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Week in Review: Thousands protest in Michigan

April 18, 2020

“It’s not a suggestion. It’s an order.”

In a few short words, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer summed up her attitude toward those who are questioning the rationale behind her recent series of stay-at-home mandates designed to halt the spread of COVID-19. This week, as 1 million Michiganders filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus lockdown, protesters in cars and trucks lined up for miles to bring their anger and frustration to the state capitol.

Whitmer’s orders are wide-ranging, confusing, contradictory, and ever-evolving. “Non-essential” workers must remain home. Family members are prohibited from visiting other family members. Property owners are banned from traveling to vacation homes—and if they’re already at their vacation home, they are prohibited from returning to their primary residence. Violations of the stay-at-home order are subject to a new $1,000 civil fine, which is on top of criminal punishment with a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

Let there be no doubt: Sensible measures are necessary to protect public health and to combat COVID-19. But Governor Whitmer is engaging in an experiment of regulation in real time—and Michigan citizens are pushing back.

Read more about the regulations and how citizens are protesting in a new article on our blog.

Patients Can’t Wait for a Coronavirus Treatment—and It’s Time the FDA Got the Message

Figuring out whether readily available drugs can blunt COVID-19 can be done quickly. But getting any of those treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cannot be. The reason: The agency remains wedded to its decades-old model for assessing medications even in the midst of a global pandemic, said Dr. Joseph Gulfo, a longtime critic of the FDA’s drug approval process and author of the book Innovation Breakdown: How the FDA and Wall Street Cripple Medical Advances.

What is lacking is an appropriate sense of urgency, he said.

Proving a drug works to the satisfaction of the FDA takes time. It also requires statistical certainty.

In the midst of the global pandemic that has already killed more than 139,000 people worldwide, and roughly 31,000 in the United States, time and absolute certainty are two things we cannot afford, said Gulfo, who has more than 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries and was on President Trump’s original short list to be FDA commissioner.

In a new article, Goldwater National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten reports on America’s drug approval process and how reforms — including those developed by the Goldwater Institute — could help ensure we get treatments when we need them. Read more from Flatten here.

This Reform Should Top Every State Legislature’s Economic Recovery Agenda

The coronavirus crisis is making the ability to earn a living from home more important than ever. But in their new and timely paper published with Utah State University’s Center for Growth and Opportunity, “Zoning for Opportunity: A Survey of Home-Based-Business Regulations,” M. Nolan Gray and Olivia Gonzalez reveal that outmoded zoning ordinances are restricting the ability of entrepreneurs and business owners to work from their home.

New regulations are wreaking havoc on people’s ability to earn a living from home—something that has taken on a new significance in recent weeks as Americans battle COVID-19. The Goldwater Institute’s Home-Based Business Fairness Act is designed to turn back the tide on those regulations and protect entrepreneurs.

In a new article, Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur explains that it’s high time for policymakers to embrace the presumption of liberty and empower people to pursue the American Dream without having to ask government for permission.



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