Cost-benefit analysis vs. model-making

The response to the Wuhan virus by the federal and state governments is unprecedented. Given the magnitude of the effects these actions are having on the American society, one would expect that cost-benefit analyses would be taken into account. But no, not even at a rudimentary level. Instead, decisions are made based on epidemic models, models that have proven wildly inaccurate. And then on top of that, we have wild statements like this from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy: "There is no price too high to save a life," or New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: "We will not put a dollar figure on human life." Are they serious? Of course not. But as Holman Jenkins, Jr. noted in his Wall Street Journal column:  "The problem here is not an inability to think clearly. It's an unwillingness to be seen thinking clearly." Nobody wants to be seen as callous or a meanie. Bringing sober cost-benefit analyses into consideration would be akin to...(Read Full Post)
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