Now we're transitioning, in fits and starts, from Stage 2 to Stage 3.
Politicians and policymakers are taking the threat seriously, but lacking contingency plans and the mental bandwidth to deal with all of the challenges that are arising, they've been falling back on what they already believe to be true. Stage 2 is the "COVID-19 confirms my priors" period.
Just because these policies are priors doesn't mean they are necessarily ill-suited to the moment. For instance, canceling some student debt makes more sense now than before, and a major rethinking of our economic entanglement with
Sometimes we get stuck in Stage 2. Shortly after 9/11, Sen.
This isn't to say that both sides don't try their best to deal with emergencies. But just as the stockpile of masks and ventilators is not adequate for the sudden demand, the same holds for the storehouse of policies we could put into effect right now. Or, to be more fair to the wonks who warned about some of these problems, there's a lag time in getting new and better policies into production.
What Stage 3 of the coronavirus crisis will look like remains murky.
Other responses are still in the early stages, and big questions will need to be addressed, from how we should deploy the Defense Production Act to how to reconcile our federalist structure with public health crises.
Perhaps oddly, I find myself wondering -- and worrying -- about Stage 4. How will things look when this is all over? What will be the new normal? Will the handshake ever return? What emergency measures now will be our everyday reality years from now?
Tax withholding was invented to collect revenue during World War II. The imperial presidency, with its vast retinue of executive branch officials answerable directly to the presidency, was created to give
This pandemic will no doubt have a similarly long tail. The foundation of the property laws of Anglosphere nations was a response to the crisis of the Plague. (Historian
One of my priors is the idea that our political parties are overdue for a major transformation. The coalitions that constitute them are unstable and combustible. The ideas that once bound them together are frayed.
This crisis will put even more strain on these already feeble institutions, as politicians are dragged out of their comfort zones. It's too soon to tell if this assessment will be confirmed, but I'd take bets that after this is all over, political scientists, like so many others, will be writing about B.C. and A.C. -- before coronavirus and after.
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