Let’s Hope for Something New This New Year

By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

As 2021 is wrapping up, it turns out that this year was much like last year. Let’s hope that 2022 is not a three-peat of the last two years. There does seem to be room for hope.

We’re now at the point that anyone who wants a COVID vaccine can get one. While it seems that almost everyone is going to get Omicron, it also seems to be much more mild. It’s getting more difficult to justify another round of shutdowns and lock-ins.

Nevertheless, given the skittish proclivities of public health experts, I fear that many public schools will return to online instruction. If this happens again, I predict that 2022 will be the year that many families give up on the public school system and demand that state education funding flow to the students themselves.

But there’s more work to be done, and 2022 is the perfect time to do it. We can relax the regulations surrounding getting a GED in Oregon, so students can graduate sooner and avoid the stress of on-again/off-again online learning. We can get rid of our silly Certificate of Need laws that make it impossible to quickly add hospital capacity.

Over the past two years, we learned that our state and local leaders will leave us on our own when we need them the most. If they won’t lead, they need to get rid of the rules that stop us from helping ourselves. Here’s to a new year!

Eric Fruits is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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