IT DIDN'T TAKE long after the coronavirus crisis began for the smart set to write off small-government types in articles with such snarky headlines as "There Are No Libertarians in a Pandemic." By now, it seems more correct to believe there are only libertarians in a pandemic, including many public officials, who suddenly find themselves willing and able to waive all sorts of ostensibly important rules and procedures in the name of helping people out.
How else to explain the decision by the much-loathed and irrelevant-to-safety Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow family-sized jugs of hand sanitizer onto planes? The TSA isn't going full Milton Friedman--it's reminding visitors to its website "that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be allowed at the limit of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in a one quart-size bag." But it's a start.
Something similar is going on in Massachusetts, a state wellknown for high levels of regulation, including in the medical sector. Expecting a crush in health care needs due the coronavirus, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has seen the light and agreed to streamline the Bay State's recognition of "nurses and other medical professionals" who are registered in other parts of the United States, something that 34 states do on a regular basis.
As Walter Olson of the Cato Institute observes, that move "should help get medical professionals to where they are most needed, and it is one of many good ideas that should be kept on as policy after the pandemic emergency passes. After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, by contrast, when storm-ravaged oceanside homeowners badly needed skilled labor to restore their premises to usable condition, local laws in places like Long Island forbade them to bring in skilled electricians even from other counties of New York, let alone other states."
The group Americans for Tax Reform...