The COVID-19 Crisis Demands Vigilance in More Ways than One

An NYPD officer stands guard in an almost empty Times Square during the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, March 31, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
We must do everything possible to ensure that the extraordinary policies enacted to fight the pandemic today don’t become a danger to us tomorrow.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘W ar is the health of the state,” warned writer and anti-war activist Randolph Bourne more than a century ago. The same, he might have said, holds for those crises that are in many ways the equivalent of war, such as economic depressions or mass pandemics. Certainly, faced with both the COVID-19 contagion and the associated economic washout, there are things we want the government to do, from public-health measures to short-term economic interventions. The growth of the state at times like this is mostly inevitable.

On the other hand, sooner or later this crisis will end. We will get the coronavirus …

Michael TannerMr. Tanner is the director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Poverty and Inequality in California and the author of The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor.

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