As the global pandemic of COVID-19 sweeps across the Western World, some media voices and politicians have attempted to use the pandemic as a reason to grow the federal government’s reach and power. Such an attempt was made in one of the recently abandoned stimulus bills, in which House Democrats attempted to make paid sick leave a permanent requirement on small businesses going forward.
That action, and others like it, to tighten federal requirements on the private sector, are completely and wholly antithetical to the lessons this biological crisis is teaching the world. That lesson is large governments are actually quite terrible at doing their job. Many on the left have blamed the United States’ lackluster response to the virus on the President. While the leadership coming out of the White House has been less than stellar, particularly at the onset of the pandemic, the blame does not rest on the President. Rather it should be put upon the ever-growing and over-bloated bureaucracy that has far too much power for its own good.
In particular, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are the two bureaucratic wings most under scrutiny at this time, and their own regulations and general incompetence has exacerbated the problem of this pandemic.
In late January, doctors and scientists in Washington were worried about a possible outbreak in the state. To prepare and prevent that from happening, several private companies in the area began modifying flu test kits to detect the novel coronavirus. That way, they would be able to quickly detect who was infected and quickly have them quarantined in order to prevent further community contamination. The CDC stepped in shortly after and stopped this production, notifying the private companies that only CDC-administered tests were acceptable. The CDC proceeded to administer just under 2,000 tests with test kits, which were defective. The federal regulations on private test kit creations were finally lifted on Feb. 29 – a month too late.
The problem isn’t only with absurd regulations that have hampered the private sector’s ability to respond to the outbreak adequately, but also the continuing incompetence of the Federal Government to quantify and implement a response. Last week, the head of FEMA could not even estimate how many health masks the federal government was producing, nor could he give an estimate as to how much it should produce. Ventilators, masks, and testing kits are now only attaining mass availability because of private companies’ manufacturing power, not the Federal Government.
The private sector is having to fill in for the Federal Government in a time of crisis for our country while bureaucracy and government regulations have failed us. Leftists can put the blame on Trump, but the problem is we have an incompetent and overpowered centralized government that has hindered this country’s response to COVID-19 from the start.