The Intelligence Briefing: America’s Medical Supply Shortage
President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to compel a Maine-based company to produce swabs for coronavirus testing. This law, which dates back to the Korean War, gives the federal government considerable authority to compel private companies to produce materials in the interest of national defense. While the administration has employed this law in recent weeks, many are calling on the government to do much more. In fact, Joe Biden said that the president's underuse of the act is a "national disgrace." But just what is the Defense Production Act? And how might the government help medical professionals get access to the supplies they need to combat coronavirus?
- Central Intelligence: The Defense Production Act
- Intelligraphic: The data behind the DPA
- Points of View: Get the latest analysis and insight from our past debaters.
- Double Digits: President Trump plans to suspend immigration in light of COVID-19. Should he?
That's Debatable: Is remote work here to stay?
- Despite being a lesser-known law, the Defense Production Act has been invoked not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of times since it was established 70 years ago.
- Margaret O’Mara (FOR) argues that the private sector isn’t meeting the demands of the crisis on its own. Even the most successful companies in the world, like Amazon, have major shortages and delays.
Thomas Spoehr (AGAINST) claims that despite any initial shortcomings, the United States remains the best model in combatting coronavirus. The unique system of free enterprise, where customers and producers self-connect, is what led to success during and after World War II, and can be replicated.
POINTS OF VIEW
battled it out on the Intelligence Squared stage.
- Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro warns of a looming housing crisis and offers solutions to safeguard American renters and homeowners. (City Lab, Julian's debate)
- How will social distancing reboot your life? Katherine Mangu-Ward looks at the long-term lessons of moving our lives online. (Politico, Katherine's debate)
- Gillian Tett concedes that assigning a dollar amount to a life may seem “taboo,” but argues it’s worth calculating just how much the economy should sacrifice. (FT, Gillian's debate)
- Meanwhile, Zeke Emanuel argues that reopening safely can only happen once we have testing, contact tracing, and other necessary health infrastructure in place. (NYT, Zeke's debate)
- Turning to the 2020 campaign, Peter Beinart dives into the debate on just how hawkish Democrats should be toward China this election. (The Atlantic, Peter's debate)
A bonus: For all the word nerds out there, we recommend John McWhorter’s fascinating linguistics podcast, “Lexicon Valley.” The latest episode is on the origin of the -o suffix in words like sicko and weirdo. (Slate, John’s debate)
“At a time when many American workers are hurting or out of a job, it makes sense to protect jobs for them. And not only protect their jobs – protect wages as well.”
“[I]mmigrants are disproportionately involved in providing essential services during the pandemic. It makes no sense to keep out workers who are helping keep America running.”
David J. Bier
In Favor of Remote Work
Fast Company: We’re in the midst of a massive work-from-home experiment. What if it works?
TIME: The Coronavirus Is Making Us See That It's Hard to Make Remote Work Actually Work