Frightened Out of All Proportion

I always thought that totalitarianism would come to the USA via war and the central government’s ostensible efforts to fend off a foreign foe by regimenting the people. I failed to foresee that the country would arrive at this horrifying destination by a different road, namely, state and local government overreactions to a perceived public-health crisis.

Their Own Personal Political Benefit

When government officials order certain types to business to close or to operate only at no more than 25 or 50 percent of capacity, those orders in many cases are tantamount to a death sentence, because many businesses cannot afford to close completely for an indefinite period or to operate far below capacity. The permanent closures of small businesses entail unemployment for many employees and a loss of investment for owners, many of whom worked and saved for years in order to go into business for themselves.

A Sad Process to Watch

When the lockdowns were imposed last spring in the USA (slightly later in Mexico), the rationale was to flatten the curve so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed. It was acknowledged then, if only implicitly, that lockdowns would not eliminate COVID-19 or keep it from spreading.

Misallocate Resources

One of the most important differences between people operating as government functionaries and people operating in free markets is that the former are free to, and do, make the same mistakes again and again. People who make mistakes in markets have to reallocate resources to more promising ventures; they cut back production of goods and services that consumers are not buying; and they close firms that cannot cover their costs in the long run.