Weekly Writers Round-Up: What COVID-19 Means for Politicization, Urban Transportation, and Education Funding - America's Future Foundation

May 27, 2020

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Weekly Writers Round-Up: What COVID-19 Means for Politicization, Urban Transportation, and Education Funding

By: Josh Evans

Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AFF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career.

Americans Have Always Politicized Public Health by Chelsea Follett (Summer 2017) in The American Conservative
A deadly disease has emerged. There is no known treatment. Public opinion is split on how to tackle the outbreak. Those words could apply to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, they also apply to the yellow fever outbreak that swept through America’s capital city not long after the American Revolution. The 1793 episode shows us that the medical response to a crisis is easily politicized.

Yellow fever is a viral disease that’s spread by mosquitoes. It often causes jaundiced or yellowed skin (hence its name), vomiting, bleeding and death. In the late summer of 1793, refugees from a yellow fever epidemic in the Caribbean fled to Philadelphia, which was then the capital city of the young United States of America. Their ships unfortunately also carried Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—vectors of the yellow fever virus…

The bicycles are coming. Will cities be ready? by Nolan Gray (Fall 2015) in the Washington Times
Across the country, transit ridership is plummeting. The epicenter of the crisis, New York’s subway, has seen a 90 percent drop over the past two months. Similar trends are underway with virtually every major U.S. transit network, from Chicago to Los Angeles. Here in D.C., a mere 350 people are riding the Metro each day. 

Part of this stems from the fact that 15 percent of Americans are out of work and many more are working from home. But it also comes down to an understandable — if unfounded — concern about catching the virus on mass transit. After all, as my Mercatus Center colleague Salim Furth observes, there seems to be a more robust relationship between infection rates and car ownership…

Three ways to send stimulus money to students and educators who need it most by Christian Barnard (Spring 2019) in The Hill
With state and local governments quickly approaching fiscal cliffs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdowns, another massive federal spending package likely is on its way. The House recently approved the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion bill that includes about $58 billion for K-12 education. While there’s been little consideration given to the consequences that this spending will have on future generations that will be saddled with public debt, policymakers at least should ensure that any money earmarked for education is used wisely. To do this they must consider how these dollars are allocated. Here are three principles to help guide them…