Market Institute President Charles Sauer has a new piece up at the Washington Examiner on the failings of the Biden administration on Covid testing.
“President Joe Biden announced in December that his administration was caught off guard by the omicron variant and that the government would be sending out free rapid tests.
Fast forward a few weeks. The peak of omicron is likely upon us or passing, yet tests are still hard to come by on store shelves, and the government has yet to ship a single test to a single household. The USPS says that when it does start shipping the tests, other services might take a hit because of staffing shortages.
It is a train wreck of government ineptitude.
First, almost every scientist assessed that another surge was likely in the winter of 2021. Additionally, omicron’s transmissibility was quickly evident as much greater than that of the other variants.
Second, leave it to the Left to think that tests are either manufactured magically or that people wouldn’t notice when they quickly disappeared from store shelves. It doesn’t take an in-depth understanding of the manufacturing process to understand that a one-off large purchase will disrupt the system. In fact, a cursory viewing of Lucille Ball’s time in a chocolate factory is more than enough to understand the problems that occur in a supply chain if just one thing goes wrong. The problem is that it doesn’t make any sense to buy new machines for a one-off order. That means that the supply was bought up by the government, and now, individuals are feeling the crunch at the very height of the time that tests would best be useful. Making matters worse, we should definitely have more tests by now.
It is almost the perfect failure.
But what truly drives home the perfect nature of this failure is that the USPS is even taking a role in messing it up. Because of the government guidelines on quarantines, the Postal Service is short-staffed. And, because they have a strong union, the deal to get tests delivered and deployed is even harder to work out.
These problems were foreseeable and avoidable, at least to a degree.
The government could have just stayed out of the way and let people live their lives. Tests would have been produced and delivered. The government could also have seen the likelihood of increased demand and provided incentives for the manufacturers to max out production earlier instead of later by guaranteeing the purchase of unsold stock. Not the perfect public policy, but a way to avoid the large market disruptions.
Of course, the Biden administration wasn’t going to undercut the unions, let the market work, or leverage free-market incentives. Instead, it relied on fairy tale economics. The problem is that unlike in storybooks, deaths are real in the real world. Fortunately, omicron isn’t too deadly.
But this is a manifest government failure.”