Are we there yet? Looking ahead to life after COVID-19

Are we there yet? Looking ahead to life after COVID-19

I suspect that we’ve all been just a little out of sorts lately. While I personally work from home most of the time, I’m usually able to do that work without kids in the house–and I usually jump in the car and run to the grocery store, or downtown to the post office or to get coffee, or just to see what’s happening in Crete. Now that school is on hold for my 16-year-old son and my college-aged daughter, we’re at home pretty exclusively, and my husband–a family physician who still has to go to work every day–is the one leaving the house, picking up groceries, etc. (at his insistence–his theory is that only one of us needs to be out being actively exposed, although I’m thinking that if he caught it, we’d all catch it).

Everyone, I think, wonders when this will end. Whether you’re in a position to weather the storm relatively well or your household is struggling with shortened work hours and financial hardship, I think we all look forward to a day when we can get back to some semblance of normal.

There is no doubt that this experience has had a multidimensional effect on our society. It hasn’t only changed the way that we take for granted simple things like going to church, walking into a full restaurant for dinner, attending our kids’ spring-time school activities; it also has the potential to have devastating long-term effects on our economy, both at the national and state levels.

I’m grateful every day for the team of people I get to work with. Even in these uncertain times, all six members of the Platte staff are focused on the future, to looking ahead to a day with minimal disruption to our lives from COVID-19, and to a day when we can all start re-growing Nebraska’s (and our country’s) economy.

The free market works. As we (eventually) get past this crisis, it will be important for states to do everything in their power to harness the energy of free markets to restart our economy. I’m sure we at the Platte Institute will have lots of ideas about how Nebraska can do this, and we’ll be sharing them in the coming weeks.

But let me start with one idea. The Platte Institute has been a leader in regulatory and occupational licensing reform for years. We’ve seen–around the country–as both the federal and state governments have suspended business regulations and occupational regulations in the interest of providing services needed, medical care needed, and trying to mitigate the damaging effects on the economy, that even during a time where the public health and safety is truly on the line, there are some rules and regulations that aren’t needed.

Perhaps we should start with some of those regulations that have been suspended, and ask whether we really need them anymore, or whether during “normal times,” less government involvement in our economy and workforce might be an even better idea.


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