Since the beginning of this COVID-19 crisis, the Mercatus Center has published 45 policy briefs, 21 of them authored by scholars with non-Mercatus affiliations. These briefs were a result of a call for papers we launched at the beginning of the pandemic, and scholars from all over the country responded to our call with ideas and policy reforms.
These briefs have helped shape a new vision for Mercatus scholars as to what the way forward may look like:
As policymakers begin to “unpause” the economy, they will have to address immediate challenges in economic and fiscal policy, regulatory policy, health policy, and monetary policy. This brief addresses all four of these areas. For each, it identifies innovative and action-oriented ideas developed by the community of scholars at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University for a rapid, entrepreneur-led rebound.
In the regulatory section, for instance, you will find the suggestion from my colleagues Matt Mitchell, Adam Thierer, and Patrick McLaughlin to create a “Fresh Start Initiative,” modeled after the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. The commission would identify and study all the rules revised or suspended during the current crisis and then make recommendations for each rule to be terminated or reformed, thereby crafting “a plan and timetable for automatically sunsetting or comprehensively reforming those policies or programs as part of a single reform package.” If it works as well as BRAC did, many of these useless rules will be permanently terminated.
Another favorite of mine comes from my colleagues Brent Skorup and Connor Haaland about easing federal restrictions to allow state and local authorities to facilitate drone delivery services:
The use of drones for medical, parcel, and grocery deliveries would be enormously beneficial as part of America’s response to COVID-19. These benefits are not just theoretical; drones have been effectively deployed in China in the wake of its COVID-19 outbreak.
The barriers that prevent drone delivery services from scaling up in the United States are not technological, but institutional. The Federal Aviation Administration and White House, perhaps through a statement of policy, could resolve some of the ambiguity in federal airspace law, which would allow state and local authorities to demarcate and lease the airspace above public roads. States could undertake reforms that allow for the creation of drone highways for medical and parcel deliveries. The federal government could also implement changes that will help facilitate the widespread use of drones for medical deliveries.