A Crisis-Related Lesson from Truckers

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This story seems to me to be not only an important issue of its own accord, but also a good lesson in the dangers of government overreaction to crisis:

As the United States gradually shuts down in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the trucking and tire industry is appealing to the government to allow gas stations, rest stops, and repair facilities to remain open to keep deliveries rolling.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, for example, shut down all of its rest areas and welcome centers to the public on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it agreed to reopen the parking lots at nearly half of them at the request of truckers and the Trump administration.

Other states are considering similar closures, officials said, to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus and discourage people from traveling.

The government isn’t in an especially good position — and politicians aren’t particularly well suited — to foresee unintended consequences and adequately weight them on an individualized basis.  Ensure that the public is informed, and let people make their own decisions.  Those who exist in critical supply chains see their importance and will evaluate their own risk-reward balance.

Truckers’ stopping at rest stops is a particularly direct example, but the principle runs through our entire economy.