Day: April 16, 2020

Lockdowns have overreached and are flattening our livelihoods

Millions of Americans are in the penalty box as we speak. They have followed the advice of state and local officials and stayed home to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses are on hold, birthdays are canceled, travel is limited, and we are glued to our screens to see how this all ends. While some of us have been able to carry on work, essential or not, during this trying time, that’s just not possible for most.

More than 16 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since lockdown orders went into effect in mid-March, and economists say we could face as high as 20% unemployment by summer.

It is certainly true that many states and cities have saved lives by ordering us to stay home. But blanket lockdowns are now flattening our livelihoods in a way that’s more dangerous than this pandemic.

Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg says that by closing down all schools and jobs, we are “actually creating more damage, more long term death, more long term unemployment and unpleasantness for the whole population compared to what you’re achieving in saving lives.”

He’s right. It’s why Austria and Denmark have already begun to relax their lockdowns and open up their economies, though with social distancing rules still in effect. European leaders see the real damage that has been done to societies, and it is time to turn the tide while remaining responsible.

That is exactly what the American people can do as well.

We can still be responsible by socially distancing where necessary, wearing facemasks, quarantining at-risk groups and using technology to track the spread of the virus. That is what countries going back to work have done since the start. That will be more effective than forcing businesses to shutter, driving many of our compatriots to food banks or the brink of homelessness.

We have to look no further than our own hospitals.

It’s true that many health facilities in major cities are overwhelmed, and we should be sending them every resource where possible.

But by canceling elective surgeries and operations that feed their budgets, rural and county hospitals have ironically begun laying off hundreds of thousands of health professionals and administrative staff. This is not because they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients but rather because they don’t have any patients at all.

If we are losing health professionals during a pandemic, then we’re doing something wrong.

A one-sized fits-all-approach is usually misguided in our federal system, and it’s wrong now. There are 27 states that have had less than 100 fatalities, yet are still imposing crushing lockdowns. It’s no wonder so many are itching to get back to work.

It’s time to admit lockdowns are not a universal answer to the crisis we face.

Many criticize President Trump for his desire to open up the American economy. But his anxiety is a signal to workers and entrepreneurs everywhere: The pain and suffering of the novel coronavirus are real, but losing your income and prospects for feeding your family is just as bad or sometimes even worse.

Americans are a robust, strong and resilient people. We understand that things may never be the same, but we should be trusted to continue our lives while following the guidance of our scientists and doctors.

That is the balance we need to protect our livelihoods and save those most vulnerable.

Yaël Ossowski is deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Republished in the Waco Tribune-Herald.

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

6 Amazing Medical Breakthroughs we should be thankful for

Thanks to continuous innovation in medical sciences and biotechnology we have seen amazing breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmaceuticals in the past two decades. These breakthroughs would not have been possible without incentives for inventors and investors. We can still only cure or treat 5% of all known diseases. Reducing incentives for innovation and intellectual property rights would risk finding cures for the remaining 95%.

This is a list of just six innovations of the last two decades that dramatically improve the lives of millions of people.

MEP Isabel Benjumea on COVID-19

The terrible COVID-19 pandemic that we are experiencing brings with it not only a health and humanitarian disaster but also an economic, social and political crisis. Faced with this issue, we must not forget that moments of weakness and crisis lay a ground for interventionists and statists of all political affiliations, who will try to take advantage’ of these moments of tremendous uncertainty to push forward their dogmas in societies filled with fear.  

The confinement of citizens as the main measure of prevention against the virus and the extensive powers channelled by governments for that matter can be interpreted as the ideal safeguard to enforce statist dogmas. One of them goes as follows, “only the state is capable of protecting you from this threat [coronavirus] only the  State has a clear understanding of what is happening and acting to that end (thus monopolising information and the truth), it is the State that marks the times and that administers your daily life… Ergo: it is the State that will save you in the end”.

Yet, as is usually the case, reality prevails over utopia and facts take over dogmatic dreams. Let’s look at what’s happening in Spain- my home country – which is also, unfortunately, one of the countries most affected by this terrible pandemic.

In the face of the centralised and interventionist measures of a socialist government that is not very freedom-loving, the private initiative has managed to tackle the exasperating slowness of government management. While the central government was piling up sanitary material to ensure a fair and equal distribution, different companies came together to buy sanitary materials and bring them to our country. While this government got lost in bureaucratic procedures and press conferences without journalists, the public-private collaboration in regions and cities allowed the acquisition of material, the direct management of the public health emergency and even the construction or adaptation of new hospitals. While the socialist government is selling supposed aid to increase public spending, small, medium and large companies, along with individual donors who are giving out thousands of grants and contributions to fight the virus and help the most vulnerable and affected groups.

If we allow the usual statist propaganda to manipulate reality and make up for what is happening, the post-coronavirus era might signify a dangerous return to a dark past. All solutions to this crisis and all contributions to building the future must as always, come from effective and accountable institutions with limited power. And they should embrace a strong private initiative and embrace its role in the global search for the most sensible solution.

And let’s also be clear that those who have seized all the power will not want to give it up easily. An uncontrollable government that has had the opportunity to manage the daily lives of its citizens will not give away that power. That is why we must take it all seriously and insist that each and every one of the individual rights given up in this crisis is preserved.

It is essential to understand these potential dangers before choosing an action plan. Before passing legislation in the fields of health, tax, labour or social affairs, we must be clear about the dangers that lie ahead and the path to follow.

More specifically, in relation to the supply of medicines and health material, I previously used the Spanish case as an example: so far it has been a public-private collaboration that helped find a way out of the gridlock that the country found itself in. And there must be rules and regulations, of course, following the simple maxim: “few and clear”.

Hyper-regulation and bureaucracy that blocks the supply channels makes the products more expensive and delays their delivery and subsequent distribution. Let’s speed up purchases by limiting the security checks instead. The liberalization of the pharmaceutical sector, allowing the sale of medicines that do not need a prescription outside pharmacies and online. It is also crucial to lower the burden faced by the pharmaceutical sector both in its internal organization and in the creation of new enterprises. This may help reduce the price of products.

Alongside this liberalisation, the institutions must focus their regulations on ensuring product quality, especially in such important areas as health. Obviously, the existence of patents that have to overcome all the demanding safety and quality filters is absolutely justifiable. At the same time, they ensure the interest of private research, necessary for public and health benefit. But it will also be the role of the institutions to facilitate the management of patents, to prevent monopolies and abuses in the market that could prevent free competition and its consequent lowering of the price of the product. 

Liberalising measures combined with the security framework to be provided by the institutions, reduction and simplification of the hyper-regulation that delays the management of solutions and public-private collaboration in the search for solutions are the way forward. And the key is that these are not ideological dogmas; they are lessons drawn from observing what is happening; from examining the disastrous reality.

Las opiniones y opiniones expresadas aquí son de los autores y no reflejan necesariamente la política oficial o la posición del Centro de Elección del Consumidor. Cualquier contenido proporcionado por nuestros bloggers o autores es de su opinión.

Consumer Choice Center es el grupo de defensa del consumidor que apoya la libertad de estilo de vida, la innovación, la privacidad, la ciencia y la elección del consumidor. Las principales áreas de política en las que nos enfocamos son digital, movilidad, estilo de vida y bienes de consumo, y salud y ciencia.

El CCC representa a los consumidores en más de 100 países de todo el mundo. Monitoreamos de cerca las tendencias regulatorias en Ottawa, Washington, Bruselas, Ginebra y otros puntos críticos de regulación e informamos y activamos a los consumidores para luchar por #ConsumerChoice. Obtenga más información en consumerchoicecenter.org

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