Central Planning

by John Tamny
The American Institute for Economic Research

To read the lofty coronavirus relief proposals from Democrats and Republicans is to detect confusion about what powers economic growth. Neither side gets it.

Up front, no one seems to have asked a simple question: was anyone calling for Congress and the President to craft a “stimulus” program in February? The question answers itself. No one was looking for economic relief simply because it wasn’t needed.

So why now? Why the call for Congress to spend with abandon? This question similarly answers itself, but for those still half awake, politicians on the city, state and national levels imposed lockdowns on economic activity beginning in March. Yes, you read that right. Even though economic growth has long been the greatest enemy of virus, disease and ill health more broadly, politicians decided that the answer to the coronavirus was to force an economic contraction that destroyed tens of millions of jobs, millions of businesses, and that otherwise created economic desperation. Historians will marvel at the matchless stupidity of the U.S. the political class. They actually disappointed us this time, which is saying something.

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