New Data Show HUGE Economic Gulf Between Lockdown and Free States
When COVID-19 first came to our shores, it presented policymakers and elected officials with a crisis like nothing in living memory. In the year since, states have taken markedly different approaches to pandemic policy. Some, like New York, embraced sweeping government lockdowns and top-down mandates while others like Florida and South Dakota took a more humble, hands-off government approach, trusting individuals to make the best decisions for themselves.
The results are in—and they overwhelmingly vindicate the free states over the authoritarian experiments. First, we saw that states with the harshest restrictions didn’t actually achieve the best COVID-19 death outcomes. Meanwhile, free state economies have fared much better.
The national unemployment rate was a poor if not disastrous 6.2 percent in February. Yet new Labor Department data show that many free states have returned to nearly their pre-pandemic unemployment rates while lockdown states dominate the wrong end of the list.
Hands-off states such as South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, and New Hampshire top the list with unemployment rates hovering around a stellar 3 percent. States that received enormous flak for eschewing drastic lockdowns like Georgia and Florida both rank in the top 20.
Meanwhile, the worst 10 states, with unemployment rates from 7 to 9 percent, include lockdown-happy localities like New York, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, D.C., and Rhode Island.
There is a clear trend here. Free states have largely avoided the labor market carnage associated with the COVID pandemic, while lockdown states have wrought much higher unemployment levels—without guaranteeing better pandemic health outcomes.
New Trade Rep Says US Won’t Roll Back Trump’s Tariffs Yet
Former President Trump’s tariffs took the shine off an otherwise excellent pre-pandemic economy and killed far more jobs than they “protected.” But unfortunately, the new administration doesn’t appear eager to roll back the last one’s destructive trade policies—at least, not right away.
“The U.S. isn’t ready to lift tariffs on Chinese imports in the near future, but might be open to trade negotiations with Beijing, according to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai,” the Wall Street Journalreports. “‘I have heard people say, ‘Please just take these tariffs off,’ Ms. Tai said. But ‘yanking off tariffs,’ she warned, could harm the economy unless the change is ‘communicated in a way so that the actors in the economy can make adjustments.’”
The Biden administration reticence really is a shame. Revoking tariffs would NOT hurt the economy—Tai would be hard-pressed to find any serious economist who would agree with her claim—it would actually stimulate growth. Tariffs prohibit mutually beneficial trades from occurring that would all be net wealth creating exchanges.
Every day the Biden administration drags its feet on reversing course is a day too long.
Data of the Day: An astonishing new figure from the Census Bureau reveals that 10.7% of American adults report not having enough to eat. Turns out, robbing people of their livelihoods has consequences.
Meme of the Day:
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