

  5. Why the Government Is No Good at Fighting Coronavirus

    Because they’re no good at anything?

    1. This.

      1. Have you seen them spend money?

        Or borrow money?

        They are the GOAT!

  6. Follow the incentives: to not screw up (bureaucrats) vs make money (entrepreneurs). One never leads to progress and often leads to stagnation; the other often leads to providing what people want and sometimes leads to scams. The bureaucrat of course takes advantage of the sometime-scam aspect to block the often-better aspect, because it’s better to avoid the seen-screw-up at the concomitant cost of avoiding the unseen-progress.

    1. Lol
      “Progress”
      Toward what?
      Progress has a goal. Without a goal, it’s simply development.
      So what’s the goal you have in mind, where do you see this sacred progress going?
      But sure, progress uber alles

      1. “Progress has a goal. Without a goal, it’s simply development.”

        Bullshit.
        Progress toward prosperity requires no goal, other than progress, regardless of your efforts to re-define words.

    2. Follow the incentives: to not screw up (bureaucrats) vs make money (entrepreneurs)

      It is a matter of risk-taking and personal responsibility. Bureaucrats learn very early not to take risks and not to take responsibility. Entrepreneurs learn that one must take a risk to do something useful, take the heat if you are wrong, and move on to the next challenge.

      Our public schools, the MSM, and the Democratic Party are all against taking risks and taking responsibility. That’s why we are forked.

  7. The MSM are the enemies of America.

    1. Yep. They’re supposed to be the watchdogs of the government for the citizens, and at some point along the way they devolved into the watchdogs against the people for the government.

      1. Maybe around the time they literally legalized propaganda? :/

  8. One could just as easily write an article about how inadequate the private sector would handle a crisis. Snake oil would abound. There would be no calls to shelter-in-place because it would hurt business and so on.

    Yes, the government has its problems but an absence of government in a crisis like this would be bizarre and painful.

    1. Beyond throwing about a bunch of money they don’t have, I fail to see how government helped in this latest crisis. Nearly all the pain is a result of poorly managed government response (pusillanimous New Yorkers fleeing the island notwithstanding).

    2. Heraclitus
      April.6.2020 at 12:19 pm
      “One could just as easily write an article about how inadequate the private sector would handle a crisis….”

      Not surprisingly for a fucking lefty ignoramus, your claim is unsupported by anything other than your ignorance.

  9. But it’s an outrage that we’re not simply fighting a pandemic, but fighting the government that is supposed to protect us from just such a thing.

    The government cannot manage the response to natural or even man-made disasters. They’re utterly hopeless in the face of a virus. All the greatest minds agree 10 million unemployed is nothing when faced with a bad cold.

    If this were a no-shit real killer virus, we’d be up shit’s creek right now.

  10. “One of the defining features of the coronavirus pandemic has been the failure of government, especially at the federal level”

    Did I miss the memo? Is Federalism definitively dead at Reason?

    1. When was it alive? Postrel era?

      Nick and Matt wrote the “Declaration of In Depends-ants” once, in a galaxy far far away.

  11. University of Washington updated their model last night. They’re now projecting the US outbreak to be over much sooner, and with a much lower death toll—around 81,000 deaths by August 1st.

    https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections

    1. Yeah, funny how the models predicted apocalypse when that was the preferred narrative of leftists, only to get quietly readjusted once those predictions failed to come true.

      Just like climate change.

      1. And just like climate change, the science behind the models is clearly explained and available for everyone to peruse.

        The site provides some descriptions of what’s changed, to shift the numbers. You might spend some time reading and less time responding.

        1. You might spend more time thinking and less time propagandizing.
          Hint:
          Not ONE (that’s ZERO) prediction of temperature change/time has gotten anywhere close to reality.
          Stuff it up your lefty ass after you’ve folded it to all-corners.

        2. Sevo is correct on climate change. It’s BS. (bad science)

          This virus is an unknown, different from what we have encountered before. Some of the early reports with super transmission rates and high death rates were overblown. But it’s still awful. Today is the 5th day of the last 6 with over 1,000 deaths in the USA. And the trend is still up, death rate doubling every 5-6 days. And we can’t predict when the rate will decline, despite that site with the projections of a max of 3,000 per day. They are only as good as the assumptions. And even after we pass the peak death rate, the decline will be slow with a very very long tail. China and S Korea are still reporting a trickle of deaths. Most people will be able to resume their normal lives, but those with compromised immune systems will not.

        3. God you’re a fucking idiot. The assumptions in the model are not clearly explained. And the source code is hidden. Fuck off simon.

    2. I’ll still take the under on that.

    3. And they STILL aren’t even correct! They overestimated hospital use in NY by 50% ON THE DAY THE MODEL WAS RELEASED.

  12. The problem with government stems from a failure to use it effectively. We spend too much time arguing the merits of small government vs large government. The focus should be on smart government. What is the smallest least intrusive program to secure the necessary outcome. Instead of looking at the CDC or FDA look to the State Department which should have been advising the government that there were real problems in China. If you fail to properly staff the Foreign Service and if you fire anyone who tells you something you don’t want to hear you are going to have problems. This week an IG was fired because he did his job will this make the bureaucracy work better. No. Government can not work well if you can not tell the leader of that government the truth. President Trump does not want to be told the truth he wants yes men. He would not listen till something he can not control told him the truth. The stock market.

    1. “…The focus should be on smart government…”

      You are naive to the point where I’ve got to assume you’re an adolescent.
      There is no such thing as ‘smart government’.

      1. Exactly. Human nature is the problem. People are imperfect and corrupt. It doesn’t matter the type or size of government, this will always be true. That’s why concentrating too much power in any one person, level, group, etc is unwise. Concentrated power leads to large scale mistakes and corruption with much greater damage to more people.

        1. I am curious, does you assertion apply to large businesses as well?

          1. “I am curious, does you assertion apply to large businesses as well?”

            Not to anything like the same degree, and I’m going to guess you have no idea at all as to why, absolutely none. Right?

            1. ‘Scuse me; answering for Big T, but I’ll let my response stand.

          2. Still waiting…

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  14. While there is plenty left to be desired in any federal government response, I think the Trump administration did a few important things right (which is more than we usually get from government). And I have zero doubt that if Gary Johnson or any other “libertarian” was President, he would have fucked it up so badly that nobody would ever have made the mistake of voting Libertarian ever again.

    You can’t just throw random ideological platitudes at people in a crisis and tell them to figure it out themselves. People panic when that happens, and panic on that scale is probably far more destructive than the disease as well.

    We can certainly argue about the effectiveness of the economic shutdowns (I think they were a mistake), but the “do nothing, let the market sort it out” approach of libertarian purists is also not an effective strategy when people need reassurance…especially when it will almost certainly be opposed by the leftist press, who will happily whip up the population into a frenzy.

  15. There was a piece that Yuval Levin wrote in National Review yesterday about work that the Bush administration did on global pandemics.Seems that GW read a book about and and decided it was a good idea to come up with a plan. (Article is called “Challenge of Preparation” and it’s on page 2 of The Corner for now).

    He linked a speech that Bush gave about the initiative and at the end he gave out a website -pandemicflu.gov. Under current situation. it says we are not currently experiencing an influenza pandemic. I suppose that technically, COVID-19 is not and influenza. But it seems like they spent a lot of money preparing for something and never bothered to use what they had at their disposal.

    1. This is printed at the bottom of the page

      Page last reviewed: January 24, 2019

      Frankly, I’m surprised it was maintained that long.

      1. Oh, but the “Current Situation” page was last reviewed Nov. 2016.

        https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/monitoring/current-situation.html

        So…blame Trump?

    2. Yes. And the Obama administration met with the Bush administration and had a proper hand-off. The Obama administration went through another ebola situation, and refined some of the pandemic directives. And then the hand-off to the Trump administration? Basically didn’t happen. Trump was there to dismantle Obama’s legacy and as much of government as he could.

      1. “…Trump was there to dismantle Obama’s legacy and as much of government as he could.”

        For which anyone but a fucking lefty ignoramus thanks him sincerely.
        Fuck off, slaver.

  16. Would we have been any more ready for a major volcanic explosion that spewed ash and prevented crops from being grown, or a cyber-attack or EMP that knocked out the power grid or even left the power on but knocked out the internet? No, in fact we would have even been less ready for these still plausible threats. Government’s first job is to protect its people, and our fails miserably. I’m tempted to make a partisan comment and say that if we weren’t wrangling over Russian Collusion and Impeachments they would have been on this, but I know that’s not even close to being true. The political class is too busy feeding at the trough (stock sales using insider info, for example) and protecting their own sorry asses to worry about us “little people”

  17. Count the number of areas the Federal government (attempts to) manage. Reflect a bit on which of those are actually within Constitutional bounds. Health insurance, education, energy, agriculture, transportation, and on and on. Truth is, the government is in far too many aspects of our lives in which it has no business, no expertise, indeed no ability. Yet we’re surprised when its efforts leave us wanting. Get the Federal government out of those areas, and leave them “to the States, or the People”, as originally envisioned.

  18. I am confused as to the relative responsibilities of the states and the federal government to plan for and to act against an epidemic. I get the impression that the states have a responsibility to stockpile masks and ventilators, and to make sure there is enough hospital space to admit large numbers of infected. If states fail early on and call for federal help, is it tantamount to an admission by the states that they dropped the ball? At what point does it become primarily a federal problem?

  19. The title of this article should be: Why the AMERICAN Government Is No Good at Fighting Coronavirus. If you read through a lot of the comments, the question is pretty much answered. Especially among the readership of this publication, there is the view that government can’t do anything right, or doesn’t serve a legitimate purpose. Rather than their goal being to *improve* government, their goal is to destroy government. Governments do have their problems – the first instinct of the political class in China was to hide the problem, but eventually they realized the problem needed to be recognized and strong measures taken to contain the problem. Trump’s first instinct was to pretend the problem wasn’t going to be a big deal, but like the Chinese government, realized to ignore it would potentially overwhelm every hospital in the US. Japan, Korea, and Singapore were hit hard by SARS-CoV in 2002 and H1N1 in 2009. – they learned lessons from those epidemics and were more prepared for the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. George Bush learned some things in the 2002 epidemic and passed the information along to Obama, who refined the response a bit after dealing with ebola. Trump? He didn’t want to listen to anyone; his administration refused to participate in a hand-off; imagining that the Obama administration couldn’t impart any worthwhile information. It seems there are people out there who imagine that letting a hypothetical three percent of the population die is not a big deal. Is it three percent that will die, or more? Ask an epidemiologist, whose position has been supported by the government. While there are private actuaries, there are not many private epidemiologists. And for better or worse, those who think 3% – what’s the big deal? Well, don’t try to visit a doctor, or emergency room, or have anything done in a hospital over the few months or longer that it takes that 3% to die. There are complications to having 3% of the population die – the kind of complications that only a government might be equipped to deal with. Or not. If you want a government that’s not capable of dealing with acute social disruption, why are you living in the United States and not a country like Somalia – where you can have your own army; acquire your own military hardware, and not pay taxes?

    1. “…Rather than their goal being to *improve* government, their goal is to destroy government…”

      That’s cute!

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