From Sen. Bernie Sanders demanding that a coronavirus vaccine be free for all and that “profiteering” from it cannot be tolerated, to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said “if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy,” when he ordered the state to shut down, Democrats are demonstrating they don’t know how an economy works. This is as dangerous as it is maddening.
Though he is an open socialist, Sanders’ rant is typical of most if not nearly all of today’s Democrats. Their view of profit is that it is an evil that must not be allowed. This is at odds with what we know: Profits are necessary to human lives. When profits are not being pursued, an economy can never develop. We can’t all work for non-profit interest groups and expect to move forward. How Democrats are unable to understand that the potential to earn profits is what drives companies to make lifesaving and life-enhancing drugs, as well as every other good out there, is a modern-day mystery.
While Cuomo is not necessarily taking a party line when he says he believes an economic shutdown is necessary to save lives, it’s not a big leap for Democrats, given their leftward orientation, to characterize an eventual reopening of the economy as a conflict of “lives vs. money” when it is in fact a case of “lives vs. lives.”
Roger Kimball, writing in American Greatness, outlined this perfectly:
Friedrich Hayek observed while it ‘may sound noble to say, “Damn economics, let us build up a decent world,” … it is, in fact, merely irresponsible.’ Something similar can be said about the false opposition between humanitarian concerns and attention to the economy. Tending the economy is just as much a humanitarian concern, just as much a life-or-death matter, as manufacturing new ventilators.
Then there’s the foggy thinking of the Washington Post — yes, we’re still talking Democrats here — which tells us “the coronavirus recession is exposing how the economy was not strong as it seemed.” Whether ignorance or simply another eruption of Trump Derangement Syndrome, this fevered report was corrected on Twitter by level-headed responses such as “No, it shows that when the government forces businesses to shut down, they can’t survive without sales,” and, “If the government orders businesses to shut down, they don’t produce at the same robust rate as they did pre-order.”
Finally, we point out the foolishness of left-wing pundits who, as David Bernstein noted on Instapundit, are suggesting “that being concerned about the economic toll of widespread shutdowns reflects concern about ‘protecting corporate profits’ instead of worrying about human suffering.” Don’t like living with corporate profits? Try living without them.
Lacking the capacity to make economic sense is not a new affliction. Democrats have been failing freshman economics for decades.
Setting a wage floor by government order, for instance, is a repeated offense against economic reality. And while Republicans have gone along with minimum-wage hikes through the decades, this is one of Democrats’ top permanent priorities, though it is inarguably a job killer.
Rent control is another offense the political left can’t break away from. It seems to be unable to comprehend that placing an artificial ceiling on what landlords can charge is a primary component of housing shortages and increased housing costs.
The left is similarly confused by the effects of professional licensing requirements, environmental regulations, business mandates, forced unionism, and efforts to eliminate or close income and wealth inequities.
Democrats seem to think government is the source of wealth, that it can create “high-paying” green jobs out of nothing, provide affordable, health care for all, and finance K-PhD educations. Yet government produces nothing. It can only redistribute what others have made. And there are limits to that practice, another constant Democrats can’t fathom.
A paper that appeared a decade ago in the Journal of the American Institute for Economic Research found that those on the political right demonstrated greater economic enlightenment than those on the left, who had a hard time correctly identifying what a monopoly is, were oblivious to the fact our standard of living had improved over the previous 30 years, and could not identify development restrictions as a factor that negatively affects housing costs.
We could go back much further to demonstrate our point. Democrats have been on the wrong side of economics for decades. One would think their pendulum would eventually drift back toward center. But it keeps moving ever harder left, pulled by Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a host of others whose thinking hasn’t progressed since they were in grade school.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt