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Opinion
Tyler Cowen

Coronavirus Hands More Power to New York, California and Other States

The pandemic could bring the U.S. closer to what it was under the Articles of Confederation.

Street-level federalism in Chicago.

Street-level federalism in Chicago.

Photographer: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP
Updated on

Covid-19 is not just changing Americans’ daily lives, it may also transform their system of government. On many important current issues, the U.S. may end up with an arrangement that looks more like the Articles of Confederation than the Constitution.

Consider how this might evolve. First, states and regions are recovering (or not) at dramatically different rates. The worst may be over for much of California and Washington State — but New York City, because of its density and reliance on the subway, may find the problem especially difficult to control. Louisiana is on the verge of catastrophe, while some other states, such as Virginia, are still not sure how bad it will be.