Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Mercatus Center Economist Calls For Government to "Go Big, Really Really Big" in Creating a COVID-19 Vaccine

Alex Tabarrok, the Bartley J. Madden chairman in economics at the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University, is co-author of a piece appearing in The New York Times calling for a massive government role in creating a COVID-19 vaccine.

The op-ed titled, In the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, We Must Go Big. Really, Really Big, begins:
The Covid-19 virus has killed over 200,000 people, overwhelmed health systems and confined billions of people in their homes. Large sections of the world economy have been locked down.
I mean how anti-libertarian can you get? Large sections of the economy have not been locked down by COVID-19 but by government power freak edicts. To proclaim this is a COVID-19 problem is a confusion about libertarianism at a very basic level.

There is no need to lockdown any country. Those who are at high-risk, or simply panicked, can isolate on their own.

The piece goes on:
We are desperate for a vaccine, and research is underway around the world toward that goal. However, the challenge facing us has been underestimated. Vaccines often take 10 years to bring to market. We want a new vaccine as fast as possible, where each month matters.
This builds on the lockdown drama but one must realize that part of the problem with extended vaccine development is government regulations. Why no mention of this?

But further, why would you want a rushed vaccine? This is flipping the government involvement on its head from delayed introduction to rushed "each month matters" introduction.

What if there are consequences of a vaccine that don't occur for 12 to 24 months? Or is Tabarrok suggesting that Charles will be willing to pick up the liability cost if something goes wrong with the vaccine?

The piece gets more insane from there:
Today, the U.S. government could go big and create a Covid-19 vaccine A.M.C., guaranteeing to spend about $70 billion on new vaccines — enough to make direct investments to support capacity installation or to repurpose capacity and to pay, say, $100 per person for the first 300 million people vaccinated.
What the hell is this about? Does Tabarook think that drug companies won't respond to actual demand?

The only thing this op-ed is going really, really big with is old-school Soviet-style thinking.


1 comment:

  1. It is also important to know that flu vaccines are only 50% effective as an average. Will a rushed C-19 vaccine be any more effective?