Pandemic Policy

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In Brazil, president Jair Bolsonaro... The president also highly publicized the unproven anti-malarian drug chloroquine as being effective against the virus, ordering the Ministry of Health to produce four million doses. His insistence on the use of the drug caused the loss of two health ministers, Dr. Henrique Mandetta, fired by Bolsonaro last April, and Dr. Nelson Teich, who resigned less than a month after taking over. Since then, the position has been filled by an army general specializing in logistics, with neither medical education nor experience.

We had a giant crisis for which simple economic theory woudl have been extremely useful in a pareto-improving way-- the idea that lockdowns trade off lives against money, for example, or the idea that emergency approval of tests, drugs, and vaccines should be subject to at least back-of-envelope (literally) cost-benefit analysis. Politicians were desperate to know what to do, and it was nonpartisan (aside from the possibility that Democrats and RINO's wanted to maximize death and destruction to defeat Trump). So why were economists and their ideas ignored?

We have no Hero Economists like Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson. Maybe we need to elect a random Hero, anybody who knows basic micro.

The Trump Administration