April 10, 2021

KAROL MARKOWICZ: Three cheers for federalism!

The COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge to our federalist system. The impulse in March 2020 was to have all states respond in the same way to the virus. Of course, in a country with large cities and small cities, sprawling suburbs, small towns, extremely rural areas and everything in between, that made little sense. We quickly corrected it and governors took control of COVID-19 policies for their states.

The results of that have been astonishing. States that had tight lockdowns, such as New York, New Jersey and Michigan, did not see better outcomes than states which loosened their lockdowns early on.

Florida, in particular, has stood out as evidence that lockdowns simply didn’t produce better results. Florida opened their beaches in the spring and Gov. DeSantis moved to lift all restrictions in September. Yet it was closed New York that experienced the worst winter spikes. It’s something we would have never discovered if we followed one prescription for our vast country.

The magic of federalism meant that people could also vote with their feet to choose the COVID response which best suited them. If someone believed that tight lockdowns and double-masking was the way to beat the virus, they were able to go to a state that reflected those values. Anyone looking for a freer path was also able to make their own choice, whether temporarily or permanently.

Even the Today Show accidentally stumbled onto this: The ‘Random Act of Journalism’ The Today Show Did That Blows Apart the COVID Panic Narrative. “Some states with stricter rules are now seeing surges in COVID-19 cases, while many others that rushed to reopen are experiencing sizable drops. The numbers have experts scratching their heads. @SamBrockNBC has the details.”

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