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Friday, March 11, 2022

So how did Federalism work out for you during a pandemic

 By December 2021 almost 800,000 American had died due to Covid 19 and by March 2022 the death toll was approaching one million. The IMHE in a recent Lancet article estimated that by the end of 2021 18 million deaths occurred because of covid.

 The proportion of deaths per capita was not uniform throughout the fifty states with the  proportion of deaths being greater in states that voted for a particular presidential candidate. If there is a causal relationship, what mechanisms could be responsible for such a strange circumstance?

Could it be the some characteristics of voters who favored one particular candidate predisposed them to acquiring and dying from Sars co V 2? Could certain actions of political leaders in some states been such that they lead to more or fewer citizens contracting the disease? Certain risk factors have been linked to greater mortality from covid 19 including obesity,diabetes  and hypertension. Are these and possibly other risk factors found to a greater degree in voters who choose one candidate?

Is it true, as Thom Hartman claims that the Trump administration changed its focus regarding covid mitigation on April 7 2020, when the CDC reported that there were disproportionally more deaths among  black  and brown people and soon after Fox commentators began to downplay the seriousness of covid .

Governors in Texas and Florida have through executive action and by encouraging legislative action limited the ability of businesses to set the terms of their business and to determine with whom they will do business.  This limitation was specifically in regard to so called vaccine passports and requiring their employees to get covid vaccinations. Mask mandates by school districts in those states have been prohibited by either executive order or legislation or both. So much for the venerable old conservative support for the notion expressed by " no shoes,no shirt, no service".Shopkeepers and business men can set the terms regarding who they do business with unless they cross the line and dare to claim they will only serve those who are masked and/or vaccinated for covid.

Of course correlation is not causation and other factors must also  be in play but the vector's direction seems obvious  but the magnitudes are more difficult to determine. 

Advocates of federalism talk about  the states as "Laboratories of democracy" where state governments act as social laboratories  creating and testing policies and legislation in way similar to aspects of the scientific method.What experiments did the red states do and what experiments did the blue states do? What, if anything,was learned?


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