Coronavirus

How the Government Can Make Life Better in 2021

Open the schools, accelerate vaccine distribution, and stop being so generous with other people’s money.

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It's the beginning of a new year. It's almost the beginning of a new presidential administration, too. In theory, now is a perfect time for some resolutions: to start fresh, fix the mistakes of the past, or do what we never got around to doing. In that spirit, I offer some advice to the Biden administration; Congress; and state and local governments.

State and local governments should reopen schools. That many schools are still not providing in-person instruction is unforgivable. We've known for months now that in many scenarios, in-person instruction poses little risk to children, their teachers, and their communities. Indeed, in Germany, school closures were not associated with reduced transmission of COVID-19.

And yet, schools in counties such as mine have been closed for over 300 days, even in the face of the known high costs of online instruction. In Arlington County, where I live, failing grades at middle school and high school levels have increased by 200 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

Sadly, high school children who hoped their athletic performance would help them get into college or get scholarships have also been stuck at home. Lower-income children and those with disabilities are impacted the most, and equity of access was even used as an excuse to stop all new instruction back in March 2020.

As for Congress, it must stop being so generous with other people's money. This extra spending creates serious economic distortions and counterproductive behavior related to unemployment benefits or bailouts.

Legislators from both parties have been fiscally reckless for years. But it has gotten worse during this pandemic under the stewardship of a Republican president who openly says that he doesn't care about higher spending. The result is a Congress that abdicates all sense of restraint and approves large checks to Americans, whether they were professionally affected by the COVID-19 crisis or not.

The federal government is dispensing bonuses on top of unemployment insurance payments, often providing more money for not working than working. Other wasteful expenditures include repeated bailouts to airlines.

The negative consequences of this unchecked spending will be huge. The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, warned that an extension of unemployment bonuses and benefits creates disincentives to work and a slowdown of the economy. This extra spending also produces an ungodly level of debt, which academic research shows will ultimately slow economic growth. This means that future generations will both live in a slower-growth environment and face higher taxes to pay for today's obscene spending. And this doesn't even address the cultural distortions created by programs designed to pay people not to work.

Finally, the administration must speed up not only the distribution of existing vaccines but also the approvals of new drugs. The private sector has delivered the vaccine to fight this pandemic at a speed never before seen. As much as I fear setting the precedent that we can only be freed from destructive lockdowns once we have large-scale vaccination, it seems like the only way politicians will allow us to get our lives back. This means that vaccine distribution is a priority and needs to be accelerated.

Sadly, the government is often inept at doing the basic stuff that the private sector does on a regular basis. That's why someone on Twitter once joked that if Amazon and Chick-fil-A were in charge of vaccine distribution, they'd have the population vaccinated in no time. There's some truth to this. The new administration should consider leveraging the private sector for that job.

Increasing the supply of vaccines is also a priority. One way is for the Food and Drug Administration to approve new ones faster. Waiting through an endless FDA process costs many lives for no reason. The FDA could also consider authorization for giving only half a dose of the Moderna vaccine, which has been shown to provide an "identical immune response" to the standard dose.

According to the FDA, the data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine show that "Efficacy against severe COVID-19 occurring after the first dose was 88.9%." So the FDA should consider approving "first doses first" distribution: The priority should be giving the first dose to more people before giving a smaller group two doses.

These are only a few things I wish to see happen soon. Once that's done, Congress and state officials can then tackle ending cronyism, reforming welfare, and ending all the regulations that make it harder for lower-income workers and minorities to work and prosper.

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    1. Want to make life “better” for Americans? Stop voting for Republicans and Democrats!

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      1. Unfortunately, your approach doesn’t work, and instead emboldens the statists since the libertarians no longer participate in voting, and we’ve never succeeded in electing a L to Congress other than Justin Amish, who was initially elected as a Republican and just switched parties. Your approach doesn’t help guys like Amish get initially elected.

        I’d advise voting for politicians who support freedom based on their record. That’s just a minority of the GOP plus the Libertarian candidates. Yeah, and when given a choice between a RINO and a Democrat, vote for the libertarian.

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      3. Ignore what lefty shits post, lefty shit.

    2. The only possible way the government can make anyone’s life better this year is by staying out of our lives.

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      1. The TDS Reason staff, and the rest of us, now gets Biden instead of Trump. I saw few articles about all the libertarian things Trump did (none that I can remember), and instead, Reason joined the MSM in pilling on of criticism mostly based on style, not substance, and often based on lies reported by the MSN.

        So what does a TDS infected Reason writer do now? Instead of pilling on criticism, they’re hopeful a statist like Biden won’t act like one. Biden wants to force everyone to wear a mask for 100 days, and I don’t believe he has the Constitutional authority. How about criticizing that anti-freedom policy? Whoops, not mentioned in a libertarian magazine (at least I thought it was). They should have shown the same deference to Trump.

        Seems Charles Koch, has decided his business does better not fighting the statists running the country. I’d say he’s surrendered to the political establishment because they’re retaliating against their political opponents, and using the government to do it.

      2. Massive self immolation.

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  1. According to the FDA, the data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine show that “Efficacy against severe COVID-19 occurring after the first dose was 88.9%.” So the FDA should consider approving “first doses first” distribution: The priority should be giving the first dose to more people before giving a smaller group two doses.

    The efficacy of only one dose may be nearly as high as the efficacy of two doses, but were the risks of only one dose vs. two studied as thoroughly? Probably should stick with 2 doses unless we know that it is at least as safe to human health to do 1 dose compared to 2 doses.

    Also, could there be an issue with virus mutations when using one dose vs. two? If using one dose means the vaccine is less effective, then more virus gets to linger longer, meaning it has more opportunity to mutate, meaning that the vaccine will be less likely to be effective in the long run?

      1. That’s right. Judge science with politics. That’s really smart.

    1. You’re painfully stupid.

      1. Come on, is posting an insult how you want to be known? I might support your position if you supplied some reasoning or an argument as to why.

        But personally I see chemjeff’s as an ironic attack on the political establishment’s use of “science” to lord over us. The statists in government use double blind human trials as their science standard, while ignoring all the other science. I’m sure there is data for patients after they get just one dose, but that’s merely for a limited time until they get the planned 2nd dose shortly thereafter, making that data not so useful to predict the efficiency of just one shot.

        Besides, consider where we are thanks to Trump: we have a vaccine shot (for those who want it) coming shortly; while with Biden it wouldn’t have been ready for years. And partly thanks to all the lack of support for Trump’s libertarian policies (can we give thanks to him forcing US drug makers to sell drugs in the US at the same lower price they sell to customers overseas; thus, so we no longer subsidize foreigners and Big Pharma at US consumer expense – a huge libertarian win), Biden is likely rolling them back.

        1. funny, I saw Diane’s comment as “an ironic attack on the political establishment’s use of “science” to lord over us”

  2. How the Government Can Make Life Better in 2021

    The people in it commit mass suicide.

    1. If they would just make sure everything we do is 100% safe, everyone would be happy.r

  3. Apparently the SAGE report in the UK provided significant information about Covid and children.
    Apparently, when a household becomes infected, it is most likely that the first person to be infected was a person under 17 who then infected the other household members.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tfc-children-and-transmission-update-paper-17-december-2020

    1. That’s the way it usually is with colds, and Covid-19 is basically a cold to which some people’s immune systems react strangely, so it was plausible to think that of Covid-19. I’ll have to look at the papers for the empiric data, no time now, but did they judge infection just by either viral RNA or antibody tests? Because if so, maybe children were the best way to spread immunity.

      1. You know, like the way domesticated animals have been credited for immunizing mankind against a great range of infectious agents.

  4. Low income workers and minorities will never be able to get a decent wage when your fellows at Reason get their way and an unlimited number of enterprising Mexicans and Central Americans are allowed across the border.

    Why hire any American with even small problems when you can get someone else who will work harder and complain less for less money?

    Any less-than-great American worker will languish on welfare for years. That’s what your town needs, right? A population of people who can never get work because they made a couple mistakes early in their lives?

    At least rich people living behind gates will do ok for a long time. Congrats. Hope that’s what you wanted.

    1. If someone offers a comparable service for lower prices, many go with the lower price. That’s generally how markets work. I’m not willing to pay a “nationality” tax based on where my physical labor originated from, and to suggest that is acceptable is fucking disgusting.

      1. That 10% of people who are chronically unemployed or on and off welfare live in your town. They have nothing to do all day and no hope for anything. They’re around you and your family all the time.

        They could get work and improve their lives and become an asset to the community. But you wanted to save a few dollars and hired a foreigner instead. Hope you like the social desperation you created.

      2. You either pay a bit more for the labor or pay taxes for the welfare. Go ahead a make your labor for your business live in a broken down school bus. I’m sure it will be sustainable.

    2. Does that really happen, locking people out of the work force for life based on some adverse selection early?

      1. Not completely out of all work. But anything that could pay well.

        Someone commits a crime an pleads guilty at 19. Maybe they get a few years probation because it was a first offense. Now they are a convicted felon and locked out of about half the jobs.

        The other jobs where there’s some discretion ask “have you been convicted of a felony?” It’s extremely hard to get a job if you say yes. Add enough slack to the labor pool from hard-working Mexicans and others and it becomes next to impossible.

        But let’s say it’s not that and you just smoked weed instead of learning in school. You can overcome that if you become the ultimate go-getter, even with an oversupply of labor. The regular people who don’t become amazing can get work one year and have nothing the next two.

        It’s not a recipe for a healthy society. But Reason doesn’t care.

        1. The problem here seems to be mainly about having too many laws, specifically, too many crimes that are felonies that perhaps shouldn’t be. If there were fewer crimes in general, a mistake early in life may not turn into a permanent scarlet letter following that person around for the rest of his/her life.

          So bitching about the Mexicans is rather besides the point at least when it comes to this particular problem. But it is telling that you turn to the foreigners as a scapegoat to blame in lieu of the actual problem.

        2. Incidentally, there are people out there who are already looking to reduce the effects of past felony records in securing gainful employment.

          https://bantheboxcampaign.org/

          Warning, they tend to be lefties though.

  5. Lol, yeah. They’ll get right on that.

  6. The commies at unreason wanted democrats and democrats are about communism.

  7. OT: Is there a passive voice hall of fame?

    “DC Mayor Bowser on the shooting death inside the Capitol today: One Capitol Police Officer discharged their serviceweapon, striking an adult female”

    1. Maybe not passive voice exactly but bullshit police shooting jargon, nonetheless

  8. The government can make lifes better only when people are cooperative and constructive about it.

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  11. “As for Congress, it must stop being so generous with other people’s money. This extra spending creates serious economic distortions and counterproductive behavior related to unemployment benefits or bailouts.”

    The Democrats have complete control of the government. The generosity with other people’s is going to the firewall. They do not pay even lip service to fiscal restraint, and they despise libertarians.

    1. “despise Libertarians” I think they look at us more as a joke. The criticism of our policies/beliefs is always that “well we tried that and see where it got us. You dont want to be like somalia or something right” I guess they forget that a social compact requires consent to the rules by all members affected. Alot of us didnt agree to these laws and control. Most people dont even understand what real freedom means, not saying I do any better but we need to be able to make that choice for ourselves first. Not be forced into it. They clearly despise Republicans, or Trumpists now that most conservatives have abadoned the idea of the republican party. Christ look at the shit theyve said about the right for years. Gotta get those re education camps going.

      1. No they do not. They think libertarian thought has been dominant when they are out of power. That might seem absurd, but it is what they believe.

        1. Either way, we all lose.

        2. But…it is, isn’t it? Look at it on an objective scale, where all the possibilities are laid out, and the midpoint between the extremest extremes you can imagine is the gnomon you measure by. One extreme is 100% of what’s yours is yours, the opposite is 0% of what’s yours is yours. The midpoint is 50%, and we’re on the libertarian side of that.

          Imagine a world in which 100% of your choices are your own, and another where it’s 0%. The latter would be most easily envisioned as akin to the result of some surgery resulting in a complete cutoff of the consciousness-processing parts of everyone’s brain from their muscles. Surely we’re on the libertarian side of the midpoint of that, in that more than 50% of your choices are reflected in your actions (and remember that speaking and even speechless voluntary breathing are actions). Consider the vast panoply of choices we have, like which socks to put on, that nobody even thinks of restricting you from, but conceivably could. We’re on the libertarian side.

      2. OK, then what’s the best we can do given the range of choices the mass will allow us? There’s always wiggle room, and if the currency of society is literally other people’s money, how can we work with that to improve our lives? Can we at least get it equitably distributed?

        1. As long as everybody gets what they think is fair right? Other people dont exist to make your life better. Stop expecting that you deserve anything.

  12. After yesterday, this is all out the window.

    Never mind making life better, I’ll settle for holding together our Republic.

    1. Where is our Octavian?

    2. Americans should have thought of that five years age when Trump was still a sideshow character from the Simpsons!

    3. The Republic is dead. Sorry. And I would be saying that even if Trump had miraculously overturned the election. At least with Trump we would have slowed our descent to communism and had a chance to punish the criminals. But I agree with others who said that you can’t have a Republic if no one trusts the electoral process and there is no relief for people who are cheated

    4. for the sake of the kids, right?

  13. The question isn’t what government can do (or not do) to make our lives better, the question is what we as citizens can do to make life better for our government. And the answer is simple: Obey. Don’t think, just obey. Don’t question, just obey. Don’t imagine alternative realities, just obey. Only then will government have the citizenry it deserves.

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  14. So congrats on youre PHD. But youve got be the perfect representation of stupid Libertarians. Youre last paragraph says it all about current Libertarians that i think has infected especially this publication. You really think any of that is going to change, it will be worse. Especially under a Democrat run government. Dont worry about all the personal liberties that will be crushed. Again, the one thing Republicans and Democrats can both agree on is spending money. I cant take the authors seriously on this site when their premise is ” well if we trust them theyll get it all sorted out”. Christ why even write at “libertarian” publication if you think government will be the cure.

    1. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan:

      “If government is the answer, you’re asking the wrong question.”

  15. “Open the schools”

    As Koch / Reason libertarians, our priority should be #OpenTheBorders. Schools should open only after the teachers’ unions decide it’s safe.

  16. Congress and state officials can then tackle ending cronyism
    They will get on that later. Right now the next generation of officials need to make their millions.

  17. Wish I shared Veronique’s optimism and warm fuzzy thoughts about government. But for the past 30 years at least, all the government has wanted to do is is to make life shittier for the opponents of the party in power.

  18. All good suggestions, but I am afraid they are a little too late.

    The easy one is the money. There is no reason to give everyone a direct check, but that horse left the barn when President Trump endorsed a $2000 check for everyone. Progressive jumped on that and their will be no holding it back, now. Write that money off.

    There is mounting pressure to look at faster better vaccine distribution including start with a single does. Want to move this along faster get the current Administration to talk to the incoming. The more Biden’s people know on day one the faster that can move speeding up on vaccinations.

    At this point school are likely lost till fall. Saying open schools is easy. Planning for it is hard. So no one planned and we are likely stuck.

    1. Saying open schools is easy. Planning for it is hard.
      Planning is easy. They do it every year. Oh, you mean planning that satisfies the panicked Karens.

      1. Yes, the panicked Karens and it would have been easy, but no one really tried.

        Other countries planned and have schools opened. Some Universities successfully opened. But all people wanted to do was talk. So our schools are closed.

        1. Why should we worry about them?

          I mean, there is more evidence of the election being stolen than schools being a major source of covid infections. Shouldn’t we just mock them and tell them to go fuck themselves?

          1. Yes, actually. And you’re absolutely right.

            There’s not much evidence at all to show mass voter fraud. There’s loads of evidence from loads of places that all show schools are not a major vector of transmission and should be open, and all that science is being actively avoided and/or brushed aside by the very people who claim to Follow The Science™️.

  19. If even half of the rumors I’ve read about the foreign interference were correct, the guns will definitely be going because the country as we know it is going. We are heading to one world government now. On the bright side, you will get plenty of drugs to keep you placid.

  20. Congress and state officials can then tackle ending cronyism, reforming welfare, and ending all the regulations that make it harder for lower-income workers and minorities to work and prosper.

    Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha….!
    Sarcasm…right…???? Tongue in cheek…???? Huh…???

  21. South Dakota had 33%+ bed availability all through the peak.

    Are all the lockdowns states so much worse than South Dakota?

  22. No, keep the schools closed. Forever. It will be cheaper to pay for the retirement of every teacher and administrator than to keep this institution going indefinitely. We don’t need schooling to have learning and babysitting. Big waste of time and money.

    1. But the kiddos will starve without their free lunch programs.

      1. Mommy needs to lay off the crack and plant a garden. Many foods reproduce their own seed, water is generally free, soil is hardly expensive the ONLY EXCUSE is LAZY!

    2. Unless they cut the spending to zero, I want SOMETHING for what they’re mugging me for.

  23. “Please, Great Leader, consider how we humbly petition you to grant us a little more freedom, within the bounds determined by your wise understanding of our needs and future!”

    Libertarianism in 2021

  24. The CDC told state governments months ago to be ready to get the vaccine to their citizens, yet the states are acting like the vaccine distribution is a big surprise.

  25. “How the Government Can Make Life Better in 2021” That’s a pretty un-libertarian way to phrase it, but this is reason after all. Here’s the answer: STOP. Absolutely everything, just stop doing anything. Although I’m not an anarchists and do believe in police, courts and military at this point the government as a whole does so much damage for the little good it does, we’d be better off as a whole even completely fending for ourselves with defense of our life, liberty, property and rights as the government is by far the worse offender of those.

  26. What the government will do in 2021:

    1) Keep schools closed until the country submits to Teacher’s Union demands.

    2) Politicize distribution of the vaccine to politically favored cliques.

    3) Spend tons and tons more of other people’s money.

  27. “Once that’s done, Congress and state officials can then tackle ending cronyism, reforming welfare, and ending all the regulations that make it harder for lower-income workers and minorities to work and prosper.”

    Brilliant satire. 10/10. Glad I read all the way to the end.

  28. How can politicians make life better for Americans? Given that they will never make decisions to rescind bad laws, dismantle all of the unconstitutional bureaucracies, cease meddling in private affairs, and stop stealing our money, the only way they can help is…

    Q: What do you call 100,000 politicians at the bottom of the ocean?
    A: A good start.

  29. Regulations aren’t the cause of high black unemployment. It’s the complete opposite. The lack of enforcement of Civil Rights laws is the cause:

    mployers, she found, were more likely to hire a white man, even if he had a felony conviction, than a black man with no criminal record.

    “This suggests that being black in America today is essentially like having a felony conviction in terms of one’s chances of finding employment,” Dr. Pager said in a video interview with the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.

    Her finding, which appeared first in her doctoral dissertation in 2003 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, surprised many.–https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/obituaries/devah-pager-dead.html

    1. I’m betting mployers lives in a [D] environment OR just made the whole thing up. Democrats are pure racists! The party of slavery! Always has been; always will be no matter how much they like to project their blatant faults onto everyone around them.

      I live in an [R] environment and there’s not a single person I know who hires or fires by the color of a persons skin. I do however know of one person who actually tried to *entitle* himself above and beyond all the the other people that got laid-off simply because of the color of his skin. B.S. regulated racist *entitlements* certainly hasn’t been an asset to whatever problems an area has.

      1. Putting all that aside; Do you think Black business owners won’t hire black people too? Why is there this blind assertion that all employment is by people of white skin color? Why haven’t black people offered their own color of skin employment opportunity? Do you think white people ran around burning down all black-owned business? The last report of that was by BLM!

        You see no matter how you try to paint your racist narrative; your case has absolutely no foundation. As such the narrative itself is just purely bias racism. Frankly I’m sick and tired of pretending people are anything but the color of their skin.

  30. Reason, forever deluded.

    I suspect that now Big Bad Trump is gone, the likes of Reason will hold hopes of sanity from the Democrats, who in reality, are their preferred team.

    Welcome to the asylum.

    1. If Reason thinks Trump was bad, I’d like to see them rationalize Joe ‘Damn straight we rigged the bitch’ Biden. By the time the Democrats are done, the word liberty will be on the same level as racist and KKK.

      And then they can write a series of Poo-tee-weet and ‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ articles on a loop for four years.

  31. How the Government Can Make Life Better in 2021
    Kill itself.

  32. Get a new job Veronique. Not only is America done and not going to entertain a lick of your ideas, neither will Reason.

    Time for the diaspora to find a new home.

    Today Reason reached Peak Derp and jumped a shark or two.

  33. Joe Biden and his progressive cronies will do the exact opposite of everything in this article. Then they will double down and do it again.

  34. “how the government can make life better”???
    “We are from the government and are here to help…”
    Stop already! Just GO AWAY!

    You’re not even suppose to be here unless we are being attacked by a foreign entity — SOooooo….. You must be that foreign entity here to attack us?!?!?! I have a city government, county government, and state government — I don’t need any national government personal dictation!!!

  35. Last year wasn’t as we thought and almost everyone stuck in their houses for their better lives. Although that affect their life style a very much. But hope to get better vibes in this year, as the vaccines are approaching.

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