Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party’s 1996 Vice presidential nominee, is currently seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. She released the following statement concerning the coronavirus pandemic last week on her campaign website:
The corona virus crisis is now affecting every American. So, what should we do about it?
South Korea appears to have slowed the virus using widespread testing. Those infected then self-quarantine, without having to shut down all of society. As president I would clear red tape to allow Americans to be tested and find out if they are infected.
Sadly, the U.S. government is prohibiting us from doing what worked in South Korea. They are protecting us to death.
At the start of the epidemic, the CDC selected just two companies to produce test kits for the US, making it illegal to use any others. Their first versions didn’t work, and they still aren’t able to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, at least 60 companies are now producing test kits that can’t be used because the government hasn’t approved them. That’s absurd! As president, I would remove all bureaucratic roadblocks that stand in the way of Americans getting tested.
The Feds also protected people to death in Seattle. Our bureaucratic overlords in Seattle prohibited Dr. Helen Chu from testing the swabs she had from potentially infected patients. She finally violated the dictate and tested the swabs anyway, demonstrating that, contrary to what President Trump was claiming, the epidemic was already firmly established in the US. As president, I would liberate Dr. Chu, and others like her, to do their jobs.
We have a similar problem with hospital beds, ventilators and other forms of equipment. Many more people will die without enough ICU beds and ventilators. But government bureaucracy has blocked the supply of both in the name of protecting us.
When a hospital wants to expand, including adding ICU beds, they have to get a Certificate of Need from the government. Competing hospitals can argue that the extra capacity isn’t needed, and block expansion. That would be like McDonald’s using the power of government to keep a Burger King or Wendy’s from opening up across the street! Imagine how expensive fast food would get without healthy competition.
An international group of engineers, designers, and others have designed an open source, low-cost ventilator that can be quickly and cheaply mass produced using readily available materials and 3-D printing. It is being tested in Ireland next week and could potentially solve the ventilator shortage. Unfortunately, getting that government approval typically takes YEARS.
Meanwhile, there is a critical shortage of protective equipment for our health care workers. They are being asked to put their lives at risk every day treating the rest of us without adequate protection. Companies are ready to produce the needed equipment, but bureaucratic red tape prohibits them from doing so. As president, I would immediately work to eliminate certificates of need, and remove any restrictions that stand in the way of producing the equipment needed to fight this pandemic.
Some say we need universal healthcare. Italy shows the folly of that. Their so-called universal system has failed completely. They are prioritizing young people and leaving older people to die. That word universal does not seem to mean what its advocates claim it means. As president, I would veto any attempt to impose such a heartless system on the American people.
The best solutions are already being applied by free individuals, acting voluntarily, without the need for government dictates. For example, many of our state Libertarian conventions are being canceled, postponed, or are being held virtually. Candidates like me are limiting travel and devoting more time to contacting people online and with social media instead of meeting in person.
Frankly, we need to think outside the box, and not limit ourselves to the health care system. In Baltimore, State’s Attorney General Marilyn Mosby has ordered her staff to dismiss pending criminal charges against anyone arrested for possessing drugs, distribution of drugs, prostitution, and other victimless or minor offenses, in order to reduce the threat of an outbreak behind bars. This should be done nationally. Better yet, remove these victimless crime laws from the books altogether.
Another action we could take would be to bring our troops home. That would free up doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel and equipment for use here at home, as well as freeing up funds being wasted in these pointless wars and deployments.
Above all, we must resist any attempt by the government to use this crisis to grant themselves additional power. Never forget, our rulers have abused the power they already have, making things worse by limiting both testing and treatment. Isn’t it time to reject their approach and unleash the power of freedom?
The late Harry Browne used to say that “the government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, ‘See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.” The government needs to stop breaking our legs, get out of the way, and let us all work together to defeat this virus.
I’m Dr. Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian for President. For more information on my campaign, visit my website JoJ2020.com. I hope to earn your support. Thank you.