The proper place of ‘The State’ in recovery

The proper place of ‘The State’ in recovery

As the economic aspects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to play out, we are hearing more and more from certain quarters about “the need” for some kind or kinds of government make-work program(s) to facilitate “recovery.”

Indeed, we all are most empathetic to the plight of millions of Americans thrown out of work by the pandemic. And it could get worse – much worse — before it gets better. But it will pass. As stay-at-home and business-cessation orders wane, demand will wax and production will begin anew.

In a sound, marketplace-based way.

And, in the interim, “stimulus” checks and unemployment claims are being processed.

But the last thing we need – and the worst — is a nationalized this and a nationalized that and government central planning that will only exacerbate true recovery.

“But, but, but,” the nationalizers and central planners will tut-tut, “just look at what Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s policies did for us in the Great Depression!”

Never mind that more contemporary analyses of FDR’s “New Deal” show how that “for” just as easily could be replaced with a “to.” Many of those policies – “pump-priming,” as some called it – only served to not only deepen but to extend the throes of the Great Depression.

Post-coronavirus pandemic, the marketplace, not local, state or federal governments, must be allowed to power up the American economy again – the way it was meant to, the way it can and the way it must operate.

Indeed, government has a role in facilitating the economy. But it must be with the lightest of hands possible.

The American economy will rebound. But that’s only as long as “The State” knows its proper place.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).