POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF COVID-19

Hoover Institution fellows are closely following the developments of the global COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak. This page hosts a daily digest of their latest analysis. 

[Last Updated: March 27, 2020]

March 27, 2020
  • Josh Rauh writes that US Congress should jettison proposals for a $50 billion airline bailout and instead allow carriers to file for bankruptcy: “That's a lot of taxpayer money. ... Investors should take losses in such a scenario. After all, they took the risk of investing in the hopes of earning a higher return.” [LINK]
  • Michael Auslin argues that China's repressive and deceptive response to the global COVID-19 outbreak has poisoned relations with the United States and could fuel a new cold war: "Beijing has long touted its techno-authoritarian model as superior to liberal forms of government. Ceding victory in the coronavirus battle would help cement the belief that the CCP’s repressive and opaque systems are the wave of the future." [LINK]

March 26, 2020
  • John Taylor argues that the United States needs to develop a coherent COVID-19 economic strategy that fosters the opening of markets, including tax cuts, regulatory reforms, and the repeal of unnecessary occupational licensing: “The US must take steps to limit job-destroying regulations and avert growth-sapping tax increases—before it’s too late.” [LINK]
  • Dr. Scott Atlas writes that targeted protections of the elderly and chronically ill against COVID-19 "would accomplish the goals of saving lives, avoiding the overwhelming of the medical system, allowing the essential immunity to develop among the population with virtually no risk of serious illnesses, and avoiding the massive economic calamity and all that would entail." [LINK]

March 25, 2020
  • Abe Sofaer agrees that Dr. Anthony Fauci's calls for individuals to limit social interaction is a credible policy to slow the infection rate of COVID-19, but he but argues for a clear indication of when the national shut down will end: "Economic disasters can cause as much if not more illness, deaths, crime and other harm, over a far longer period, than even a highly infectious virus." [LINK]
  • John Cochrane writes that applying the Defense Production Act, nationalizing industry, and forcing companies to produce durable medical equipment is unnecessary and inefficient: "Just pay a premium for the needed medical supply. So what if companies profit? Profit makes a great incentive."  [LINK]

March 24, 2020
  • Edward Lazear writes that, counter to current efforts to stimulate the economy, less consumer demand and business activity are needed to combat the spread of COVID-19: "Instead of stimulus, the government should provide what economists call liquidity—a financial cushion to allow businesses and individuals adversely affected by an inevitable decline in economic activity to have enough money to survive the shock." [LINK]
  • Richard Epstein argues that while the government should act with urgency to protect the elderly and those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak, America needs to also consider the long-term costs of government-imposed quarantines and shelter-in-place orders: "The public commands have led to a crash in the stock market, and may only save a small fraction of the lives that are at risk." [LINK]

March 23, 2020
  • In National Review, Victor Davis Hanson writes that the political climate surrounding the COVID-19 crisis favors advocates who call for severe precautions: "In contrast, those who advise caution out of fears of an economic meltdown will never be able to quantify the greater number of fatalities from a depression than from an infection." [LINK]
  • In his Boston Globe column, Niall Ferguson argues that the reason for the comparatively low death toll in East Asian countries like South Korea as opposed to Italy is that the former drew the right conclusions following "the searing experiences of SARS in 2003,  while most Western countries drew the wrong conclusions from their relatively mild encounter with H1N1 in 2009." [LINK]
  • In National Review, John Yoo says that under the US Constitution, state governments are in a more suitable position to combat pandemics like COVID-19: "Under their police power, only the states can impose quarantines throughout an entire population, close institutions and businesses, and limit movement and travel." [LINK]

March 20, 2020
  • Hoover fellow Kevin Hassett, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2017 to 2019, will return to the White House in an advisory role as the United States manages the economic impact of COVID-19. [LINK]
  • In an interview on the Hold These Truths podcast, hosted by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Edward Lazear says that the economic fall out of COVID-19 does not resemble the financial crisis of 2007–2008: “There is an obvious proximate cause and immediate factor that is reducing economic activity. When that goes away, economic activity should pick up again.” [LINK]

March 19, 2020
  • In an interview for National Review, Research Fellow Russ Roberts warns that the COVID-19 outbreak, in a worst-case scenario, may have significant financial implications: “I think there’s a chance we’ll have another round of bailouts.” [LINK]
  • In an interview with Fox News’s Martha MacCallum, Michael Auslin explains why the Chinese government’s claims that it has contained the COVID-19 outbreak are best met with skepticism: the regime cares most “about their own survival and not the people, either in China or around the world.” [LINK]
  • On the Grumpy Economist, John Cochrane writes that while debt relief during a crisis is an age-old tradition, bills and contracts will eventually be paid: “It usually means a transfer from whoever entered the crisis not immensely leveraged to those that did.” [LINK]
  • On The Classicist podcast, Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson argues that COVID-19 may exact an enormous human toll if self-isolation continues for much longer, with consequences including increased anxiety and idleness, and lost income, jobs, and businesses. [LINK]

March 18, 2020
  • In an interview on Fox News @ Night, Visiting Fellow John Yoo said that while city “lockdowns” might be going too far, he doesn’t believe they are a violation of constitutional rights. [LINK]
  • In an op-ed for RealClearPolitics, Michael Auslin, in Contemporary Asia, writes that, in its desperation to evade blame from the world community, Beijing’s propaganda machine has effectively reshaped the narrative about the origins of COVID-19. [LINK]

March 17, 2020
  • In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Senior Fellow John Cochrane writes that what the US economy needs during this crisis is more lending and not just a “cash dump” from the federal government: “Since loans must be paid back, larger amounts can go where needed.” [LINK]
  • In the American Interest, Distinguished Visiting Fellow Josef Joffe writes that there is no need for the world’s democracies to adopt China’s model of repression to contain the spread of COVID-19: “If governments communicate truthfully with the people, the ruled do what needs to be done voluntarily.” [LINK]
  • In National Review, Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson says the global toll of the coronavirus can be attributed back to the Communist Party of China. [LINK]

March 16, 2020
  • In his Boston Globe column, Niall Ferguson argues that America’s “panic phase” of the COVID-19 epidemic is paradoxically a good one. He says that the United States was at greater risk of infection than Italy but was able to mitigate the pandemic’s effects early enough through policies of social distancing. [LINK]

 

For complete coverage of the analysis and commentary by Hoover Institution fellow on the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.