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Aug 02 2020

Staying Open Worked for Sweden, but Lockdowns May Work for Democrats

Whereas the rest of the world panicked over the Wuhan coronavirus and imposed draconian lockdowns that crippled the economy, Sweden took a more measured approach:

Sweden avoided a hard lockdown. The nation of 10 million people instead opted for a strategy that sought to encourage social distancing through public information, cooperation, and individual responsibility. Restaurants, bars, public pools, libraries, and most schools remained open with certain capacity limits.

The media shrieked in outrage because Sweden would not join in the panic. Models were used to predict that Sweden’s healthcare system would collapse, and that vast numbers would die. Neither happened.

Total COVID-19 deaths in Sweden stand at 5,700, nearly 90,000 less than modelers predicted. Hospitals were never overrun. Daily deaths in Sweden have slowed to a crawl. The health agency reports no new ICU admissions.

What the modelers and the shrill authoritarians in the liberal media failed to realize is that people are capable of adjusting their behavior to threats without government coercion.

One might argue that caution was warranted given the unknown threat of COVID-19. This argument is less persuasive when the costs of the lockdowns—a looming global recession, hundreds of millions of jobs lost, millions of businesses shuttered, historic social unrest, surging extreme poverty, and widespread health deterioration—are taken into account.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to learn from our mistakes.

If Democrats prevail in November, they will not see the devastating lockdowns as a mistake. On the contrary, as Phil Gramm points out in an excellent editorial,

When unemployment and poverty rates hit record lows in late 2019, while retirement accounts and average household incomes surged to record highs, Joe Biden understood that general-election voters would never go for Bernie Sanders’s tax-and-spend socialism or Elizabeth Warren’s command-and-control version.

Biden secured the nomination running as the lone moderate. It seemed likely that he would lose to Trump.

Then the effects of the lockdowns set in: massive unemployment and social unrest that has more to do with the lockdown’s pressure cooker effect on youth than with the dead criminal in Minneapolis.

[A]fter he won the nomination as the only “moderate” in the race, the new world of the coronavirus shutdown revealed a new candidate who wants “not just to rebuild the economy, but to transform it,” as Mr. Biden said in a May address. In rapid succession he adopted the Sanders platform, the cornerstone of the Warren candidacy, and the most radical racial agenda in recent U.S. history.

The lockdowns could take the USA from a Trump reelection to Venezuela-style socialism in one short year. That is no mistake from the liberal point of view.

On tips from Lyle and Varla.




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