Koch & COVIDenial

The following individuals and groups, who have historically focused on denying or downplaying the risk of man-made global warming, have turned their attention to the COVID-19 crisis. 

This set of examples examines many of the groups that have received significant funding from the billionaire Koch brothers Charles Koch, the late David Koch, and the various Koch Family Foundations.

*Please note that automatic transcripts were generated for some of the video materials, and while we have reviewed the transcripts, there may still be errors. Contact DeSmog if you notice any errors and we will address them as soon as possible.*

**Also note that funding values prior to 1998 cannot be independently verified by DeSmog, as original 990 forms are not available. View DeSmog’s page on Koch Family Foundations for more information.

These examples are taken out of a larger body of evidence DeSmog has gathered on COVID denial.

American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)

Donor Total
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $95,000
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $6,000
Grand Total $101,000

See DeSmog’s reporting on ACSH‘s reaction to COVID here.

Alex Berezow. “Coronavirus And The Fallacy Of The False Dilemma,” American Council on Science and Health, April 22

Those who favor an indefinite lockdown also claim that we shouldn’t sacrifice lives for the economy. This is a statement made out of pure ignorance for two reasons: (1) A society with a severely damaged economy inevitably will harm public health; and (2) We already sacrifice lives for the sake of the economy every single day. Influenza kills thousands of Americans every year. HIV killed hundreds of thousands since it emerged in the 1980s. Car crashes kill about 40,000 Americans each year.

Imagine all the lives that could have been saved if we simply shut down daily life in 1980. If you believe that conclusion is absurd (and it is), then it’s equally absurd to argue that the COVID-19 lockdown must go on indefinitely until a vaccine comes out. (Spoiler alert: A vaccine may never come, and if it does, it may not work very well.)

Those who want to fully open up the economy right now are also spouting nonsense. There is simply no way that Americans have achieved herd immunity for COVID-19, so disease hotspots (which are usually in big cities) must reopen their economies cautiously over the coming weeks and months. Restrictions in other, less dense places can probably be lifted relatively soon.

Alex Berezow. “Best Evidence Yet That Coronavirus Came From Wuhan BSL-4 Lab,“ American Council on Science and Health, April 13

As the weeks and months have gone by, however, circumstantial evidence is piling up that the virus actually came from the Wuhan BSL-4 laboratory. Once again, it is not a biological weapon. Instead, it appears that Chinese scientists were studying a novel virus they found, and it accidentally infected a worker and “escaped” from the lab.

[…]

Now, CNN reports that China is censoring any research related to the origin of the virus. According to the article, an online announcement said that “[s]tudies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials.”

That announcement, as it so happens, was later removed, providing the best evidence yet that China is once again covering something up.

Alex Berezow. “Coronavirus: Is It Even Possible To Contain COVID-19?American Council on Science and Health, March 17

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. But these kinds of measures can’t last forever. The public is willing tolerate massive disruptions to daily life only when it believes the disruptions will end. Therefore, mitigation is a more viable option.

[…]

COVID-19 does not appear to be on that track, especially with summer approaching. (Warm weather is often lethal to respiratory viruses.) In the roughly two months the virus has been circulating in America, the number of confirmed cases is only roughly 3,700. Even if off by a factor of 100, the number of infections is two orders of magnitude less than the flu. The bottom line is that scientists don’t really know how the virus is spread.

Can this extraordinary virus be contained? Probably not. The biological and epidemiological features of the virus make that nearly impossible. Research indicates that the virus is most contagious at the earliest point of illness, which means that a person is already spreading it by the time symptoms first appear. Once a person feels poorly enough to stay home, it’s already too late. Even worse, people who are infected but asymptomatic can probably spread the virus as well. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild or asymptomatic, underscoring the likely futility of containment measures. The only way to stop a virus that can spread so surreptitiously is to force every person on Earth to stay home for the next 14 days, which is the length of time necessary for quarantine, based on the virus’ incubation period.

Alex Berezow. “Coronavirus In The U.S.: How Bad Will It Be?“ American Council on Science and Health, January 31

Q: Is coronavirus worse than the flu?
A: No, not even close. In just this current flu season (which isn’t over yet), the CDC estimates between 15 million and 21 million infections and 8,200 and 20,000 deaths. However, the estimated case-fatality ratio would be roughly 0.05% to 0.1%, which is much lower than for 2019-nCoV. Though a person is 20 times likelier to die from the new coronavirus than seasonal flu, the sheer number of influenza infections makes the flu a far bigger public health threat.

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $2,544,531
Charles Koch Institute $171,089
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $720,000
Grand Total $3,536,620

State Audio Resources: COVID-19,” Via ALEC_states on SoundCloud, March 21

Art Laffer: [00:00:36] They let me just say, the the issues are very serious here. I mean, obviously, it started with a Coronavirus, but then it spread right into the economy and a lot of people holding off work. We have a lot of reduction in demand and all that. There are two very serious economic issues at hand. My view there’s a liquidity issue and there is a production issue, both of which are very serious.

[…]

[00:02:43] The production issues are very different and they are very material as well by people staying at home, not being there at work. You have a great shortfall of supply in this country.

[…]

[00:04:42] My best guess is that that would do a great deal to re-accelerate and re-bring back employment as fast as possible. Following the nature of this Coronavirus-induced downturn. The third thing I’d like to just. John, before I let you all go, is the thousand dollars per family payment is I don’t believe it makes any sense whatsoever, to be honest with you. People do need the money, very much so. But, you know, the government doesn’t create resources. The government redistributes resources. And everyone you bail out. You put someone else into trouble. And when I look at this number, I don’t know why one month would be enough. Two months would be enough. Three months. But every month of that is at least 200, 150 to 200 billion dollars. You don’t go very many model very where you run out of money. You’re run out of money. Yeah. You run out of money.

[00:05:49] Symbolic gestures just don’t make sense here. We need production and we need it right now.

[…]

[00:07:27] If people could go back to work. Believe me, they would have gone back to work. The reason we have a downturn is because supplies were taken off the table because of the Coronavirus. Well, now it’s pyramiding and spiraling down. And that’s you know, that’s the real that’s the real, real problems. And what you find happening is with these politicians, you know, whenever you know, whenever politicians make decisions, when they’re either panicked or drunk, the consequences are rarely attractive. And you can see that with a W and with Obama in 2008, 2009.

[…]

[00:08:01] I mean, in five days of policy making, you can destroy a lifetime. And this is not the time to panic. It’s to be clear eyed. We need to get production back, period. And that’s what they have to do is right away. So my suggestion is discount freely. Make sure you take care of people who have liquidity problems, but not but not solvency problems and make sure they don’t become solvency. And number two, make sure you do a massive payroll tax waiver for the next eight months. So you make it very attractive for workers to work and you make it very attractive for employers to employ. And please don’t do these symbolic gestures of $1000 per family for the next five months and then wonder why it’s a depression. 

[00:00:41] We cannot  keep the American Academy shutdown for another three weeks. If it goes a day beyond three weeks. I think we get to a situation where the literally the cure is worse than the disease. We have to get the American economy open again. And that means that this kind of lockdown can’t continue because the costs, in my opinion, are going to be in the trillions of dollars.

[…]

[00:02:06] I’m a civil libertarian. The idea that we should have a policy like what’s going on in California right now to me is completely outrageous. It is a violation, it is an abuse of governmental power. The idea that people can’t go out of their homes is just outrageous to me. And I’m worried that that’s going to come to many other States as well. I don’t think you can do that. I just I think people will not stand for that kind of policy.

[00:03:07] I was thinking of starting a hashtag. You know, something like, you know, end the lockdown.

[20:19] Lisa B Nelson: You know, I think that the the I continue to be very optimistic, I continue to, you know, want to get America back to work again, and I’m appreciating the 15 days, to slow to spread. I get that we’re about halfway through that, but I also am encouraging our government leaders at the state level, to really look for ways to pivot to getting back, you know, to so that we can open America and get people working again.

[22:13] Yeah. You know, I mean, we are always going to defer to a limited government and free market response. We’ve never taken, you know, strong positions in support of any kind of bailout. And, and we, I guess we would call it a bailout. But, but I also think that there’s some important elements in in some of these bills that are going to encourage that fluidity and get money back in the hands of businesses. So, you know, we’re going to look for that limited government response, but support some of the things that have to happen at the state level. And I would, I would, you know, again, I would guess I would look at it much more.

Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)

Craig Rucker is the co-founder and executive director of CFACT, which has received just under $40,000 from Koch-controlled foundations:

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $27,752
Charles Koch Institute $10,500
Grand Total $38,252

Bonner Cohen. “Climate alarmism and Covid-19 don’t mix,” CFACT, May 20

Of the many responses to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, none was more predictable than the effort by climate activists to exploit the crisis for their own political purposes.

It was an intolerable situation. Climate alarmists suddenly found themselves relegated to the sidelines as the country confronted a real threat, one with deadly consequences.

It didn’t take long, however, for the Climate Industrial Complex to come up with a slapdash study linking COVID-19 to fossil-fuel-induced climate change and for that message to be trumpeted by the usual suspects in the hope of drawing attention to an issue that was being overshadowed by events.

[…]

Americans, by overwhelming majorities, were not willing to sacrifice their livelihoods for the climate before they were put through the ordeal of COVID-19 lockdowns, and they certainly aren’t now.

A Harris poll taken May 12 found that 62% of U.S. adults surveyed said climate change wouldn’t damage the American economy if left unaddressed, the Washington Times reported. Yet a Reuters/Ipsos poll found last year that Americans were unwilling to install solar panels, carpool or take the bus, reduce eating meat, pay an additional $100 in taxes, drive an electric car or pay an additional $100 or more on their annual electricity bill to fight climate change.

Peter Murphy. “Do lockdowns stop viruses?CFACT, May 18

Imposing lockdown policies to protect public health and mitigate death is increasingly looking overwrought.

[…]

The continued lockdowns are unwarranted and ineffective in preventing deaths from Covid-19. Lockdowns have spread out the number of deaths over a longer time period. Still, the number of people getting infected with coronavirus has steadily increased, as have the number of deaths, during which most states where in lockdown.

[…]

The present day coronavirus, as tragic as it is from a health standpoint, nonetheless remains below the absolute numbers from the late ‘50s and ‘60s, and far below the percentages of Americans who died. A total of 217,000 Americans would have to die from Covid-19 to match the rate suffered in the 1958 pandemic, and 165,000 would have to die to reach the 1968 percentage.

Meanwhile, we have added $4 trillion and counting to the national debt in a single year, and now 36 million Americans have been forced into unemployment. Ongoing protests and lawsuits against lockdowns are burgeoning.

[…]

Economic lockdowns may have helped initially to slow the coronavirus, but longer-term are ineffective and counterproductive. It is long past time to get back to work.

David Wojick. “USA Today pushes climate panic,” CFACT, May 10

I recently described the all too often case where extreme computer modelling results feed the media into then feeding a public panic. A cascade of mindless fear. See my https://www.cfact.org/2020/04/27/tale-of-two-panics-covid-climate/.

USA Today has now provided a perfect example of promoting model based panic.

Here is their panicky title: “Unsuitable for ‘human life to flourish’: Up to 3B will live in extreme heat by 2070, study warns

Three billion people will live where humans cannot survive? Seriously? Will they become billions of climate refugees? That is the absurd idea, right?

USA Today is a trusted source for many people, but here they publish pure nonsensical alarmist speculation as accepted fact. Note that the headline does not say “study suggests”. No it is “study warns” as though this nonsense were real and something to act on. Perhaps a ten year lockdown is called for, or even greater green sacrifices.

The article merely mentions in passing that this is just another (hyperbolic) computer result, nowhere even hinting that this is not something even remotely real. There is no hint of scientific caution. No alternative view, no questioning analysis or opinion, nothing. The entire article is written as though this nonsense were somehow an established fact.

Is the coronavirus lockdown the future environmentalists want?CFACT video featuring Marc Morano and Heartland Institute president James Taylor, April 30

James Taylor: [00:13:06] This is a very perilous time for freedom. Back seven months ago, we were told that we could expect up to 2 million deaths from Coronavirus. And fortunately, those models appear to have been greatly overstated because now we’re being told perhaps 60 thousand, maybe a hundred thousand, still quite a tragedy, but nowhere near the 2 million deaths. When those models made those predictions, it really gave me pause because I know how in the climate change debate people program models and the models are only as good, The outcome and predictions are only as accurate as the assumptions that go into the programing and for climate change. [00:13:47]

James Taylor: [00:14:06] So when we saw the models predicting such a great death toll, I was hoping that the models would be just as wrong as they are for climate change. And fortunately, they have been. We were told at the time that we needed these lockdowns, shelter in place, etc. because of such a high death toll. And it wasn’t true that these impositions on our freedoms were going to reduce the number of deaths it would merely make it would merely flatten the curve in the sense that we wouldn’t have an overwhelming number of people inundating our health care facilities and our medical professionals at the very beginning of the crisis. We were told that we’d still have the same amount of cases, the same amount of deaths, except that we wouldn’t have that spike in the beginning, which we couldn’t handle. Well, the curve has been flattened. We appear to be on the downside of the slope. And yet those restrictions on our freedom are still in place.  [00:14:56]

James Taylor: [00:18:20] On two separate occasions, we had World Health Organization officials making outrageous statements about climate change regarding Coronavirus. In one, the statement was that climate change may make current or future pandemics worse. From everything we know, influenza, which is what we feared for, the next great pandemic. We know that influenza is assisted by cold temperatures. Warm temperatures inhibit it spread and make pandemics less severe. Coronavirus, we’re not sure if the same will occur. It’s quite possible that warmer temperatures will have the same impact. At worst, it will be neutral. It’s an outrageous statement for the World Health Organization to make apparently just to pander to climate activists. [00:18:59]

James Taylor: [00:24:34] So the long and short of it is this: if humans are causing some warming to the planet and if we have earlier summers, early arrivals of summer and later arrivals of fall, this is something that inhibits the spread of Coronavirus. It’s going to reduce the death toll and it’s something is a complete opposite of what we’re hearing in the media. And it’s very concerning that folks in the media are so intent on spinning a narrative regardless of what happens in the real world, that they will twist and turn 180 degrees, what’s happening in the real world compared to what they’re reporting. But the long and short of it is this. If there’s going to be any impact of warming temperatures, of global warming, of climate change on Coronavirus or other epidemics and pandemics is going to make them less frequent and less severe. [00:25:25]

Marc Morano: [00:45:27] Let’s turn the argument around on them. Instead of them using this and AOC, as I mentioned earlier, is cheering the collapse of oil prices and everything else. Let’s turn it around. The idea of green living is not that is actually antithetical to virus panic and viral fears. Well, we use the virus fears to oppose their rules. We’ve always been told, you know, if a driver is going to a lone driver in a car, driving, commuting to and from work is bad for the planet and polluting. Well, given the age of virus scares and we’re all supposed to be terrified of all these viruses. Now, why would you want to pack on mass transit that’s green approved? Why would you want to take the subway system? Why would you want to be on the commuter train when you could take your glorious fossil fuel car in isolation away from the virus? So I would argue. Let’s turn the fears around, you know, where necessary to throw it back at ’em. And it was actually an article was actually article by Michael Barone recently called Anti Pandemic Rules, the opposite of anti climate change rules. Let’s use that against them because they want everyone living in crowded urban areas. I remember one climate activist years ago wanted everyone wanted to design cities after termite nests. The idea is to have everything just centrally planned, perfectly smart, smart planned out. If you now look at it in the lens of the virus scare, which they are promoting shamelessly, that doesn’t fly. So let’s use their own rhetoric against them. [00:46:53]

Paul Driessen. “Let’s quarantine some fake corona and energy news,” CFACT, April 6.

Life-saving modern technologies, hospitals, labs, drugs and homes didn’t just happen. They are the product of mining, logging, roads, drilling, modern agriculture, communication and transportation, and especially fossil fuel and nuclear energy – which enable innovation to thrive, help keep Nature’s wrath and fury at safer distances, and helped extend average American life spans from 40 in 1800 to 47 in 1900 and 78 today. How and why this happened is an amazing saga. The story of penicillin is just as fascinating.

The Guardian has it completely backward. Utilizing Earth’s surface and subsurface bounties – God’s blessings – did not unleash COVID-19 and other viruses, bacteria and diseases. Doing so helped save us from pestilence and starvation that have ravaged humanity throughout history. It still does today.

[…]

Imagine what would happen if abundant, reliable, affordable heat and electricity from fossil, nuclear and hydroelectric were replaced by limited, intermittent, weather-dependent, expensive wind, solar and battery power. The impacts on our healthcare and living standards would be horrific. Try to picture life in African villages and cities, where electricity, clean water, sanitation and healthcare are still almost nonexistent.

Imagine what our planet would look like, if we had to replace relatively few fossil, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants with millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels and billions of backup batteries, sprawling across hundreds of millions of acres. We would have to open or expand thousands of mines, to provide the metals and minerals required to manufacture all that pseudo-renewable energy.

[…]

One has to wonder. If we can close restaurants and parks, and ban gatherings of more than ten people, can’t we quarantine nonsense about disease, mining, and wild ecosystems disrupted because we haven’t sufficiently adopted “clean, green, renewable, sustainable” wind, solar, battery and biofuel alternatives?

If we can’t quarantine nonsense, can’t our print and electronic media at least refrain from propagating it?

Norm Kalmanovitch. “A more robust way of predicting COVID-19 than models,” CFACT, April 4.

To date projections have been based on models of “flattening the curve” from the maximum destructive curve to a more benign curve modelled on the basis of measures being put in place.

Models are based on assumptions and are only as good as the assumptions being made. By contrast by plotting the actual data in this way makes no assumptions and therefore the data driven projections of reaching zero new cases are perfectly valid with the only questionable aspect being how the trajectory will behave and how long it will take to reach the zero point.
 
There is something to be said for plotting data by hand because unlike having a computer plot data from a computer generated spreadsheet, the individual numbers plotted have meaning and small anomalies can be identified that would never be seen in computer outputs which would likely average out anything that does not fit the curve.
 
A perfect example of this is Admiral Titley presenting a temperature graph plotted against CO2 claiming correlation at Ted Cruz’s December 8, 2015 hearing at which you were one of the witnesses.
https://www.commerce.senate.gov/2015/12/data-or-dogma-promoting-open-inq…
 
This is what was presented as evidence of correlation which clearly does not hold up when the temperature data is analyzed in detail and the actual emissions are plotted at each of the temperature inflection points.

[…]

Unlike the faked computer models responsible for creating the UN’s fabricated climate emergency https://clintel.nl/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/ecd-press-briefing.pdf the models used in predicting the outcome of the Covid-19 epidemic are both useful and necessary .Yet equally necessary is to use data based predictions as a complimentary alternative to the model based predictions that provides the positive outlook that a stressed US population is in desperate need of.
 
Please pass this on to your Whitehouse contacts with my compliments
 

Bill Gates: You know better than this. We need you now!CFACT, March 25

As we work together to combat COVID-19, much of America is shuttered and our economy stopped.  We need to keep people safe, no doubt about it, but if we don’t keep the economy moving there’s a world of hurt in store for us all.

Emergency! Narrow the recovery curveCFACT,  March 23

If we don’t enable economic recovery to get moving, the resulting harm will exceed the harm from the virus.

Time to be smart.  Fast.

Joe Bastardi. “Covid-19 and climate false equivalencies,” CFACT, March 23

First of all, this is in no way meant to minimize the threat from Covid-19. In fact the opposite. It is meant to point out similarities in some of the messaging that goes on with climate and this virus. I have written on this to some extent previously, but I wanted to sum up several parts here including some new observations. Warning: This is a long boring story. The best time to read is when you are going to sleep, I was going to market it as an audio presentation for insomnia but I thought that would be tacky. How’s that for honesty, eh?

[…]

So I am not trying to be critical, but more observant here of what I see as a common denominator. When someone, for instance, is saying that the climate emergency is worse than the Covid-19 outbreak, that should raise red flags simply due to the time scales as Covid-19 can tear down much in a year. In fact in the US, because of the mild winter, the economy likely did better than was thought before the winter, as we had record housing starts in January.  So right there the climate “emergency” had a result in the US that was positive while unless you are against progress for mankind, (that is another issue, the wish to diminish man’s progress) the warmer winter was great. The point is that in both issues, there are very good people that disagree, but a whole cottage industry that is swung by agenda has sprung up. So there are some dire messages here, but  in the end, the facts show that warmer is better for life, very much opposite the possible fast result of COVID-19.

Banning plastic grocery bags spreads disease,” CFACT, March 18

The environmental cost of alternatives to plastic grocery bags should cause policymakers to resist further bans on them and to reconsider existing bans. More so, the spread of coronavirus and other bacteria demands the repeal of the bans on plastic grocery bags.
 

Coronavirus: What’s the endgame?CFACT, March 17

It will likely be a long time until the risk from the coronavirus approaches zero.

[…]

In short, our leaders need to plan not just how they will conduct the war against this virus, but an “exit strategy” on how to pull out when the mission has been achieved.

Jay Lehr. “COVID-19 and climate change require a better understanding of science,” CFACT, March 30

We have all been barraged on the 24/7 news cycle for years over fearful claims about climate change and global warming. Now for months, our lives are completely altered with a more realistic fear of the most contagious virus any of us have ever experienced. Both, however, suffer from questionable statistics and predictions that make us wonder what is real and what is someone’s best guess. Too few of us have an adequate understanding of what science is to make the most reasonable judgments for our own lives. Hence my attempt here is to better ground the reader in a more fundamental understanding of how science should help you rather than more commonly confuse you.

[…]

You have been witnessing a great deal of non – science on the issues of both climate change and the coronavirus. As for the latter, the political system has spoken deciding to err on the side of caution by ignoring the economic impacts of the decision to shut down the nation for fear of the virus largely. Wouldn’t it be interesting if every day we learned of the daily mortality from automobile accidents, flu, heart disease and strokes? What about old age, and the other leading causes of the daily death rate in our nation? Would we see it blown out of proportion? Some claims of a 3 percent mortality rate assume we know the numbers of folks contracting Covid-19 when common sense says unreported illnesses due to their lack of severity surely outnumber those that are counted.

As to climate change, we ignore how little we know of all the variables that must affect the earth’s temperature, too often embracing the Dogma of the activists that desire to end the use of fossil fuels.

We can not be blamed for often being lead around like sheep when our media, TVs, news papers and magazines regularly trade in the worst cases of all productions because human nature seems always to be conned by the bad news. It truly sells much better than good news or real science news.

No one is to blame for current worst-case scenarios based on fear when they are sold to us daily. If you would apply the simple principles of science, at the very least, your blood pressure may improve.

Joe Bastardi. “Climate change accused of being deadlier than Covid 19 — Fact check” – CFACT, March 17

I guess if the Covid-19 completely fizzles out, which is also a possibility, then anything that happens in the weather globally over the next 20 years that is blamed for deaths,  means perhaps it would be eclipsed.  But the facts reveal that man’s adaptation via freedom, competition and capitalism, which is leading the way, is saying the  EXACT OPPOSITE is happening!

[…]
[W]riting scare articles using what is admittedly a scary virus, and then saying, “climate change” is something worse, without  showing people where we are today on the matter and the actual data, is not being open-minded nor tolerant of contrary ideas.

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Donor Total
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $364,820
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $326,419
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $315,000
David H. Koch (Direct) $200,000
Charles Koch Institute $37,020
Koch Companies Public Sector $15,000
Grand Total $1,258,259

CEI launched the website subdomain https://neverneeded.cei.org/ arguing regulations removed during coronavirus fight were never needed to begin with. 

Ian Murray is senior fellow and Vice President for Strategy at CEI.

Ryan Young and Ian Murray. “An Effective Pandemic Response Would Be Deregulation,” CEI, April 9

As Congress gears up for a Phase 4 stimulus, it is crucial that regulatory reform be part of the package. The top two priorities now are keeping people safe and minimizing economic damage, in that order. Regulatory sludge, as legal scholar Cass Sunstein calls it, is harming both objectives.

That is why the Competitive Enterprise Institute has started a #NeverNeeded campaign. By collecting ideas on the #NeverNeeded Twitter hashtag, the neverneeded.cei.org website, and a new paper, policy makers already have a ready menu of reform options to act on, with a continuing pipeline of fresh ideas and public input.

Certain principles should be incorporated into policy responses to the crisis going forward;

  • Suspend or repeal policies that make the crisis worse than it would otherwise be;

  • Remove regulatory barriers that prevent an effective response to the crisis;

  • Remove regulatory barriers that reduce resilience to changed economic behavior; and

  • Put in place reforms that will allow the economy to reboot quickly.

Regulation, Not Offshoring, Is Hindering Industry from Ramping up Production” – March 25

The debate over trade and offshoring in the face of the pandemic is misplaced. The debate should be about regulation.”

Daily Caller

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $3,429,493
Charles Koch Institute $80,200
Grand Total $3,509,693

Ron Hart. “HART: What New York Can Learn From Florida About Handling Coronavirus,” Daily Caller, May 12

The devastating effects of shutting down the economy equally nationwide, no matter if you are in a county with no COVID cases or one with many, are now becoming known. A record 23 million Americans are on unemployment, and each person who was employed believed his or her job was “essential.”

The mainstream media, which works for the Democrat Party, wanted us shut down more, and for longer. Keep in mind that Democrats, those in the media, education, government, public sector unions, etc., are mostly getting full pay to sit at home, which is the goal of Democrats.

Killing a booming economy is the only way Trump doesn’t get reelected.

Maybe Democrats are predisposed to be fearful, or they need to act like they care about others, or they like government telling them what to do.  Liberals gladly sacrificed their liberties and your tax dollars for any perceived “greater good.” In their minds, this makes them better than everyone else.

Katie Jerkovich. “‘They Should Be Ashamed Of Themselves’: Dr. Drew Blasts Media’s Coronavirus Coverage,” Daily Caller, March 10

Dr. Drew Pinsky said the media ‘should be ashamed of themselves’ and suggested they are creating ‘a panic that is far worse than the viral outbreak’ over their coverage of the coronavirus.
[…] 

The host then pressed the doctor further, asking if based on what we know now about Covid-19, “who is most in danger” of actually “having severe repercussions” if they contract it.”

Everybody else it’s going to be a mild issue, like a cold,” Dr. Drew shared. “If you are over the age of 70, maybe the age of 75, particularly if you have any chronic medical conditions and if you are a smoker over 50, you should be behaving differently than the rest of us.”

The rest of us, go about your business,” he added. “Wash your hands, get your flu shot. That should be the story. Because you are way more likely, orders of magnitude, more likely to die of the flu than the coronavirus.”

Drew Johnson

Jason (Drew) Johnson is the founder of the the Beacon Center of Tennessee, formerly the Tennessee Center for Public Policy Research, and served as its president until 2009. He is also  a senior fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and the National Center for Public Policy Research and formerly worked as a policy analyst at National Taxpayers Union. Before founding TCPPr, Johnson worked at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation and was also a former senior fellow at the Koch-backed Institute for Humane Studies.

Here is a summary of the funding some of these groups have received from Koch sources:

           
Recipient  Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation David H. Koch Charitable Foundation Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation Charles Koch Institute Grand Total
Institute for Humane Studies $45,445,842 $3,450,000 $2,640,074 $335,800 $51,871,716
National Taxpayers Union Foundation $333,811   $27,500 $48,960 $410,271
Beacon Center of Tennessee $259,000       $259,000
Grand Total $46,038,653 $3,450,000 $2,667,574 $384,760 $52,540,987

^^Links to https://nypost.com/2020/04/27/ive-worked-the-coronavirus-front-line-and-i-say-its-time-to-start-opening-up/

^^Above Facebook article appears to have been deleted

The Heartland Institute

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $62,578
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $40,000
Grand Total $102,578

Jim Lakely  is the president of the Heartland Institute:

PODCAST: Panic Is a Terrible Idea – Talking Wuhan Virus (Coronavirus or COVID-19) and Some ‘On Theme’ Music Vids,” Heartland Institute, March 15

Jim Lakely: [00:14:19] we’ve told everybody that this disease is super deadly when it’s not. In the swine flu, the H1N1 virus of 2009, 2010. That infected fifty nine million Americans. It killed 12,000 Americans. I don’t remember the media going crazy like this.  [00:14:40]

Jim Lakely: [00:19:55] Dr. Drew Pinsky. Yeah. He’s been very vocal and getting on as many outlets as he can. You might even be able to get him a guest on this podcast. John, he’s so desperate to get this message out. And he does that. 

It is that is that the regular flu is much more dangerous to people than this, is that you’re much more likely to get the regular flu and have very dangerous health complications from it than you are from the Wuhan virus.  [00:20:21]

Jim Lakely: [00:20:34] this is way overblown, that this panic is not none of it is justified and that this is not going to be as bad as everybody is saying it. [00:20:41]

Jim Lakely: [00:29:15] You know, I was thinking about this because here at the Heartland Institute, we’re actually probably going to let people work from home next week.  You know, kind of self self-quarantine is that is the term they use

Jim Lakely: [00:29:30]   I think it’s I think it is practice, it is a practical matter is not necessary. But as a as a mental matter for my staff who are watching this and consuming this and are getting a little bit a little bit upset about it, and it made for justifiable reasons, considering, you know, what’s being reported. 
 

In The Tank (Ep234) – Coronavirus Getting More Serious, China Slave Labor Report,” Heartland Institute, March 13

Jim Lakely: [00:13:21] But, you know, I don’t know if this will be, you know, pretty much out of the news in two months, I think the panic is definitely more dangerous than the flu. I mean, if this has been put in perspective and actually Donald Trump came under a lot of criticism for stating facts that should help everybody put these things, you know, put this Wuhan flu into perspective. Just two years ago in the United States, eighty thousand Americans died from the flu. Just two years ago. Is a pretty bad flu season, the winter of 2017, 2018. You might remember the H1N1 virus, the so-called swine flu from 2009. You know, fifty nine million Americans got swine flu in 2009. Two hundred sixty five thousand Americans were hospitalized for swine flu, and 12,000 Americans died from swine flu in 2009. And that was a strain of the flu that infected 1.4 billion people around the world and killed as many as a half a million people around the globe. 

What’s happening? We’re counting the number of deaths in the United States in two digits. And in fact, it’s very, very tragic. But we know most of those deaths are coming from one nursing home in Washington state that got infected and didn’t know what they had on their hands before it infected a lot of other very elderly at-risk people. And it’s tragic. I think something like twenty two or twenty five of the patients at this nursing home have passed away from Wuhan virus. And that is very, very tragic. But it’s not even you know, it’s not the 12,000 Americans who died from swine flu in 2009. And it’s you know, that perspective needs to be kept here. The chances of you getting this virus, you know, contracting it is relatively low.

H. Sterling Burnett is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of their Environment & Climate News:

H. Sterling Burnett. “CORONAVIRUS HIGHLIGHTS ECORADICALSANTIHUMAN AGENDA,” Heartland Institute, March 27

For decades, elitist radical environmentalists in academia, politics, and popular culture have vocally longed for a sharp decline in or extinction of the human race, regularly referring to humanity as a “cancer,” “parasite,” or “virus” destroying the planet.

In this more-limited but in the long run still-deadly goal of shutting down the economy, the coronavirus has largely granted environmental hypocrites their wish. The world’s economy has ground to a sudden halt. When not forced by their governments to stay home or limit travel, people are self-isolating. Store shelves are empty. Companies that produce desired goods and services have shut down. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions are falling dramatically. Reports indicate that in the time since China first began to lock down the Wuhan province in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, that nation’s carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by 25 percent, and it is likely similar reductions in emissions are taking place in every country, region, and town that is shutting down normal economic activity.

[…]

This is what the breakdown of modern society looks like. Contrary to the claims by proponents of the Green New Deal, this is what it would really take to reduce carbon dioxide emissions substantially over the long term. If you like shortages of toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels, medicine, milk, food, hospital beds, and medical technologies, by all means stop using fossil fuels.

[…]

Take note, people! Based on their own past statements, this is exactly what the radical environmentalists and global elites would bequeath you: a world of rampant death from disease and economic stagnation, a planet with far fewer people and much fewer possessions and comforts for those who survive.

We must wake up to the threat these misanthropic climate-crisis fearmongers pose to human flourishing and, after this current pandemic passes, embrace freedom of choice, free minds, and free markets. This is the best hope for creating an economy and health care delivery system able to prevent or respond rapidly to future pandemics.

Media Lies Debunked: Coronavirus, Pandemics, and Climate Change,” Climate Realism, March 26

Climate alarmists and major media outlets are deceitfully exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to tell the public lies that climate change makes pandemics more likely and severe. In reality, the evidence is quite clear that warmer temperatures make pandemics and underlying outbreaks of viruses like the flu less frequent and severe.
[…]

Contrary to the fear-mongering assertions in The Hill and Time, the overwhelming scientific evidence shows it is cold, not heat, that kills. Therefore, a modestly warmer world, with shorter, less severe winters, should result in fewer premature deaths from disease, viruses, pandemics, hunger, and other natural causes.

Heritage Foundation

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,206,630
Charles Koch Institute $12,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $5,262,571
Grand Total $6,481,201

MODELS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE ASSUMPTIONS BUILT INTO THEM (GUEST: KEVIN DAYARATNA),” Heartland Institute Podcast, May 11

Kevin Dayaratna is senior statistician and research programmer at the Heritage Foundation’s center for data analysis. He was a guest on the Heartland Institute’s podcast to discuss COVID modeling:

Kevin Dayaratna: [00:04:25] And as we’ve shown with many other models, including the climate models, these epidemiological models, particularly the one that we looked at here, that it’s definitely the case with any other models as well are very, very sensitive to reasonable changes in assumptions. And it is important to understand that fact and look at that fact. [00:04:41]

H. Sterling Burnett: [00:04:43] So the models don’t come like manna from heaven, whole cloth. Here are the proper the clear sort of boundaries and inputs and outputs. That’s all human. That’s you know, that’s all human choice. [00:04:58]

Kevin Dayaratna: [00:21:47] Yea, so I touched on this earlier. So I was, like I said, in the center for analysis at the Heritage Foundation, I work on statistical modeling on all sorts of policy issues. Extensively, I worked on climate and energy modeling the last couple of years, actually. And we noticed that they’re also very, very sensitive to reasonable changes in assumptions. And in that regard, they have a whole lot of similarities to the Coronavirus models. And the danger with those models, though, is, is that with the Coronavirus models, with these epidemiological models. We can actually see we can verify in a couple of weeks, couple of months what the projections are going to be.

The climate models are often used for scaremongering because their results don’t happen for 50, 100 years into the future or even longer than that. So advocates are using those models to guide policy, often try to beef them up to satisfy an agenda. And they know they believe that they can hide what they’re doing because people are going to be able to verify what the outcomes is there of what they’re saying. But it’s clear that in that case also, that when you… Pat and I talked about this in that paper, the models themselves are highly sensitive to reasonable changes in assumptions. And when you change those assumptions, you can get drastically different temperature projections, sea level rise projections, as well as, for example, estimates of the social cost of carbon, which I’ve talked about quite a bit with you and your colleagues at Heartland. [00:23:13]

H. Sterling Burnett: [00:24:04] Willing and able without being tarred or derided or accused of being evil or racist. Being willing and able to question models, it’s like, look, folks, they’re made on assumptions.  [00:24:20]

H. Sterling Burnett: [00:24:21] You ought to be able to question the assumptions. And if the assumptions change, the results change.  [00:24:24]

H. Sterling Burnett: [00:24:25] That’s good science. But it seems to me that during this corona, this whole corona scare, there’s even more even more than in the climate debate it seems to me there’s been this this idea that if you question the models, you know, I guess it’s because the outcome is so dire. You know, people are dying today.  [00:24:43]

Kevin Dayaratna: [00:24:44] Yeah, people are dying every day.  [00:24:45]

H. Sterling Burnett: [00:24:46] And if you question the so-called science, which is the models, then somehow you’ve got some nefarious motive. And I think that’s you know, that’s really unfortunate. And it harms it harms it harms the pursuit of understanding this accurately.  [00:25:01]

Kevin Dayaratna: [00:25:03] That is absolutely right, Sterling. And it’s important to question the models because the people who question the models are the ones that care about the lives the most. They’re the ones that want to understand how this virus is going to unfold, who it’s going to hit and how to protect the most vulnerable. [00:25:17]

Hoover Institution

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $435,000
Grand Total $435,000

Richard Epstein: ‘More Probable Than Not…Total Number of Deaths at Under 50,000’ (Podcast/Audio),” Reason Foundation, March 18

From the available data, says New York University law professor Richard Epstein, “it seems more probable than not that the total number of cases worldwide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000…In the United States, if the total death toll increases at about the same rate, the current 67 deaths should translate into about 500 deaths at the end.

Note: Epstein posted a revision/retraction on April 6, 2020 to the following essay

In the earlier, March 16, 2020 version, of this essay, I made the single largest unforced intellectual error in my entire academic career, when I included numerical estimates about the possible impact of the coronavirus in terms of life and death. Those estimates were obviously ridiculously too low. Those mistakes brought on a torrent of criticism, pointing out the magnitude of those errors. Unfortunately, those responses detracted from the main purpose of that initial essay, which was to question some of the basic assumptions of the standard model. I regret those mistakes, and of course, I retract them.

Original Essay: “Coronavirus Perspective,” Hoover Institution, March 16, 2020

**Note: Epstein also posted this number at 5,000 dead, and already revised to 50,000. An original correction at the Hoover Institution lists Epstein’s initial estimate at an even lower ‘500’ (see threads on Twitter here, and here discussing this)**

From this available data, it seems more probable than not that the total number of cases world-wide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000. In the United States, the current 67 deaths should reach about 5000 (or ten percent of my estimated world total, which may also turn out to be low).”

[…]

Of course, every life lost is a tragedy—and the potential loss of 50,000 lives world-wide would be appalling—but those deaths stemming from the coronavirus are not more tragic than others, so that the same social calculus applies here that should apply in other cases. 

These are deeply contrarian estimates. In dealing with any future prediction it is necessary to develop some model. Right now, the overwhelming consensus, based upon the most recent reports, is that the rate of infection will continue to increase so that the most severe interventions are needed to control what will under the worst of circumstances turn into a high rate of death. This pessimistic view is well captured in an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof and Stuart Thompson, who offer this graph to stress the importance and the immediacy of the looming crisis.”

[…]

Much of the current analysis does not explain how and why rates of infection and death will spike, so I think that it is important to offer a dissenting voice. In what follows, I look first at the trends in the American data, and then, building on my conclusions there, I construct a theoretical framework to evaluate the evolution of the coronavirus in other places.”

[…]

The irony here is that even though self-help measures like avoiding crowded spaces make abundant sense, the massive public controls do not. In light of the available raw data, public officials have gone overboard. To begin with, the word pandemic should not be lightly used. Recall that the Spanish influenza pandemic, fully worthy of the name, resulted in perhaps as many as a half-billion infections and between 50 and 100 million deaths, world-wide, of which some 675,000 were Americans, many coming back from Europe in the aftermath of the First World War. The World Health Organization recently declared coronavirus a pandemic at a time when the death count was at 4,000, presently being just over 6,500. It will surely rise no matter what precautions are taken going forward, but what is critical is some estimate of the rate.

By way of comparison, the toll from the flu in the United States since October ran as follows: between 36 to 51 million infections, between 370 thousand to 670 thousand flu hospitalizations, and between 22 thousand to 55 thousand flu deaths. That works out to between roughly between 230,000 to 320,000 new infections per day, and between 140 to 350 deaths per day for an overall mortality rate of between 0.044 percent to 0.152 percent.

[…]

What, then, does all of this portend for the future of COVID-19 in the United States? Good news is more likely than bad, notwithstanding the models that predict otherwise. The deaths in Washington have risen only slowly, even as the number of infections mount. The New York cases have been identified for long enough that they should have produced more deaths if the coronavirus was as dangerous as is commonly believed.”

[…]

Clearly, the impact on elderly and immunocompromised individuals is severe, with nearly 90% of total deaths coming from individuals 60 and over. But these data do not call for shutting down all public and private facilities given the extraordinarily low rates of death in the population under 50. The adaptive responses should reduce the exposures in the high-risk groups, given the tendency for the coronavirus to weaken over time. My own guess is that the percentage of deaths will decline in Korea for the same reasons that they are expected to decline in the United States. It is highly unlikely that there will ever be a repetition of the explosive situation in Wuhan, where air quality is poorer and smoking rates are higher.”

So what then should be done?

The first point is to target interventions where needed, toward high-risk populations, including older people and other people with health conditions that render them more susceptible to disease. But the current organized panic in the United States does not seem justified on the best reading of the data. In dealing with this point, it is critical to note that the rapid decline in the incidence of new cases and death in China suggests that cases in Italy will not continue to rise exponentially over the next several weeks. Moreover, it is unlikely that the healthcare system in the United States will be compromised in the same fashion as the Italian healthcare system in the wake of its quick viral spread. The amount of voluntary and forced separation in the United States has gotten very extensive very quickly, which should influence rates of infection sooner rather than later.

Perhaps my analysis is all wrong, even deeply flawed. But the stakes are too high to continue on the current course without reexamining the data and the erroneous models that are predicting doom.
 

Richard A. Epstein. “The Grim Cost Of Total Lockdowns,” defining ideas (Hoover Journal), March 30

The question then is what should be done, given uncertain information. Here, there are two general approaches. One thinks the doomsday hypothesis is still valid, meaning that one million Americans, if not more, could die out of a population of about 331 million. There is also a second approach, with which I identify, that sees this problem as being akin to previous episodes of the flu, and is consistent with the lower end of the Fauci estimates. As a rough benchmark for this view, the deadliest flu season in recent years was 2017-2018, with an estimated 80,000 fatalities, which is higher than the levels reached with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. According to the CDC, around 12,500 people died from H1N1 (range: 8,868-18,306).

But for the moment, let’s assume the pessimists are right and, God forbid, one million people may die. What then, are the social gains from potential interventions?

It is here that the difference between wealth and utility cuts. The customary starting point for this analysis is the apparently bedrock assumption, shared by many economists, that the estimated value of a statistical life (VSL), is about $10 million. The EPA arrives at this result by first asking individuals how much money they would demand to face a 1 out of 10,000 risk of death. On average, people say $1,000, which yields the $10 million figure for the value of an entire life ($1,000 times 10,000 equals ten million).

[…]

The dispute begins when coercive measures are imposed, for it is quite clear that there are not enough resources to meet the EPA’s VSL. Thus, one common measure of health is the QALY, or quality-adjusted-life-year, which is used in order to make interpersonal comparisons of benefits in a setting in which it is impossible to use market mechanisms to establish an exchange value. The more quality years, the higher the return from treatment. One suggestion of many is that we should reduce the value of a life saved roughly in half, in part because “moderate social distancing” could lead to trillions of dollars saved in VSL. For these purposes, I will set that VSL figure at $5 trillion, even though there are higher estimates.

[…]

The only solution that has a prayer of working is to ease restrictions as quickly as possible in those areas where the risks are lower, such as virtually all rural areas, and major centers that have only a low incidence of reported deaths. Of course, that requires a sophisticated incremental strategy that won’t be developed if our leaders remain hunkered down in a “fortress America” approach, which may turn out to be more deadly than the coronavirus itself.

Richard A. Epstein. “Coronavirus Overreaction,” defining ideas, March 23

In my column last week, I predicted that the world would eventually see about 50,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, and the United States about 500. These two numbers are clearly not in sync. If the first number holds, the total US deaths should be about 4 to 5 percent of that total, or about 2,000–2,500 deaths. The current numbers are getting larger, so it is possible both figures will move up in a rough proportion from even that revised estimate. Indeed, the recent run-ups in Italy and perhaps Spain suggest that those countries have yet to turn the corner.

[…]

The question is—what should we make of these data?  The standard model sees a slow rise in cases until mid-July when it predicts that the United States shall have, for a period of several weeks, close to 10 million cases per day, with an ultimate death total that could reach one million deaths. A recent, thorough study by Aaron Ginn (which itself has been heavily attacked), takes a much more cautious view. A second article by David Katz also indicates that the global totals and that of the United States could be even higher than the numbers I suggested, perhaps by two- or three-fold. These estimates are almost two orders of magnitude lower than the common estimate. Ginn’s study uses the term “hysteria” to describe the response to COVID-19, and, sadly, he is right, given the dangers of drawing hasty inferences from Italy to rest of the world. Unfortunately, the most common visuals of the virus spread, large red dots to indicate the number of cases in a given area, are alarmist and suggest a more severe crisis than the raw numbers indicate.

[…]

Progressives think they can run everyone’s lives through central planning, but the state of the economy suggests otherwise. Looking at the costs, the public commands have led to a crash in the stock market, and may only save a small fraction of the lives that are at risk. In addition, there are lost lives on both sides of the equation as many people will now find it more difficult to see a doctor, get regular exercise, stay sober, and eat healthily. None of these alternative hazards are addressed by the worthy governors.

It is critical therefore to get some perspective on this issue, which is perhaps done by taking  a quick look at the now forgotten H1N1 pandemic that ran for about a year from April 2009 to April 2010. The similarities between the two pandemics are evident. Both were novel strains for which there were no available vaccines.  Both viruses hit people over 60 the hardest. During the year that H1N1 raged, the CDC estimates that “there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306).”

These figures are in flat contradiction to the wildly high estimates that supposed experts give to support their current doomsday scenario, and they suggest that a far more modest program of containment—and allowing the virus to run its course—is a better path forward for the economy. Our government fiats will probably save very few, if any, lives saved over what we can obtain through more focused voluntary precautions. All the while, the United States is entertaining hopeless stimulus negotiations that shift dollars around, but do nothing to make up for the trillions that will inevitably lost as result of the economic shutdown.  There is only one cure to the current malaise, which is to reverse these self-destructive policies before it is too late.

Richard A. Epstein. “Playing Politics With Coronavirus,” defining ideas, March 9

At this time, the total cost of the combined responses is assuredly in the trillions, and these costs vastly outstrip the number of deaths worldwide from the coronavirus. The New York Times is presently reporting (and constantly updating) a total of 545 confirmed cases across 34 states and DC with 22 total deaths—surely a low estimate of the total prevalence of the disease. By way of comparison, the CDC reports that this year’s U.S. flu season saw between 34 and 50 million infections, between 350 thousand and 620 thousand flu hospitalizations, and between 20 thousand and 52 thousand flu deaths. (The wide range of these estimates is due to difficulty estimating the number of flu cases that go undetected through what the CDC terms “influenza surveillance.”)

Independence Institute

Freedom on Tap – Dave Kopel, Rob Natelson,” IITV via YouTube, April 7

Jon Caldera: [00:18:50] What’s been shocking for me is how complicit people seem to be about being put under house arrest without any sort of due process that the media especially seems to be giving kudos to those people who are putting us under house arrest without any challenge about their love of the First Amendment, which I thought gave us a right not only to free speech, but the right to assembly, the right to worship and the right to due process. And I don’t see any of that. 

Jon Caldera: [00:33:46] I know this is out of proportion, so take it for what it’s worth. I just wondered how does Hitler happen? And then I realized when people are scared. And this is just a virus. Yes, a really bad virus. And it’s gonna kill lots of good people. As the flu does, and this will be several times the flu. … [00:34:03]

Manhattan Institute

Donor Total
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $2,100,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,085,817
Charles Koch Institute $66,720
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $50,000
Grand Total $3,302,537

Facts Exposing The Hysteria Over The COVID-19 Coronavirus” March 18

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute. She wrote at Principia Scientific International:

Even if my odds of dying from coronavirus should suddenly jump ten-thousand-fold, from the current rate of 0.000012 percent across the U.S. population all the way up to 0 .12 percent, I’d happily take those odds over the destruction being wrought on the U.S. and global economy from this unbridled panic.

[…]

And, you know, the so far the data continues to be the case that the overwhelming number of fatalities are people who are elderly, have existing respiratory ailments.

And, you know, they may have been in the hospital anyway, this is not to say that their deaths are not as as tragic as anybody else. But it is not something that is going to take down the entire society and radically increase its mortality rate, at least with what we’re seeing so far.
 

[…]

So and, you know, the mortality rate, the initial estimates were grossly inflated three or 4%. It’s obviously you know, a function of we don’t yet know the denominator. I think, really what matters is not so much the rate it’s the absolute number of deaths. And and so far again, they’re a pittance. I know it’s early in the in the United States, but 69 deaths.

Mac Donald also went on The Glenn Show to discuss her views as a “Corona Contrarian”:

Patrick J. Michaels

Recipient & Donor Total
CO2 Coalition $50,409
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $32,409
Charles Koch Institute $18,000
Competitive Enterprise Institute $1,258,259
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $326,419
Charles Koch Institute $37,020
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $364,820
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $315,000
David H. Koch (Direct) $200,000
Koch Companies Public Sector $15,000
George C. Marshall Institute* $620,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $200,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $420,000
Grand Total $1,928,668

*The George C. Marshall Institute later morphed into the CO2 Coalition.

Patrick Michaels is a senior fellow in the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

A leaked 2006 memo from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) revealed that  Michaels was a recipient of at least $100,000 from IREA to combat global warming “alarmists.” The IREA memo outlines a coordinated strategy by Koch Industries, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Michaels, and other key groups. “We have met with Koch, CEI and Dr. Michaels, and they meet among themselves periodically to discuss their activities,” NERA‘s General Manager Stan Lewandowski wrote. 

Michaels is also a member of the Koch-funded CO2 Coalition.

Patrick Michaels. “EU official exploits coronavirus to push awful climate change legislation,” Washington Examiner, March 9

In reality, economically vibrant societies are increasingly immune to the vagaries of severe weather events. As convincingly shown by the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Jr., weather damages as a percent of global GDP are going down, not up. Sure, dollar-cost damages are increasing, but only because we have more and more stuff to get hit.

Make no mistake: The proposed EU climate law will reverse a lot more progress and a lot more economic and environmental resilience than any probable climate change or, for that matter, coronavirus.

Patrick Michaels. “Counterpoint: Let’s Really Celebrate the 50th Earth Day With Some Humble Pie,” Inside Sources, April 22

Over time, the scope of environmental concerns spawned by the first Earth Day grew increasingly large, culminating with global warming.

EPA’s reach increased proportionately, justified by the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA that granted the agency the power to regulate carbon dioxide if it deemed the gas “endangered” human health and welfare. The agency issued its official finding of endangerment in 2009.

EPA’s sole metric to determine future endangerment consists of complicated computer models for future climate.

Anyone who is watching the coronavirus saga (and who isn’t?) knows that future prospects are completely dependent upon very fuzzy and plastic assumptions. How effectively would people “socially isolate?” No one really knows. How many “silent” cases are out there contributing to an undetected herd immunity?

Ditto.

It’s now known that the climate models are “with one notable exception” totally incapable of modeling the three-dimensional structure of climate change in the Earth’s vast tropics. The one model that works, predicts less warming than any other, a warming so modest that it can’t justify “endangerment.”

Pacific Research Institute

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $627,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $905,000
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $550,800
Grand Total $2,082,800

Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Pacific Research Institute:

“Sally Pipes: Coronavirus causes financial crisis for hospitals and doctors – Patients lose vital care,” Fox News, May 9

The good news for hospitals and medical professionals is that as states begin to relax their coronavirus lockdowns, hospitals are trying to return to normal. Earlier this month, 20 states green-lit the resumption of elective surgeries that had been postponed to preserve personal protective equipment and other resources for the response to COVID-19. 

But even without government restrictions on elective surgeries, fear of the coronavirus may keep patients away from hospitals for some time. Nearly half of doctors believe patient visits will only return to pre-COVID-19 levels sometime between July and September.

By that point, patients and providers alike will have suffered real losses.

Patrick Moore

Recipient and Donor Total
CO2 Coalition $50,409
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $32,409
Charles Koch Institute $18,000
George C. Marshall Institute $620,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $200,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $420,000
Grand Total $670,409

Patrick Moore is the chairman of the board of directors of the CO2 Coalition.

Phil Kerpen

Recipient & Donor Total
American Commitment $6,850,000
Freedom Partners $6,850,000
Americans for Prosperity $6,555,068
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $661,981
Charles Koch Institute $199,862
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $4,693,225
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,000,000
Grand Total $13,405,068

Phillip G. Kerpen is the president of American Commitment, a conservative 501(c)(4) group largely funded by Freedom Partners, a group controlled by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers. He previously served as the vice president of Americans for Prosperity.

Posted May 12, 2020:

Posted May 12:

Posted May 12:

Posted May 12:

Reason Foundation

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,760,909
Charles Koch Institute $177,650
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $1,080,500
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,522,212
Grand Total $4,541,271

Coronavirus: Don’t Worry, Be Happily Informed,” Reason, March 4 podcast with Ronald Bailey

Ronald Bailey: [00:18:54] My best guess, looking at the severity, the disease and so forth, is it will be like a particularly well, like a really, really bad influenza season. And at some point it would probably be the worst case scenario.  [00:19:09][15.2]

Ronald Bailey: [00:32:29] So, yeah, don’t panic again. Yeah, it’s way too early to panic about it. Think about, you know, monitor it. Listen to the news. Keep track of what’s going on. Again, my best estimation and, subject to revision with new information is, is if it does, if quarantine fails, if in fact, that’s not able to be controlled it will probably result in something like a fairly severe bad flu season, but it’s not apocalyptic.  [00:33:00]

Spiked

An investigation by DeSmog UK and Guardian environmental columnist George Monbiot revealed that Spiked had received $300,000 from the Koch brothers between 2015 and 2018, including $150,000 in 2016 – the year that Donald Trump became president and the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Ben Pile. “Covid-19 is a frightening dress rehearsal of the climate agenda,” Spiked, May 12

From the outset, there has been a palpable sense of green jealousy of the virus as it stole attention from the climate fearmongers. For half a century, greens have been prognosticating the imminent collapse of society. Yet with each new generation, deadlines to stop the destruction of the planet pass without event. In reality, the world’s population has become healthier and wealthier, and we live longer lives than ever before. Panic about the virus achieved in days what greens have been demanding for years: grounded planes, empty roads, and a halt in economic growth.

[…]

The virus of green thinking has infected political leaders and their plans for the economic recovery, too. ‘No one hesitates to make very profound, brutal choices when it’s a matter of saving lives’, French president Emmanuel Macron told the FT: ‘It’s the same for climate risk.’

[…]

Greens also claim that the pandemic exposes the shortcomings of a fossil-fuel dependent world. The recent crash in oil prices proves this, apparently. As demand for energy withered, cargo ships containing oil approached depots that were at full capacity. Consequently, supply being far in excess of demand, the oil price, which was already sinking, went negative. This, said Sky News’ Ed Conway in The Times, was a sign of our ‘post-oil future’. ‘Eventually the world will wean itself off fossil fuels, so today’s oil producers’ days are numbered; only a handful will survive’, he wrote.

But the demand for fossil fuels is suppressed, not because of any inherent problems with fossil fuels, but because vast numbers of people have been immobilised. The reason the oil price plunged is the same reason videos of dancing nurses appeared on social media. Whereas many nurses are extremely busy, the lockdown has caused other health workers to become surplus to need.

[…]

On this timescale, we can see that far-reaching and regressive political agendas are hidden behind a preoccupation and oversensitivity to risk. And whereas the green agenda has played out in years, we can see in mere weeks that policymakers are indifferent to our lives and livelihoods, and will cynically embrace crises to advance their own interests. There will be no chance of an economic recovery if Britain, the EU and the rest of the world follow their existing climate-change agendas – there will only be a lockdown, or something like it, forever.

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore is the founder and former President of the Club for Growth and a visiting fellow at the “arch-conservative“ Heritage Foundation. According to SourceWatch, the Club for Growth received at least $450,000 from the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR). CPPR, which eventually morphed into American Encore, was  founded and managed by GOP strategist and Koch ally Sean Noble and has played a key role in the Koch brothers’ political network. CPPR itself has received at least $114,828,000 from Freedom Partners, a group designed by the Kochs to distribute funds.

The Heritage Foundation is also a significant recipient of Koch dollars:

Donor Total
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $5,262,571
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,206,630
Charles Koch Institute $12,000
Grand Total $6,481,201

Moore appeared on a program by the Independence Institute’s IITV on YouTube. Note that the Independence Institute is also a Koch funding recipient:

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $75,000
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $50,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $16,000
Grand Total $141,000

Freedom on Tap – Steve Moore” IITV via YouTube, April 14 

Stephen Moore: [00:03:17] Steve Moore and Arthur Laffer and Steve Forbes were named to the president’s economic recovery task force.  [00:03:24]

[…]

Jon Caldera: [00:03:47] All right. Let’s let’s get into that. So here’s my frustration. I’m thrilled that the president has Fauci on every day and they’re doing all this wonderful modeling. They’re doing all this wonderful modeling and the modeling is terrific and they’re showing how many people can be saved. But I don’t see somebody right next to them doing modeling to show how many jobs are going to be lost, how many foreclosures there’s going to be, how many folks are going to be unemployed, how many houses are going to go under, how many businesses and small businesses. The longer we keep this open, and the media doesn’t ask that question, and am I off on this?  [00:04:28]

Stephen Moore: [00:04:29] Now, you and I think alike on this. I regard this. This may go down in history as one of the biggest boneheaded moves by government in 100 years. [00:04:41]

Stephen Moore: [00:04:42] And it’s also going to go down in history potentially as one of the great abuses of governmental power, not just at the federal level, but at the state level and local level.  [00:04:50]

Stephen Moore: [00:05:53] So. So that’s point number one is I do think that it’s worth paying out. We’re kind of in a climate of fear right now. And frankly, just between us girls, I mean, I’m a little disappointed with the American people, that they are so, you know, we have generations of snowflakes right now that are just afraid. And by the way, that’s even many of my own family members. So that’s number one. Number two, the reason this was so unnecessary is because we’ve always known from the start who are the people who are susceptible to dying from this disease. Ninety percent of the people, or roughly thereabouts, 90 percent are over the age of 75 and or have a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease or something of that nature or emphysema and or are people, John, that are overweight. Just teasing you. But obesity is very highly, highly related to so to Coronavirus death. So if you were to sequester or isolate those groups of people and keep them safe. I’m not saying we should let those people die. I’m saying we should keep them keep them isolated.  [00:07:05]

Stephen Moore: [00:08:32] So one of my missions for this task force is, you know, as I said at the outset, you open the economy immediately in places again.  [00:08:40]

Stephen Moore: [00:09:59] By the way, the lowest among us, the people at the very bottom of the income ladder are the being being hurt the most that. But Nancy Pelosi is the biggest cheerleader for keeping the economy shut down. Remember when she said she cared about poor people? Maybe she doesn’t. [00:10:14]

[00:11:55] So every level of government, my point would be and I really just want to kind of take questions from folks in addition to you, John. But I would say this here is my analysis that if we don’t open the economy by May 1st, I think we are in really, really deep trouble. And we’re going to look at 15 to 20 percent unemployment. We’re going to thirty five million people unemployed in this country. [00:12:19]

Stephen Moore: [00:15:33] this is be a drive-in and they’re gonna shut down the capital. Don’t tell anybody, but they think they can get fifteen hundred people to come in. And this is great, you guys. So we have one big donor in Wisconsin. I’m not gonna mention his name. And I told about this. He said, Steve, I promise I will pay the bail and legal fees for anyone who gets arrested. So this is a great time. Gentlemen and ladies, for civil disobedience. We need to be the Rosa Parks here and protest against these government injustices.  [00:16:04]

Jon Caldera: [00:20:33] It is. It is terrifying. This virus doesn’t terrify me.  The politics terrify me. [00:20:38]

Stephen Moore: [00:20:39] This is why let me just say one quick thing. This is a man made crisis, right? This is no longer an act of nature. This is a man made crisis.  [00:20:47]

Stephen Moore: [00:25:09] If you keep this economy locked down for eight, ten, twelve weeks, you’re not going to have an economy reopen.  [00:25:13]

Stephen Moore: [00:27:44] Well, I think the first thing the people in Colorado have to do is write a big, big check to the Independence Institute. But that would be a good start right now. But it would be a good start. You should write a contribution check to these groups because it’s hard to raise money. I know this because people are really, you know, that people lost a lot of money. I think that the more the more civil disobedience, the better. And however you want to do it to people. You know what really disappoints me, John and Laura, is the national polls are showing the American people are in favor of the shutdown, the lockdown, because American people are sheep. And we need to get the word out that this is unconstitutional, that the damage that we’re doing to families is significant. 

Steve Moore, Founder of the Committee To Unleash Prosperity, Discusses Response to COVID-19  – ALEC_States via SoundCloud, March 21

[00:00:40] We cannot keep the American Academy shut down for another three weeks. If it goes a day beyond three weeks, I think we get to a situation where the, literally the cure is worse than the disease. We have to get the American economy open again and that means this kind of lockdown can’t continue. [00:00:59]

[00:02:09] The idea that we should have a policy like what’s going on in California right now to me is completely outrageous. It is a violation, it is an abuse of governmental power. The idea that people can’t go out of their homes is just outrageous to me. And I’m worried that that’s going to come to many other states as well.[00:02:30]

Texas Public Policy Foundation

Donor Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $3,555,624
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $549,000
Charles Koch Institute $53,798
Grand Total $4,158,422

^^ Links to an April 3 TPPF press release announcing its new “COVID-19 Dashboard,” that TPPF says is “tracking several indicators of the economic damage done to America by the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis”

“Our public officials need to be painfully aware that each day that our restaurants, shops, office buildings, and hotels are shut down and people are unable to earn a living and provide for their families, the harder it will be for the American people to pull themselves out of the hole governments have dug for them,” TPPF’s Executive Director Kevin Roberts said in the statement.

Koch & COVIDenial