The readings have you thinking about how the American government is designed to help solve collective action problems. Please choose one of the following questions and react to it:
1. Consider the reading on federalism and Covid-19. In your view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of having state and local governments take the lead in pandemic prevention policy? Can you imagine a better way to produce new policy ideas and more efficient coordination
2. If you could make a recommendation to help the national and state governments coordinate their responses to Coronavirus, what would it be? Why would this be an important recommendation?
3. We have learned about how our Constitution was created to help coordinate and resolve collective action problems. What collective action problems do you see now in American state politics? How can the federal government help resolve the problem you’ve identified ? (You can think about collective action problems in clean air, immigration, medical supplies, or anything else.) You can also discuss differences you may see between the Biden and Trump administrations, or compare other countries response to the USA’s efforts to control Covid-19.
American state politics are plagued with a plethora of collective action problems like the covid-19 crisis. As mentioned in lecture, the constitution paves a road for changing laws and the institutions we live in to bring an end to these collective action problems and reach collective agreements. However, resolving collective action problems can be difficult when we have unequal resources and divergent preferences amongst our government and population. The Covid- 19 crisis is an example of a collective action problem in public health, where people agree on outcomes but not on the necessary actions to resolve this problem. Compared to other countries like New Zealand, the United States has been ineffective in enforcing social distancing and containing the virus. A reason for this is that at the beginning of the pandemic we had several states that failed to implement stay at home orders. Today, different counties and cities have different covid policies. The country also delayed in closing borders, many have refused to get vaccinated and wear masks. This has aggravated the situation and now the United States is one of the countries with the highest numbers of cases. One way that I would’ve managed the covid crisis would be to keep all amusement parks, concert sites and big mass events to be closed until we’ve seen that more people have gotten vaccinated. I believe that the country was also re-opened too soon. I agree that economic activity is important, but not more important the health of workers, especially minority groups who are an asset in our economy. I also would’ve fined anyone not wearing a mask. I think we should’ve followed New Zealand’s approach, where they immediately closed borders and showed effective communication and transparency with their citizens. They followed a coordinated governmental effort that was strict and comprehensive. The government also disbursed extensive packages of financial support since the beginning.
In my opinion, having state or local governments take the lead in pandemic preparedness policies would be of great benefit for disease control. This benefit is based on the assumption that each state or local government actively responds to the federal government’s call to formulate policies based on the actual situation. First, during a pandemic, local governments have a much quicker time than the federal government to respond to emergencies. A faster response often leads to better control of the spread of the virus. The United States is a vast country, and the same event may have completely different effects in different places, which means that if the federal government is to take the lead in a pandemic, it needs to develop policies that are responsive to all areas. As you can imagine, this kind of policy is extremely difficult and takes a lot of time, and the Novel Coronavirus doesn’t give us that much time to react. The downside is obvious. Given the current state of the virus, the number of infections in some areas has far exceeded the capacity of local authorities, which means that the situation in some areas may be worse than it is now.To control the spread of the virus, my idea is to let the local government plays a leading role, the federal government is responsible for the supervision urge, and at the right time to provide assistance to local government accordingly, after the local error policy intervention, in addition, during the pandemic to expand for economic investment in the field of medicine, epidemic prevention, and control to provide better conditions for the region. Local governments have formulated corresponding countermeasures according to local characteristics and implemented them.