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RETURN TO NORMAL: Getting Our States Back to Work Quickly and Safely

April 23, 2020

It is imperative that states reopen their economies before damage from the massive shutdowns becomes intractable.

As President Donald Trump acknowledged in April, there is no net benefit in making the cure worse than the disease.

By adhering to the set of reasonable principles outlined in this document, states can get their citizens back to work safely. With safeguards in place, the nation can manage the invisible threat of coronavirus and restore the public’s confidence. Work and free enterprise will fill store shelves and supply much-needed services. There is pent-up demand. Work is the backbone of wealth, and without prosperity, the nation jeopardizes its chances of fighting off the next threat.

Without prosperity, there will be pain and hardship, and the damage to economic stability and well-being will only increase the already-rising public unrest and lead to a powerful undermining of the legitimacy of governments.

The federal government has injected trillions of dollars into the economy, which is itself a risk, so this is no time to sit in the trenches and create arbitrary benchmarks regarding public safety. Life inherently involves risks; it is impossible to grow economies without making tradeoffs. States and individual communities are in the best position to determine this calculation because they are closest to the needs and capabilities of their citizens.

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Author
AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform.
amschieber@heartland.org @HCPolicy