Great Moments in Central Planning
By David Henderson
I told you so.
I thought from the getgo that having the federal government, under Operation Warp Speed, monopsonize the COVID-19 vaccine and then use central planning to distribute it at a zero price, was a bad idea.
I criticized the central planning way to distribute it in “Vaccines’ Last Hurdle: Central Planners,” Defining Ideas, December 4, 2020. I wrote:
If Walmart or Amazon put out a plan to allocate vaccines, I wouldn’t be so concerned. The reason is that they would have incentives for every step of the process. They would fire people for doing it badly and would pay bonuses to, or promote, people who do it well. But this is government. Will any government worker lose his or her job by knocking off at 5 p.m. on Friday instead of staying an extra three hours to get out ten more shipments of the drug? The question answers itself.
Well, guess what? The federal government is taking its sweet time.
Here’s Ronald Bailey on the issue:
In a statement, Pfizer rebuts rumors that there is a shortfall in doses for its vaccine due to production delays. “Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed,” notes the company. “This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them. We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.”
Sadly, the federal government appears to be dawdling again while the toll of COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations, and new diagnoses continues to rise ever higher. It’s not like there’s a pandemic or anything going on.
The belief in central planning lives loudly in so many of the people messing this up.