Four Months of Unprecedented Government Malfeasance

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The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on June 18, 2020, for a Hillsdale College online symposium, “The Coronavirus and Public Policy.”

Over the last four months, Americans have lived through what is arguably the most consequential period of government malfeasance in U.S. history. Public officials’ overreaction to the novel coronavirus put American cities into a coma; those same officials’ passivity in the face of widespread rioting threatens to deliver the coup de grâce. Together, these back-to-back governmental failures will transform the American polity and cripple urban life for decades.

 

Before store windows started shattering in the name of racial justice, urban existence was already on life support, thanks to the coronavirus lockdowns. Small businesses—the restaurants and shops that are the lifeblood of cities—were shuttered, many for good, leaving desolate rows of “For Rent” signs on street after street in New York City and elsewhere. Americans huddled in their homes for months on end, believing that if they went outside, death awaited them.

This panic was occasioned by epidemiological models predicting wildly unlikely fatalities from the coronavirus.

On March 30, the infamous Imperial College London model predicted 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. by September 1, absent government action. That prediction was absurd on its face, given the dispersal of the U.S. population and the fact that China’s coronavirus death toll had already levelled off at a few thousand. The authors of that study soon revised it radically downwards.

To read full article:https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/four-months-unprecedented-government-malfeasance/

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Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of the bestselling War on Cops and The Diversity Delusion. Follow her on Twitter here.