Remember when candidate Joe Biden said, “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” during a 2020 campaign debate? Biden blamed Donald Trump for each of the 220,000 COVID deaths recorded at the time. While the count varies depending on the source, Worldometer indicates the United States is about to cross a total COVID death toll of 1 million.
Let’s set aside the question of whether the public should blame the president for each of the COVID deaths. Let’s also set aside the thorny question of whether that count includes dubious cases in which the victim died “with” COVID as opposed to “from” COVID. Neither of those concerns obscure a conclusion so obvious that even the Left cannot use its fallback, “Russian disinformation!” dodge. While Democrats and “health officials” united to impose vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and numerous restrictions, nothing stopped the pandemic from getting worse. Everything got worse even after we did everything the Left wanted.
This taps a common thread that passes through so much of the Left’s agenda. As the Left hypes an emotional response to a problem, the rush to action skips over a fundamental question that should precede any mandate or expenditure of public funds: Does the proposed solution work?
Does the Left’s prescription for climate change have any effect on climate? Does the Left’s intervention in education improve educational outcomes? Does the Left’s response to homelessness improve the homelessness problem? Does funding for drug treatment programs help reduce drug abuse? Does the Left’s foreign policy lead to more peace? Does borrowing trillions of dollars to “invest in people” lead to more productivity? Has the Left’s stewardship of universities resulted in better-educated graduates?
One is reminded of the forgotten lessons of command and control economies of the former Soviet Union and Mao’s China. Over and over again the party leaders caused famines and shortages by arrogantly substituting their judgments for those of the common people. Mao famously ordered farmers to “deep plow” their fields and “close plant” 10 times as many seeds as tradition dictated. Maoist solutions to the food shortage made things worse. Plowing too deep turns up subsoil with few nutrients, few soil bacteria and little capacity to nurture crops. And planting 10 times as many seedlings per acre, without fertilizer, starves all the plants. While actual harvests dropped dramatically, local officials filed phony production reports with inflated yields. Mao then taxed yields at 30 percent of the phony number leaving the collective farms without enough food to fend off starvation.
Like Mao blaming the Russians for the famines he himself caused, our speaker of the House casts about for an inflation villain. Instead of “deep plowing” and “close planting,” the American Left suggests that more government spending will fix inflation.
The Left’s prescriptions for virtually every social problem always have two things in common. First, they’re expensive. Second, they don’t work. When the solutions exacerbate the problems, the Left scapegoats or blames the failure on not having gone even bigger with the intervention. The Soviets and Mao proved that using social theory instead of practical experience is a consistent recipe for disaster. It’s time we confront our leaders with their incompetence.