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tv   Washington Journal Stephen Moore  CSPAN  April 14, 2022 11:40am-12:16pm EDT

11:40 am >> c-span is their unfiltered view of government funded by these television companies and more, including. >> wow is there for our customers. >> washington journal continues. host: stephen moore joins us on washington journal. the senior economist with freedom works and a regular contributor to a number of news networks. a former economic adviser to the
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trump campaign and the trump administration. you this morning as one of the authors of a study by the national bureau of economic research. a report card on the state's response to covid-19. the nber, the national bureau of economic research, what is that? >> first of all, thank you for c-span. i love watching. national bureau of economic research is one of the most prestigious economic journals that publishes a lot of studies about what is going on with the economy and society. it is very well-established and very well respected. host: your study is a final report card. we talked about this during the course of covid. you had been looking at issues on how states responded to covid. he looked at three areas and compared them state to state. stephen: let me just back up one second. we did a lot of things right and we did a lot of things wrong over the last few years with
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respect to covid. this was the first killer virus we have seen in 50 years so politicians and people were in a bit of a panic when this happened. mistakes were made, for sure. but one of the things that i think happened that i think was the right decision, early on -- and i was working with trump at the time -- the president made the decision to let the states decide their own mitigation strategies they had and i think that was right. we are a country of 50 states and we believe in federalism. there were federal guidelines, but states used all sorts of different approaches to deal with programs. the purpose of this study was to let the states do what they want and we will see who got it right. these metrics we looked at were, how did they do in terms of reducing mortality rate from covid? keeping people safe and alive was the most important criteria.
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how did they do in terms of keeping their businesses open and keeping people and economies functioning? you can't have a society if you don't have people working and businesses running. how did they do in terms of keeping their schools open and allowing kids to go to school? my own opinion having looked at the evidence the last two years, shutting down schools was a really tragic mistake. kids were never vulnerable to covid. someone over the age of 65 was 1000 times more likely to die from covid than a school-aged child. did you keep your schools open? did you keep your economy functioning? and were you able to keep your death rates low. and we put this metric together. that is the basis of the study. host: in terms of education, do you think that school systems across the country with the
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benefit of hindsight say that that it was a mistake to shut down for a long period? stephen: this was the reason we did the study. if we had to rewind and knew then what we know now, what would we do differently? and i really pray -- we look at it and politicians and state officials say, here's what worked and what didn't work. the evidence is really pretty crystal-clear that shutting down schools has had a really negative effect on children. you are talking about a third grader losing in some cases a whole year of schooling. that has potentially not just short-term but long-term impacts on their academic and emotional progress. so we should not have shut down school. certainly in the first couple of
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weeks when we did not know what we were dealing with, taking that pause made sense. but we should not have cap schools shut down. and hopefully we will never do that again because there will be new variants to covid. i just got covid three weeks ago. i thought we were done with this. just the other day, philadelphia announced new mask requirements and things of that nature. the purpose of the study today is to look at what happened in florida versus california, new york versus tech this, what worked and -- texas, what worked and what didn't? lockdowns were not very effective as a mitigation strategy but they did a lot of damage to the state economy. host: you give each state a letter grade in terms of those three areas. stephen: the states that finished in the top, the number
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one state was utah. the second state was nebraska or vermont, and you have south dakota. host: utah is a plus, nebraska and vermont, montana, south dakota, florida, new hampshire, maine, arkansas, idaho in the top 10 in terms of the cumulative school -- score. stephen: and what stands out to me is florida because it is the third largest state. florida was really criticized. governor desantis was really criticized. how dare you open up the beaches and hotels and things? what is interesting about the study is if you compare really big states like california and florida, they used diametrically
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opposite approaches. i went to florida many times and it was pretty much open for business. the beaches were open, the hotels were open. people were wearing masks and social distancing. when you went to california, everything was just shut down. what happened? one of the things we do is adjust the death rate for what we call comorbidities. the factors associated with people dying. age was the major factor. diabetes and emphysema, other kinds of heart problems. you were vulnerable to covid. and obesity was a big factor. florida had almost exactly the same death rate as california
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and florida did not undermine its economy. and they came out of covid and much better shape than estate like california has. host: stephen moore is talking about the study that he is part of with the national bureau of economic research with how states did during covid. (202) 748-8001 is the line to call for republicans. (202) 748-8000 free democrats. for independence and others, (202) 748-8002. back to the comparison between florida and california, they put up a graphic. florida was 22, california 18. unemployment was 15, florida was 15. california 47. in person learning, florida was second in the nation. and california are much had shut down.
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is there any indication that the industries in those states, in other words, that california was more affected by those are of industry? stephen: certainly both of those states are our largest tourist states. you have disneyland and disney world. so that's what makes it kind of an interesting comparison because they are similar states in that regard. but you make a good point that some industries were very much negatively affected more than others were. and you would have thought a tourist state like florida would have really gotten creamed because people stopped traveling. but people from the northeast -- you saw a stampede of people out of new york, new jersey, connecticut going to florida because it was open. most people wanted to be in a place where you could go to a
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restaurant or go to the beach or go to a park. one of the things i never really understood -- again, my purpose in the study with my colleagues was to say, let's figure out what worked. one of the things i think we all learned is that keeping people locked inside their house was a really bad idea. two of the greatest disinfectants are sunlight and fresh air. we live in potomac, maryland. almost literally my backyard is great falls national park. they shut the park down. why would you shut the park down? sunlight and vitamin d was one of the best ways of fighting covid. a lot of these things, you know, didn't make sense. shutting down playgrounds, shutting down soccer fields. kids needed to be outside and there is very little outside transmission of covid.
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i think people were really dumb if they went into a crowded bar with terrible ventilation and standing shoulder to shoulder. you are asking for trouble. people being smart about it was a big part of this. host: we have calls waiting but i wanted to ask you about your conclusion of your daily mail opinion piece. you said two years ago when this killer appeared, politicians and the public were panicked and did not know what we were doing. now we have hopefully learned policy lessons, but we had to learn the hard way. let's never do that again. in the future, a protect the vulnerable policy is going to lead to better health outcomes while keeping business is open, and workers earning paychecks. explain what you mean by "protect the vulnerable." stephen: again, we will see other viruses and other variants of covid. we knew pretty much from the start based on what was going on in europe and some of the asian
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countries that you could look at what was happening in italy. old people were dying at a very alarming rate. think about it this way. what if at the beginning of covid we said we know people with health problems like emphysema, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes -- you had to be super careful. if you were over the age of 65 certainly over 75, you had to be really super careful. obesity was also a factor. if we said let's make sure that we keep those people, 15% or 20% of the population safe, quarantined, so they can't be infected by other people. the other 75% of us really could have had our lives not disrupted. we could've gone to work and gone to parks. that would have been a much more successful strategy. because the big mistake we made
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at the beginning and states like new york, new jersey, and michigan, was not protecting nursing homes. stephen: what -- wasn't the intent to protect them by isolating nursing homes? stephen: but what they did is they started admitting affecting -- infected people. the intention was good but the execution was terrible. you had tens of thousands of people dying in nursing homes and that was tragic. if we had done a better job, because one million people die, roughly one million people died from covid. a lot of people were deaths in nursing homes. host: so why didn't florida have that problem? stephen: they did a better job of not putting infected people in nursing homes. once you put infected people in a nursing home, it spreads like a virus. host: calls from seattle,
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washington. trish is on the republican line. go ahead. caller: good morning, gentlemen. thank you for taking my call. i love c-span. mr. moore, i have to say that your talking points are absolutely incredulous. i suppose you probably still think ivermectin is a great way to treat it. bleach is a great way to treat it. that is what your wonderful president that you supported, mr. trump, encouraged everybody to do. that it would be gone in summertime and nothing to worry about. you know what? i say you are a big old bowl of codswallop. stephen: i do think this idea of bleach and all these things were obviously very stupid. and politicians in both parties
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made a lot of mistakes. there's no question about that. when you look at what we should have done, and we should be doing this today, we should be spending more money on treatments. trump, you are right, he made a lot of mistakes when it came to covid. but he got the one really important thing right which was operation warp speed. i remember when we were visiting trump in the white house, we talked about this saying that we would be able to get this vaccine done in 10 months. and you can go back and read the new york times who said he's hallucinating. it's going to be 2024 or 2025 before we have the vaccine. and that was a huge development because especially during the delta variant, that vaccine probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the united states. yes, there were mistakes made and trump did say some crazy things. but we did the two things right
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where we let the states take the lead and developing this incredible vaccine. the vaccines don't seem quite as effective with the new variants. host: you said you had covid a couple weeks ago. what did you do to fight it off? stephen: i took a zinc and some other drugs. a lot of aspirin and just sweated it out. it was just like a really bad flu for me. i was laid up for five days. and you can tell i'm still a little stuffed up. it has a lingering effect. it was pretty tough. host: how did the fact that the virus, the epidemic, the pandemic, happen right in the wheelhouse of an already tough election year both on the national level and state level?
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because states are led by governors, the governor's response on how the state would handle the pandemic. stephen: i do remember in january of 2020 thinking -- the american economy was just booming. the lowest poverty rate, wages were growing and stock market was going through the roof. i was thinking if it hadn't been for covid, trump would've won a landslide. things were going so well with his economic policies. then we got hit by this virus and it changed everything. your question was how did governors deal with it? host: how much was it driven by a political response to the pandemic? stephen: the one thing we can argue for months and months about and you have had this discussion that is outside my wheelhouse which is the changing of the election rules as a
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result of covid. mail-in ballots and all these things. i'm not an expert on that. but we did change the way we vote clearly because of covid. host: henry is on the line. democratic color, go ahead. caller: i would like to congratulate my president, president biden of the handling of the ukraine situation. he is doing the right thing allowing nato, the nato countries and european countries to take the lead. and giving all the help that we can give them. but i would like to caution the president to not take his eyes off the ball of domestic terrorism hereby were -- here by right wing militias. we have to have some decapitory strikes on right wing militias. take a leadership at to keep america safe. caller: his purpose for being
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here this morning is to make sure he puts out a good report on ron desantis, ron death-sata nist. that's what i call him. they are lying. texas, florida, south dakota, all those red states are lying about their covid numbers. that is the reason why we still have covid is because they did not follow the lead of new york, michigan, and all those other states. you cannot believe a word this man says. this man is a liar. he is a shill for the republican party. stephen: new york and new jersey had by far the highest death rate and by far the strictest lockdowns. it's hard to make the case lockdowns work very well when the two states that locked down virtually everything had by far the highest death rates. michigan had a horrific record. there was another state where
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they did not do the most important thing which was keep people safe in nursing homes. michigan, new york, and new jersey had very high rates of death in nursing homes. we don't mention in the study republican or democrat or red state or blue state. there were some blue states that did very well. i think vermont was third or fourth. vermont is a pretty blue state even though it has a republican governor. some red states did poorly. arizona had a fairly high death rate from covid. so we just kind of presented the evidence. we have gotten a lot of response on the study and a lot of people , researchers and so on have made some really good suggestions to us about how we might improve the study. we are taking that into account and we may do a new analysis based on things. if you look at texas, this gentleman mentioned texas. texas had a fairly high death rate from covid.
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so to new mexico and arizona. the question is, those are border states. was there an issue with people coming in from south america or mexico and infecting? i don't know the answer to that. there was also a big covid problem on indian reservations. host: you kind of touched on the comorbidities. it is kind of technical but you had to say, what is the health condition of the state before the pandemic. stephen: for example, as i said from the outset, it is pretty much true but not entirely true that covid was a virus and still is that really is very dangerous the older you are. there was a study a couple weeks ago in the new york times that says we have finally discovered that children have almost a kind of natural immunity to covid. it took them two years to figure that out?
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it was pretty obvious from the start. i'm not an epidemiologist but we do know children -- it keeps our species going. children have a natural immunity. why didn't we just really focus on people that were old and had other infirmities instead of shutting down everything? we spent and borrowed $5 trillion. this was not a small thing. we will spend decades and decades paying for all the costs of all of these lockdowns which did not have much of a positive effect. the best study was from johns hopkins university that just came out about a month ago and they looked across countries and states. what they found was that lockdowns reduce the death rate in a state or country by .1%. instead of one million people dying, you could have had 10,000 more people die if we had not locked down.
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$5 trillion, business bankruptcy, millions of americans becoming unemployed, kids being deprived of going to school. i don't think it's a close call. i think the cost of the lockdowns were an order of magnitude larger than any benefit. host: school closures may ultimately be the biggest cost. one study found school closures at the end of the 20 2020 school year are associated with 13.8 million years of life lost. life expectancy for high school graduates is four years to six years longer than high school dropouts. learning losses from pandemic era school closures could cause a 3% decline in lifetime earnings and a loss of just one third of the year of learning has caused a long-term economic impact of $14 trillion. stephen: education is really
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important. we may have caused more deaths in the long term or more life lost by keeping schools shut. why did we allow teachers unions to make these decisions? they should have made -- they should have been made by parents. another quick thing about this. i have talked to a lot of education professionals. kids who were high achievers were fine with her more learning -- remote learning. the kids that were really damaged by keeping schools closed were kids that need to be in class and need to have that instruction and we deprived them of that. host: let's hear from tom on the republican line. caller: i see you're talking about covid. i was on the county board and we tried to get the governor to let
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us open up the county because in the middle of july, we had only three cases in the county. in my grandkids all go to catholic school. they never did shut the catholic schools down. they went to whole time. -- the whole time. my grandson was remote learning. i think the grandkids gained a whole year. when i went to meetings, none of us wore masks. i never did get it until our engineer got it. and the reason i didn't get it was because john hopkins university had a study --
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[indiscernible] host: you're kind of cutting in and out but the state of illinois with an f grade in the three categories you're looking at. stephen: illinois handled it very poorly. chicago was comatose for six to nine months. tragic because chicago is one of the greatest cities in the world. it was a real tragedy. illinois had a high death rate despite being locked down. i feel this gentleman's pain. i hate to see that happen but pritzker handled it extremely poorly. host: let's go to maine with joe on the independent line. caller: thank you, c-span, for taking my call. steve, let me ask you a couple
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of things. you're trying to get on the trump cabinet and he would not hire you. is that correct? host: this gentleman is talking about -- caller: what are you laughing at? host: hold on. stephen: i was an advisor to president trump on his economic recovery task force. i was appointed to the federal was reported and i did not make it to the senate so i withdrew my nomination. so thank you for bringing that up. but what is your point? caller: you just said what is important is not to lie. and every show i've ever seen you on, you were crying when you were talking about the economy and now today you're here talking about covid. what are you going to talk about next? dancing? are you going to come out with a rap album? host: we will let you go and go
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to tony in manassas, virginia. caller: mr. moore, respectfully, in florida, it has been widely reported that they have underreported the death rate. you said why parents and school boards are not allowed to make the decision? [indiscernible] also, it was reported when we first had the outbreak, a lot of people returned to the states that were close with the virus. that is not in your report and you have not reported the people in florida how they were affected by having an open state during that time. stephen: an average death rate in the economy continued to
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function. they kept their businesses functioning. that was one of the tragedies of covid, all of these business bankruptcies that were such a tragedy. anyone who has ever started a business and you spent your whole life building up a business and the government shuts it down. most people look at florida as being a success story. i am troubled by the fact that people are so -- the pushback on this. the good news is we don't have to shut down the economy anymore. that is the point of the study. we can deal with the viruses in a way that we can keep people safe, key people on the job, keep people in the classroom. people should be celebrating that message and there is this big pushback. i don't quite understand it. there was a survey done at the beginning of covid and another
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one that was done about a year later about how afraid are you of covid? and i'm just making this as an observation. about two thirds of democrats were very afraid of covid. and only one third of republicans were. i've always been puzzled why that is. there was a lot of misinformation about covid that was spread to people. people really did think kids were vulnerable to covid. they weren't. they just factually weren't. we are destroying to get the facts out to people and people can make their own conclusions. host: you talk about the trillions of dollars of federal-aid that came out during the pandemic. the cares act, the american rescue plan. do you think there are success stories in the money we used, preserving and helping save businesses, keeping people who were unemployed and giving them benefits for a longer time.
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stephen: this is the biggest epic failure of government in the history of this country. we paid a massive amount of money not to work. we look very clearly at this, that those states are very problematic. they kept paying people not to work. so states like new york, new jersey, illinois, california, and michigan have unemployment rates that are way higher. and even persistent today. it is interesting if you look today, a lot of the states at the top of our list like the ones i mentioned, they recovered all of the jobs that they had. and which states are still a huge hole? new york, new jersey, california, pennsylvania.
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locking down the economy and bankrupting businesses, those will last a long time. host: the independent line. caller: i'm actually libertarian. how are you this morning? i was going to ask about the benefits. so i think you already answered my question. stephen: i'm so glad you brought up the unappointed benefits. we were literally paying people as much as $75,000 to $100,000, expanded food stamps, expanded unemployment benefits. paying people $300 per month per child. we were deluging people with money.
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it made it very difficult to get people back to the workforce. we are still having a problem getting people back to the workforce. we need to get people working again. and we still have something like one of the lowest labor force participation rates in our country's history right now. host: go ahead. caller: that was all i really wanted to ask. caller: you are going to get beat up and you will remember where you're at. the calls with ivermectin, that was proven. joe rogan & jacob -- had some jacob to and -- joe rogan had sanje gupta, and cnn was caught lying. with this whole thing with
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donald trump and you are a liar, you've got to take it for what it is. they are already shutting down philadelphia. they have the mask mandate. this whole thing about republicans lying about their death rates, look at new york city and cuomo. that's the biggest scandal there is with more covid. you are an economist. are you better now with joe biden in office then you were with donald trump in office? the other thing i like is i like the fact that governor abbott and governor desantis are sending all those illegals to washington, d.c., and to delaware. i thought that was great. stephen: there is a lot there. i was sent to respond by saying
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that on balance, the states that kept their economies functioning and were rational about getting kids back in school as quickly as possible -- some of my liberal friends talk about how important education is. absolutely. it's critical. we learned that lesson about how important it is that kids get access. there is a big movement where we are trying to get governors like governor ducey in arizona to say that if a school shuts down, a school district shuts down for any reason whether it is a viruslike covid, a natural disaster, a school strike. let's give the money to the parents so they can find a school that is


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