“Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during COVID, particularly in blue states.”
The Committee to Unleash Prosperity released a study proving that red states like Florida handled the COVID pandemic the best while blue states failed.
The organization based the outcomes on deaths, economy, and education.
Republican governed states Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Montana, and South Dakota made up the top five. Florida came in sixth.
The bottom six are Illinois, California, New Mexico, New York, DC, and New Jersey. (I included six so I could mention Illinois, my home state.)
The study vindicates everything the right (especially Leslie!!) said about the pandemic, especially when it came to closing schools:
School closures may ultimately prove to be the most costly policy decision of the pandemic era in both economic and mortality terms. One study found that school closures at the end of the previous 2019-2020 school year are associated with 13.8 million years of life lost. An NIH analysis found that life expectancy for high school graduates is 4 to 6 years longer than high school dropouts. The OECD estimates that learning losses from pandemic era school closures could cause a 3% decline in lifetime earnings, and that a loss of just one third of a year of learning has a long-term economic impact of $14 trillion.
Unlike mortality or economic outcomes, closing public schools was entirely under the control of policymakers. Almost all private schools were open.
This ranking and map from the tracking company Burbio show the cumulative share of in-person instruction in each state, with part-time hybrid schedules counting at half weight.
Top five: Wyoming, Arkansas, Florida, South Dakota, and Utah.
Bottom five: Washington, Maryland, Oregon, California, and DC.
Author Stephen Moore said, “Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during COVID, particularly in blue states.”
Shutdown and open states did not differ much when it came to mortality, proving that messing with people’s education and jobs did not help save lives. From The Wall Street Journal:
The study ranks Florida 28th in mortality, in the middle off the pack and about the same as California, which ranks 27th despite its far more stringent lockdowns and school closures. But Florida ranks third for the least education loss and 13th in economic performance. California ranks 47th overall because its shutdowns crushed the economy (40th) and in-person school (50th).
In other words, Florida did about average on mortality as other states, but it did far better in protecting its citizens from severe economic harm and its children from lost schooling. “The correlation between health and economy scores is essentially zero,” say the authors, “which suggests that states that withdrew the most from economic activity did not significantly improve health by doing so.”
The NBER working paper presents the data straight without policy conclusions, but here’s one of ours: The severe lockdown states suffered much more on overall social well-being in return for relatively little comparative benefit on health.
Instead, the states with lockdowns still have high unemployment rates. It will take a long time for those economies to recover, especially since a lot of businesses closed down forever.
The Editorial Board at WSJ summed it up perfectly: “Another lesson we’d draw that the authors don’t in their paper: Thank the U.S. Constitution for our federalist system of government. States were largely able to implement their own policies. The outcomes would have been much worse had Washington imposed a single national policy as dictated by the federal bureaucracy.”
I also hope people learned another lesson: Never give the government a millimeter. Never. They will always go as far as they can and do everything they can to hold onto that power.DONATE
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