I am reposting this item because I made significant revisions to the previous draft of my white paper. Instead of block grants to the States, I second a simple and elegant proposal by Greg Mankiw (with some modifications). My larger point, though, is still the same: State governments are legally obligated to provide “just compensation” under the takings clause when they order “non-essential” business firms to close their doors. Of course, given the severity and scale of the coronavirus situation, what constitutes “just” is no doubt up for debate, but it is not zero.
That is the title of my most recent work in progress, which is available here via SSRN. Here is an abstract of my paper: “In the United States, most official responses to the current pandemic have included some sort of a suppression policy–the shutting down of non-essential business and economic activities–in order to promote “social distancing” and slow the spread of infection. This white paper will not question the wisdom or efficacy of such economic suppression policies. Instead, this paper will make a modest constitutional proposal: that all such suppression polices occur within a well-defined legal and property-rights framework under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”