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Capitalism V. Coronavirus

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Penna Dexternever miss viewpoints

The Left predictably exploits the coronavirus pandemic to bash capitalism.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel counters, “To the extent America is weathering this moment, it is in enormous part thanks to the strength, ingenuity, and flexibility of our thriving, competitive capitalist players.”

The U.S. response has not been without its problems, but capitalism is providing many more answers than a centralized economy ever could.

Ms. Strassel points to a big mistake that surfaced early on: Government “maintained control over early test development — and blew it.” The private sector came to the rescue. Many companies are now producing high-volume tests. Retailers like Walmart and CVS converted parking spaces to drive-through testing sites. Private labs are processing those tests.

Scores of Big Pharma and small biotech firms are searching for treatments and vaccines.

Last week the Journal reported that a collection of America’s top scientists, billionaires, and industry titans have been meeting secretly and have delivered unique and aggressive plans for dealing with the crisis to the White House.

After the 2009 swine flu outbreak, the Obama administration failed to refill the National Strategic Stockpile’s supply of masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment. Private industry geared up to meet the needs. Companies now making masks and gowns include the iconic Brooks Brothers and MyPillow, whose CEO Mike Lindell converted 75 percent of his production to masks.

General Motors, Ford, and Tesla ramped up capabilities to make ventilators.

Grocery stores are providing special hours for the elderly and vulnerable to shop. Some quickly ramped up online ordering, pick-up, and delivery. Restaurants, to stay alive, are offering take-out, curbside pick-up, and delivery. Comcast, Sprint, and Verizon are guaranteeing online service, so crucial right now, even for customers who can’t pay.

Amazon, now indispensable, is allowing profits to decrease even as deliveries have skyrocketed.

Capitalism will allow some businesses to be decimated in this crisis. And it will allow others to rise and fuel a recovery.

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