The shutdown of the American economy by government decree should end. The lasting and far-reaching harms caused by this authoritarian precedent far outweigh those caused by the COVID-19 virus. The American people—individuals, families, businesses—must decide for themselves how and when to reopen society and return to their daily lives.
Our claim was straightforward: government officials are singularly unqualified to consider the tradeoffs, economic and otherwise, behind their blunt and heavy-handed actions. They cannot assess risk for millions of individuals, they cannot decide what activities are essential or nonessential, and they cannot pay Americans to stay home and not work.
Since then, Frédéric Bastiat's admonition that we consider the "unseen" results of state action has proven exceptionally wise. The economic devastation from shutting down the US economy will take years to fully grasp, especially in terms of opportunity cost. Congress and the Federal Reserve colluded to pump trillions of new dollars into the economy, dollars which unsurprisingly benefited the richest Americans and the biggest businesses. What this portends for inflation and average people's savings is almost certainly negative. And the human toll, in terms of physical and mental illness engendered by the shutdowns—especially with respect to psychologically vulnerable children—is already enormous.