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Lockdowns And Stimulus Checks – A Deadly Combination

When Joe Manchin pulled the plug on BBB late last year, he was attacked from his friends on the left for saying that he was worried the bill’s direct cash payments would be spent on drugs.

A new paper from CTUP senior fellow and University of Chicago Professor Casey Mulligan finds that concern was very well founded, because it’s exactly what happened with government largesse during the pandemic lockdowns.

The chart below shows the spike in alcohol and drug-related deaths during the period of lockdowns and cash payments.

“Most of the amount, timing, and composition of the 240,000 deaths involving alcohol and drugs since early 2020 can be explained by income effects [from the government payments] and category-specific price changes,” Mulligan found.

The paper and a nine-minute explanatory video can be found on the NBER site:

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