It's Not Just Trump: COVID-19 Is The Test That Conservatism Was Built To Fail - 2020-11-30
Ronald Reagan's famous quip crystalized a classic tenet of conservative thinking: that government is always less efficient than the private sector, to the point that it often makes things actively worse. This view has reverberated across the American political and policy landscape in the decades since, from the call for government so weak one could single-handedly drown it in their bathtub to major candidates equating the social safety net with Big Brother.
Unfortunately, during a public health crisis like the one we currently face, there could hardly be a more counter-productive belief than thinking the government not only can't solve problems but is itself a problem.
Government intervention is necessary to combat a pandemic. Period. Only the government, acting in the general public interest, can ensure that there is sufficient testing of the virus all across towns, cities, and states; impose restrictions on large public gatherings and nonessential travel; and lead a coordinated contact tracing effort at the scale that the CDC has asserted necessary. Even vaccine development and dissemination are dependent on public investment and intervention. In the words of public health expert Atul Gawande, the U.S. doesn't have a technological problem — we have a delivery problem.