Empty shelves for disinfectant wipes wait for restocking, as concerns grow around COVID-19, Tuesday March 3, 2020, in New York. A man from New York City’s suburbs was hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19 on Tuesday, a case that prompted school closings and quarantines for congregants of a now-shuttered synagogue. The state’s second confirmed case also raised the possibility that the virus is spreading locally. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
As Rahm Emanuel famously said, “never let a crisis go to waste.” You can see that axiom in action minute by minute by the leftists driving the conversation in Washington, D.C. and the media. There is a spending bill pending on Capitol Hill that is a grotesque monstrosity of spend-spend-spend for no other reason than to provide political cover for politicians who feel the overwhelming need to “do something.” Even though the money in this bill will not begin to be made available until well after the Wuhan panic recedes, it still provides for all manner of pet leftwing programs, like government-paid child care (wait…aren’t we all supposed to be home social-distancing and self-quarantining?) that will be portrayed as “cuts” by the left once the spending authority for these perks goes away.
This stuff is all minor compared to what is becoming the real agenda. That agenda has as its goal the deliberate destruction of American faith in our current economic system that is based on market forces and not on central planning.
But but but but there would be shortages in a socialist economy pic.twitter.com/vnYEFUaIVq
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) March 14, 2020
The result is that shelves are empty. Capitalism fails, and we all start to worry about 💩 🖐.
The whole mess is created by fear, but the reality of toilet paper shortages means that fear is rational. pic.twitter.com/I6izGTU3NC
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) March 4, 2020
New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio has gone so far as to demand that federal government take over the “supply chain” and, seemingly, the “means of production” right along with it.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: "We need the federal government to take over the supply chain right now." pic.twitter.com/1z8jkciQCy
— The Hill (@thehill) March 15, 2020
We’re playing a huge game of catch up in this country. Let me say it very bluntly, the federal government, at least the last few days, has started to come alive and do something. But we are so far behind. We need massive testing capacity all over the country, particularly in the most affected areas. We need the federal government to take over the supply chain right now. Right now, we have to make sure that the places in this country that need more ventilators, that need surgical masks, that need hand sanitizer, that, that is a federalized dynamic, where those factories that produce those goods are put on 24/7 shifts and those goods are distributed where they’re needed most as we would in wartime.
The assertion that empty shelves or hoarding can cause capitalism to fail is just stupid. Sure, those shelves are empty right now but a) customers have the product at home and will use it and b) in a day or so, those shelves won’t be empty because a truck will arrive with more product from factories that will be responding to increased demand. People who bought large quantities of toilet paper won’t, absent some sort of fetish, go out and stock up on still more. In short, because roads are open and most places still working, there is no real fear that supplies of anything will run out. If the demand persists then rationing via price increases takes place until this madness passes.
DeBlasio’s demand for the federal government to assume control of factory production and product distribution is not only madness that has failed 100% of the times it has been tried but, fortunately, is impossible under our system of government.
This, like a lot of the writing surrounding the Wuhan virus, is shameless scaremongering and an attempt to bootstrap social and economic policies into a transient epidemic that will not significantly affect well over 80% of the people who eventually contract the virus. My view is that a lot of the panic created by the media, beyond that generated with the obvious agenda of causing political damage to President Trump, has the purpose of undermining confidence in our current governance with a view of imposing a more centralized economic system and a form of failed socialism.