“The pillars of our prosperity are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.” - Thomas Jefferson.

Today marks the 277th birthday of one of America’s most famous founding fathers, diplomats, patriots, and presidents: Thomas Jefferson. In a time of relative uncertainty, I thought it appropriate to examine the wisdom of the man who laid the foundation for many American ideals that still remain today. Are we still holding true to these ideals, or has this pandemic exposed that we have drifted away from the principles that are at the core of the American experiment? 

In the rapidly evolving world shaped by the coronavirus pandemic, the federal and state governments have been removing barriers and regulations in order to allow for Americans to have greater freedom to fight the virus as well as adjust to life under new social distancing conditions. The think-tank Americans For Tax Reform is keeping a rolling list of regulations that have been removed at the federal and state levels. At the time I am writing this, the list tops out over 200 federal and state regulations that have been at least suspended. The repeal of these regulations beg the question, “were even needed in the first place?”. For example:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services now allows healthcare professionals to work in a different state from which they are licensed. 
  • The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is allowing for distilled spirits permittees to produce hand sanitizer.
  • Multiple states have reduced or removed barriers for doctors to provide telemedicine services.
  • Multiple states have allowed for alcohol delivery and curbside sales. 

This list goes on and on, and has been increasing since the ATR began tracking it. As I look at the medical and economic landscape of America, it is evermore apparent that the words of Thomas Jefferson ring true. 

While we are not at the end of this crisis, we should continue to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure that the pillars of prosperity are indeed thriving for Americans across the country by increasing their opportunity for individual enterprise. These regulations have been removed and America has not caved in on itself. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. We have seen Americans retool their factories, convert their shops and restaurants, and rise to the challenges of the day. When this time of emergency subsides, Americans must remind legislators in both federal and state governments of a truth that is self-evident; the entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit of America flourishes when it is truly left free to do so, and when it is most free, people truly prosper.