The expectation that governments (local, state, federal) allowing people to go back to work in a few weeks or a month will mean the economy will immediately be just like it was in January is delusional.
Long-term and permanent damage is being done. Some businesses will close. Some will never rehire all the staff they once employed.
Risk aversion will skyrocket because there is no reason to believe governments won’t do this again in the future, perhaps perennially over less and less significant threats.
Would you put your life savings into a business knowing the government might close it down indefinitely next flu season?
Will anyone bother to track the increased suicide and drug overdose rates caused by massive unemployment?
Will anyone bother to track the increased mortality rates of other illnesses untreated, either during the shutdown or because of the government-inflicted economic depression after it?
Will anyone question the wisdom of previously allowing the FDA to limit competition in drugs and medical supplies (face masks, ventilators, etc.) resulting in shortages when we needed them most?
Will anyone point to these and other obvious negative consequences of government policies and not ask for more government to address them?
In other words, is there any chance we emerge from this epidemic bearing any resemblance to a relatively free and prosperous society?
Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.